Quéménès, the self-sufficient island

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By Rachel

Quéménès island, Brittany

Nestled amid the isle of Molène off the tip of Brittany, Quéménès island has been inhabited since 2009 by a young couple who live in complete energy self-sufficiency. The wind and the sun provide electricity for their farms as well as for the guest rooms that welcome visitors.

This project was started by the Conservatoire du Littoral. When in the process of purchasing the island in 2003, the agency undertook reasearch that brought to light the natural resources of the island. They decided, with the support of the European island trade (ISLA) program and several public and private partners, to develop a laboratory for sustainable development on the island (renewable energy production, supply and treatment of water, ecosystem maintenance, etc …).

The island’s electricity comes from a small wind turbine of 2.5 kilowatts coupled with 70 m2 of photovoltaic solar panels (a little more than 6 kW). Water is heated by 2.5 m2 of solar panels. This entire system, including the management system that can store some of the electricity in 48 large batteries, required an investment of 150k Euros.

To maintain the biodiversity of the island chemical fertiziers and pesticides are banned. Everything on the island is organic and sustainable. This means, amongst other things, dry toilets, compost … For waste water, three pools with a system of phyto remediation help to clean the water and prevent it polluting other water courses.

There is a well on the island, but its water comes from a small confined water-source located above sea level. The well alone would not be a sufficient water source and so it is coupled with rain-water.

An energy-saving filtration system with paper and charcoal, supplemented by exposure to ultraviolet rays, makes this water drinkable.

Although the island is only 1.3 km long and 400 m wide, to move around, the young couple have acquired an electric jeep whose batteries are recharged at night with wind power. This allowed the young couple to abandon their old tractor, which is now only used for ploughing.

Now, we can see that you can live on Quéménès using only renewable energy without sacrificing modern comforts, all in the full respect of the environment.

You can experience a week-end in this magical island. Soizic and David, the two farmers selected for this adventure welcome you to stay in one of their cottages on the island.

Resources: official site

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