Lou Calen : an aspiring eco-friendly hotel

10/12/2021

Ever keen to be in harmony with the world around us, Lou Calen is committed to reducing its impact on the environment as much as possible. Located in the heart of Provence, in the green village of Cotignac, the hotel continues to develop an eco-friendly approach within its 3.5 hectares estate. This lasting commitment means that the hotel team supports one another and works to expand awareness as well as continually search for better alternative solutions.

Energy

According to a significant Nature Climate Change study, the tourism industry is now responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Heating, air conditioning, ventilation, electrical equipment, domestic hot water system, lighting, laundry, transport – the list goes on. Energy consumption represents on average 60% of any hotel’s carbon footprint. For this reason, Lou Calen puts energy management at the heart of its eco-friendly project, and implements these actions for its regulation:

On the estate:

Construction of a glass roof with Onyx Solar transparent photovoltaic glass, which will produce more than 400,000 kWh of electricity in 35 years, or around 800 points of light 4 hours per day

 Installation of a geothermal heating and air conditioning system: using more than 3km of ducts to capture calories buried more than 1.20 meters in the ground. The calories drawn are then used to heat and cool two-thirds of the hotel and event buildings, without any negative effect

Selection of restaurant suppliers via “short circuit”: within a radius of 60km around Cotignac

Provision of electric bikes to customers to explore the area

Installation of charging stations for electric vehicles

Cleaning of hotel and restaurant linens carried out by a local company which is eco-responsible – eco-labeled products, reduction in water volumes, etc.

In the guest rooms:

Change of sheets carried out every three days (unless expressly requested by the customer)

Replacement of towels only if they are left on the floor

Installation of centralised systems to turn off the light and air conditioning when customers leave (or if the windows are left open)

Waste

The fight against waste and waste management is a daily struggle. At Lou Calen, single-use plastic objects and products are banned and replaced by their reusable equivalents in order to reduce the volume of waste and their damaging environmental impact:

On the estate:

Elimination of plastics

Implementation of selective sorting

Meticulous management of restaurant stocks

Breeding of chickens and ducks fed largely on vegetable waste from restaurants

Composting of vegetable waste from the restaurant and vegetable garden for soil fertilisation

In the guest rooms:

Elimination of paper printing (advertisements, welcome book, maps of the area and tourist attractions, etc.) in favour of a touchscreen tablet

Provision of a stainless steel flask and access to a micro-filtered water fountain (with disposal of plastic or glass bottles)

 Replacement of individual hospitality products in bathrooms in favour of large refillable formats

Le potager du restaurant Jardin Secret
The garden of the restaurant Jardin Secret
Le bassin de récupération d'eau de pluie
The rainwater harvesting basin

Water

Water management is a major issue in Provence. The Cassole river has its source in Saint-Martin and La Font de Gautier, 2km from the village. It has sadly dried up over the years, and unfortunately winter rains are no longer sufficient to regenerate groundwater. The droughts that have occurred in recent years, alongside the intensive and recreational use of water by human consumption, partly explain this phenomenon. The last canal in operation, which historically supplied the dwellings and fountains of the village, is now maintained by the association APJBR (arrosants-plaines-jardins-bouides-reclus) (watering-fields-gardens-mudbanks-thickets),while all the other canals have yet to be brought back into use. This is a real challenge that Lou Calen, one of the last to be served by this channel, is committed to meeting. Our actions are:

Creation of the association ‘Les chemins de l’eau’ (water paths), in consultation with the town hall of Cotignac, which directly aims to rehabilitate the old irrigation canals of the village in addition to the work of the APJBR

Rainwater harvesting on the roofs and terraces of the estate

Creation of a rainwater retention basin (landscaped as a large pond), the surplus of which will be returned to the river

Renovation of irrigation canals and basins across the estate. These ‘water paths’ are organised in a closed circuit via a downstream pumping station, which itself is equipped with solar panels

Creation of ornamental gardens and vegetable gardens according to the principles of permaculture which means they must only be watered for the first 3 years, but not necessarily thereafter

Fauna and flora

Provence offers a wide variety of landscapes such as forest and scrubland, plains and hillsides, steep rocks interspersed with wetlands and numerous rivers. The region is recognised as ‘green’ and known for the great diversity of its flora, and the exceptional character of its fauna – since it is home to a large number of protected species. To recognise and preserve these unique ecosystems, Lou Calen implements an active and preventive approach:

Construction of buildings on only 10% of the 3.5 hectare landed estate

Honey production: installation of around ten beehives to produce honey, as well as an observation hive to educate customers about the usefulness and crucial existence of bees. This in partnership with the Bee’Osphere association which promotes the installation of beehives for the general protection of bees

Organic production of lavender, olive oil, and grapes on the estate

Creation of a vegetable garden, an orchard and gardens with aromatic herbs

Creation of a curated forest on the banks of the river and safeguarding of caches in the cliffs of ‘Tuf’ limestone. This has been organised in consultation with Natura 2000, to provide natural habitats specific to protected areas such as bats, and other fauna

Manual weeding (with zero pesticides) and grinding of green waste which is reused in the gardens to conserve moisture and enrich the soil

Les poules de Lou Calen
The chickens of Lou Calen

Designed by and for nature lovers and slow tourism enthusiasts, Lou Calen welcomes you to the heart of nature for an immersive experience that respects the environment.