related issues

The Maison Ecocitoyenne in Bordeaux

The Maison Ecocitoyenne is a public institution for raising awareness about sustainable development.

The City of Bordeaux first came up with the idea in 2007 in response to the expectations of its citizens, and the institution opened its doors in October 2010. It was then transferred to Bordeaux Métropole in January 2016 when certain local services were merged together. Today, the Maison Ecocitoyenne is overseen by the Energy, Ecology and Sustainable Development Directorate within the High Quality of Life Directorate General.

The idea

It is one of the flagship components of the policy to support the public in all matters pertaining to the ecological and energy transition. It is a unique venue providing keys for action:

  • A permanent exhibition on 3 major themes: Sustainable habitats, Ecocitizens on a daily basis, Our "natural” environments
  • Temporary exhibitions: the Maison Ecocitoyenne holds a new exhibition every year (sustainable eating, biodiversity, sustainable fashion, food waste, eco-mobility etc.) and hosts exhibitions by other institutions (such as the exhibition on gardening in the city as part of Agora 2017)
  • Regular events: practical workshops (bike repairs, sewing, making cosmetics, discovering vegetarian cuisine, making ecological cleaning products) and guided walks on nature in the city.
  • An Energy Information Service open twice weekly for two hours each week.
  • One-off events: conferences, debates, shows, screenings etc. in a programme designed alongside associations, businesses and specialized partners.
  • A resource space: books and journals for reading on site, a list of addresses of local initiatives, documents to take away (Bordeaux Métropole, Adème)
  • An interactive touch-screen table: discover eco-friendly actions to include in everyday life through games. It also offers an agenda, games and a list of recommended places.
  • A mobile application: as a complement to the interactive table, the mobile app saves the eco-friendly actions chosen during the visit and allows the user to access the agenda and locate recommended places nearby wherever they are, as well as calculate their carbon footprint.

The venue

In 2007, Bordeaux residents expressed the need for a dedicated venue during a consultation conducted by the city. The former dockworkers’ office was chosen and fully refurbished, and its doors were opened in October 2010. A concrete example of the City of Bordeaux’s commitment in the field of sustainable development, the Maison Ecocitoyenne corresponds to Topic 6 of the Agenda 21 voted by the City Council in December 2008: "raise awareness, inform and educate on the subject of sustainable development and develop new forms of governance". 

To refurbish this space of 500m2, Bordeaux architect Olivier Lehmans used a High Environmental Quality (HQE) approach, prioritising materials that are environmentally friendly. The building’s concrete roof was replaced with a wooden frame (Norway spruce, poplar from Lot et Garonne and maritime pine from the Landes). It is formed of three curves, providing a source of natural light and optimum exposure for solar energy. Electricity is generated by over 150m2 of photovoltaic panels, while solar sensors supply the building with hot water.

The roof is mostly green, providing natural and efficient thermal insulation. Beehives and bird boxes have been installed and can be observed via a video camera. An integrated weather station informs visitors of the relationship between the Garonne and weather conditions. Rain water is collected and used for maintaining the roof and supplying the toilets. This refurbishment project is a concrete example of existing techniques in the field of environmentally friendly renovation, providing an educational demonstration of the possibilities.