Wooden frame on stilts, natural insulation in compressed hemp, 110 m2 of photovoltaic panels on the roof, solar water heater, the home of this Geo Trouvetou from the Pyrenees stands out in the landscape of Saint-Priest-la-Plaine, a small village in Creuse more accustomed to old stone facades.

The style is of little importance to its owner, in view of the savings made. “If I count the heating, hot water and electricity, I have to save nearly 4,000 euros per year”, estimates Jean Chappert, 66 years old.

A reduction in expenses – and mail – at a time when many, on the contrary, are seeing their bills increase. Only the water still brings him back to this reality. But with the help of a drill, he could soon do without a subscription.

For the time being, it produces 4.5 kilowatts (kW) of electricity, which is quite enough for a house of this size. And soon more: “I will switch to 9 kW when I have made my veranda, with new panels. This will allow me to charge my future electric car”.

His bet launched for his retirement in the Creuse after a professional career in Paris, is almost successful. But everything was not easy in the adventure, starting with obtaining a building permit without asking to be connected to the public electricity network.

– Advice to neighbors –

“They asked me why I made this choice. It requires several administrative procedures that we would do well without,” he underlines with the feeling of taking his little revenge, each time a storm causes a power cut and that neighbors ask him to pull a cable…

The context has changed in recent years, with more and more French people choosing energy autonomy in the face of rising prices and climate challenges. In 2015, Enedis counted only 3,000 individual self-consumption installations – connected to the network – but the manager identified nearly 208,000 at the end of September, a figure which has doubled in 18 months.

The neo-Creusois, whose approach does not go unnoticed around him, does not want to be “categorized as an extreme ecologist” and claims an “especially economic” approach, stressing that he has not installed dry toilets, that it uses a dishwasher and has a swimming pool…

Its location arouses curiosity, even envy. Several people have already come to see him. “In the Limousin, more and more people want to do the same, they are looking for advice, so I give it to them.”

Quit tempering the ardor. “Not everyone can afford to invest tens of thousands of euros in a house. And you shouldn’t think that solar panels can produce electricity and heating either,” says the man who heats himself with wood. cut or pelleted.

The ex-thermal engineer prefers to insist on basic principles, such as the quality of the insulation or the orientation of the house, which he would like to see imposed in the construction. “This would make it possible to be less affected by crises”, he believes, adding however that “for this winter, it’s too late”.