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Unusual: a revolutionary boiler room

Nearly 1,000 years of history have bestowed upon the Abbey a certain wisdom which is manifest today through the site’s sustainable development projects. Work for a new boiler room, of unprecedented scale for a Historic Monument, has enabled the Abbey to achieve energy autonomy. 

The first major work in the “Fontevraud, Sustainable city” project was to transform the Abbey’s energy policy by fitting the building with a wood-fired boiler room topped with solar panels. It took three years of study and a year of engineering works to build the new energy plant, which is half underground situated just beside the abbey church. It has enabled Fontevraud to achieve energy autonomy since the buildings are all now heated by burning wood chips. Its energy consumption has been reduced fourfold and its greenhouse gas emissions tenfold, thanks to which it has achieved certification in the ISO 26000 standard.

The building also has an educational room dedicated to sustainable development, located next to the boiler room which boasts an amazing industrial design. The Abbey is pursuing its environmentally-friendly actions. It has been certified as an “LPO sanctuary” (bird protection league) thanks to its protection of biodiversity, and has converted its kitchen garden into an area for organic farming and created an eco-pasture.
Last but not least, it has acquired a giant compost bin in order to process organic waste and re-use it as fertiliser. Robert of Arbrissel once dreamed of a perfect dwelling place, and his wish is currently coming true for the Abbey which has become a 21st-century benchmark that takes account of the current economic and environmental challenges.
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