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French Eco-Lodge
Solar Powered Tourism in the French Pyrenees

Barcelonian’s Arif Qureshi and Marta Maristany are the founders and co-managers of  L’Orri de Planès, a solar powered eco-lodge in the French Pyrenees near the Mediterranean coast. Here’s what they have to say about their home solar project: 

As the project took shape, we decided that our inn would be ecological: as mountaineers, we wanted it to reflect our environmental values, and as teachers, we wanted it to be a platform for promoting awareness of ecological issues facing our society. The Orri de Planès is the result of this process. It is our personal statement in a world that we believe must change. 

Eco-Lodge Founders Marta and Arif Their Solar Powered Inn

Why have you chosen solar power for your energy?   
We are located in one of the two sunniest areas of France and solar energy (though not very exploited here) is a very logical choice. Wood is available locally and is the traditional energy source in our area.

Describe some of the choices you’ve made with regard to energy consumption. 
We have gone to great lengths to reduce our energy needs to a minimum. We undertook a major renovation of the 300 year-old farmhouse that is now our inn, including carefully insulating the entire building's envelope and installing an in-floor solar heating system.  But we have also done and do many other things to reduce energy needs on a day to day basis, including carefully managing our solar heating system, using low energy consuming appliances, installing low energy lighting throughout our inn, etc. etc.

What do you appreciate the most about your green lifestyle? 
We have created and run an inn that operates totally in coherence with our environmental values, inspired by a love of the outdoors and a desire to preserve the beautiful natural surroundings that we are privileged to live in.

What is challenging about your green lifestyle choices? 
Facing up to the fact that many people who stay in our inn don’t understand why we do what we do and don’t necessarily appreciate our efforts. 

How do others tend to view your eco-conscious lifestyle? 
One part of our guests understand and appreciate the authenticity of our project and see our inn as a unique place; they choose to come here largely because they share a part of our desire to protect the environment, to support organic agriculture, etc. The other part doesn’t necessarily understand any of this and they sometimes make fun of our efforts.

What advice would you give someone wanting to move toward sustainable living?
Live simply, ask questions, consume less.

Their solar panel and photovoltaic installation and set-up:

The inverter/s: 
TENESOL Energrid Inverter 3300

The charge controller/regulator:
HP-COMPACT 6000-48 Inverter-charger 
FIAMM LM420 – 24 batteries

Solar modules:
photoelectric cells: 32 m2 (Clipsol)

Thermal panels and size of tank: 
42 m2 thermal cells, 2 -1000 litre hot water tanks

Underfloor Solar Heating:
350 m2 direct solar in-floor heating

Solid fuel:
2-1000kg propane tanks (used for cooking and to run the backup to our solar heating and solar hot water installation); wood 

Also: wood with 2 Jotul wood burning stoves (high efficiency, double combustion)

Solar panels mounted on roof for solar heating and solar hot water  The inverter for their solar power kit

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