Beautiful passive solar Eco-home with panoramic view over the Portneuf river
More than a simple home, this property has great potential for artistic, ecological or other types of projects. This open-concept house with cathedral ceiling and cozy mezzanine, invites buyers who appreciate a spacious living area as well as those who may want to integrate their vocational activities into their living space (e.g., music or art, workshops, retreats, or any type of project related to well-being or nature).
If you dream of creating a natural home and sustainable lifestyle, this straw-bale house provides a wonderful opportunity to skip the tiring years of building and to focus on gardening and other projects now.
The terraced land, which is zoned "Agricultural" and is flanked by the Portneuf river, has huge potential for permaculture projects, the production of perennials and food self-sufficiency. Facing South-East, the house is located at the top of a slope that leads gently down through the woods to the beautiful Portneuf river. The panoramic view, seen from the balcony or through the south-facing windows, changes with the seasons - lush green forest in summer, vibrant colours in autumn, and sunrises from the kitchen window on winter mornings. This property completely immerses its owner in nature. Although there are neighbours across the street, the width of the land (no neighbours on either side of the house) and the view of the river and the forest across the valley provides a sense of privacy and solitude.
*Note that the date of occupancy is May 1, 2021*
*Proof of loan approval required for visits*
This bright, warm and charming house is insulated with straw bales and cellulose and costs very little to heat. Its natural and healthy materials ensure excellent air quality and a comfortable ambience in all seasons.
The solar panel system is connected to the Hydro Quebec network so that kilowatt hours can be accumulated over the summer and then used up over the winter when the solar panels produce less energy. Depending on the energy-using habits of the inhabitants, it is possible to have net-zero electricity consumption over the course of the year.
The radiant heating system, which can be fuelled by wood pellets and / or electricity, the
passive solar design and the careful planning and assembly of the building envelope ensure the house remains very comfortable in the winter, even when it's very cold outside.
Although we did not apply for LEED or Novoclimat certification, the house was designed and built to be energy efficient. In 2015, a Renoclimat inspection of the house gave it an efficiency rating of 78 - only two points lower than the most efficient houses built in the same year in Quebec, and three points higher than the average home of the same age.
The house was built with sustainability and the environment in mind. For more detailed
information about the building process, you can read our blog or check out the articles and
videos about the project (see the links below).
Construction materials and other details
- Exterior walls (first 8 feet) insulated with straw bale (~R-35)
- Exterior walls (above 8 feet) insulated with cellulose (R-40)
- Floor and ceiling insulated with cellulose (R-60)
- Basement walls insulated with Roxul and expanded Styrofoam panels (Isoclad)
- Basement floor insulated with extruded polystyrene panels
3kW solar panel system with adjustable aluminum structure, to maximize production in each season
- Decentralised heat recovery ventilation system from Lunos (see video on YouTube -
- Swedish radiant heating system from Varmebaronen - heated with pellets and electricity
- Oiled larch floors
- Italian ceramic floors
- Straw bale walls finished with lime plaster (anti-allergen, anti-mold, anti-dust)
- Sheetrock walls painted with natural lime paint
- Oiled oak and polished concrete countertops
- Deep window sills made of polished concrete
- Interior and screen doors, made of cedar by a local artisan
- Exterior walls finished with larch siding, stained with Sansin penetrating stain
- Unpainted galvanized steel roof (to enable rainwater collection)
- Ultra efficient fibreglass windows with triple-pane equivalent (two glass panes plus a
reflective interior membrane that creates two air spaces)
- Beautiful stainless steel Italian propane range from Bertozzoni
- Refurbished cast iron radiators, painted dark grey
- Visible copper plumbing
- Compost toilet (optional - the drain pipe for a flush toilet is installed in case that is your preference)
- Post and beam structure
- Engineered floor joists and roof trusses
- Design finalized and signed by structural engineers who have experience with straw bale buildings
Note that some finishing work is still underway.
All was done with care!
