Most of us have a large amount of control over our immediate environment. If it gets cold we can turn on a heater, if it gets dark we can turn on a light. Being confined to a 60 foot ocean racing yacht on your own focusses the mind on one’s environment, both immediate and external. It’s one of the reasons that VELUX are a partner of the 5 Oceans race – because the values of the sport and the company’s mission are well matched.
But ocean racing, despite advances in technology happens ‘out there’ and so VELUX need to ‘activate’ their sponsorship in a visible way on shore. To that end, the company has opened the carbon neutral VELUX House in the French port of La Rochelle.
Sir Robin Knox Johnston said:
“There are now less than 100 days to go until the start of the VELUX 5 OCEANS and things are really starting to get exciting. The opening of the VELUX House in La Rochelle marks the race’s commitment to sustainability and will be a fantastic centrepiece of our environmentally friendly race village.”
Located at the centre of La Rochelle’s maritime district on Esplanade Eric Tabarly in the Bassin des Chalutiers, the VELUX House will showcase to the public how it is possible to build carbon-neutral homes by using the abundance of passive thermal solar energy coming through the roof windows while also creating a healthy indoor climate.
The VELUX House will remain for one year in La Rochelle, serving as a point of information on the race for the visiting public and people of La Rochelle, updating them on news from the ocean sprints, skippers and stopovers. It will equally be used as a venue to showcase sustainability exhibitions and educational seminars on climate change, inviting personalities such as Jean-Louis Etienne and Catherine Chabaud to present their activities.
M. Langrand, President of VELUX France, commented:
“I am very happy to open the VELUX House that the people of La Rochelle will host in their port for an entire year. This CO2 neutral building is a new way of living within which, alongside its energy performance, interior comfort is delivered thanks to the maximum use of natural light and optimal ventilation.”
The VELUX House will form the centrepiece of the VELUX 5 OCEANS race village, overlooking the pontoons which will host the competing Eco 60s. The race village will be open to the public from October 9 and will carry the message of TAKING ON THE ELEMENTS, the race’s sustainability mission, supported by an exposition from race transport partner Maersk Line and other local eco exhibitors from the La Rochelle region. During the weekend of the race start, October 15 to 17, the International VELUX Award for Students of Architecture will be hosted in La Rochelle, centred round the theme of sustainable living, and the VELUX House will be a showpiece for the winners and 600 attending guests from around the world.
The VELUX House is a building experiment that demonstrates how a conscious combination of sustainable architecture, carefully selected components and the building’s surroundings can play a role in tackling some of the major climate and population challenges faced by urban areas all over the world.
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