- Radio-Canada video: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/info/videos/media-7402352/la-maison-ecologique-de-kate-alvo
- Endeavour Centre article: http://endeavourcentre.org/2012/10/former-students-and-their-beautiful-home/
- Interview in French about the house: https://youtu.be/YSzQHHtX0Kc
- Inhabitat article: https://inhabitat.com/comfort-and-sustainability-for-colder-climates-interview-with-bernat-and-kate-of-maison-durable-portneuf/
- Blog: http://maisondurableportneuf.blogspot.com
- Écohabitation article: https://www.ecohabitation.com/guides/1058/une-maison-nette-zero-construite-par-ses-proprietaires-suivez-le-guide/
- Le Soleil article: https://www.lesoleil.com/maison/le-plein-dinformation-sur-
- Lunos ventilation system: https://youtu.be/sbsO8FbHUwU
*Please note that this land is sloped and terraced and will be of particular interest to those
wanting to work with Permaculture or who are passionate about gardening. If you are not at all interested in these things, this property may not be for you.*
The house is located on a sloped plot of land flanked by the Portneuf river. A path leading down through the woods leads to a quiet area with private river access.
The land was designed and shaped using Permaculture principles:
- Terraces to help prevent erosion and create flat surfaces for gardening
- Two small rainwater collection ponds that create habitat for frogs and toads
- A variety of useful and edible perennial plants and fruit trees have been planted (but
need your love!): kiwi and grape vines, apple, plum and nut trees, seaberry, hops, and
- For more information about the land design, go to:
Location and environment
The house is about 40 minutes from Quebec City and despite being only 4 minutes from the highway, the sound of the Portneuf river rapids hides the traffic noise completely.
Very well located on the edge of the village of Portneuf (Northern sector), the house is a four minute walk from an agricultural country road, a eight minute walk from the historical Bishopneighbourhood and the first bridge in Quebec built entirely out of engineered wood (2012) a four minute car ride to the local grocery store and a four minute car ride to the local recreation area that includes a network of cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing and walking paths, as well as an outdoor hockey rink.
Three minutes away by car, or nine by bike, is the Portneuf Food Forest - a collective project created by ourselves and the community. It is a community commons filled with fruit trees and bushes, as well as useful and edible perennial plants and flowers. A bike path that connects upper and lower Portneuf starts just beside this area.
Portneuf is a town that will charm you if you get to know it. Located between two of the most beautiful villages in Quebec, Portneuf often goes unnoticed - it is a village without pretense. It is authentic and rich in nature and history. The advantage of going unnoticed is that you can enjoy an unequalled quality of life. There is no excess noise, no busses full of tourists. There has been no development around pier located in the lower village making it a beautiful place to observe nature, go ice fishing in the winter, watch the famous canoe race on the ice, or visit the lovely mermaid at the end of the pier (no joke!). It's up to you to discover the charm of this small and welcoming village.
The Portneuf region has a lot for you to discover.
LOCAL CULTURE AND ECONOMY
The people and the municipalities of the Portneuf county encourage the local economy and support local businesses. Amongst others you can discover, here are a few local businesses to check out:
- La ptite brûlerie - organic and fair trade coffee roaster
- Julie Vachon Chocolats - artisanal chocolate and ice cream shop
- Au Soleil levain - artisanal bakery
- Farmers market (open Saturday mornings from the end of June to the end of
- La Taverne concert hall
- Les Grands Bois microbrewery
- Pop café (run by a cooperative)
- Alixir essential oils
- Fromagerie de Grondines - raw and organic cheeses
- O-Tournesol - natural and organic food shop
- Festival des Tambours de Portneuf (traditional music festival)
- Festival de Films de Portneuf sur Lenvironnement
- Biennale du lin (Biennial art show around the theme of Flax, linseed and linen)
Portneuf is a region for nature-lovers!
- Portneuf regional natural park
- Portneuf wildlife preserve
- La Vallée Bras du Nord (nature park run by a cooperative)
- Le ZEC Batiscan-Nielson (for controlled hunting and fishing)
And so much more to discover in this beautiful region!
- Soft wood
- Hot water
- Wooden cabinets
- Double sink
- Gas range
- Air exchanger
- Ceiling fixtures
- Half bath on the ground floor
- Claw Foot Bathtub
- Ceramic Shower
- Separate Shower
- Partially finished
Parking / Driveway:
- Highway access
- No backyard neighbors
- Residential area
- Water Access
- Panoramic view
- Water view
- River / Waterfall
- Mature trees
- Financial institution
Near Educational Services:
- Elementary school
Near Recreational Services:
- ATV trails
- Ski resort
- Pedestrian path