Demonstration of solutions

Cognitive circularity, demonstration of technology, local support


The acceptance and support by local people for the systemic innovation experiments and solutions in regenerative and circular design at the MVI are critical for the success of this RWL in a direct and indirect way. Whatever solutions we illustrate on campus are meant to spread and scale up, eventually. So success here is a function of implementing solutions that can then be experienced and applied at many levels, in order to foster social innovation, which is entangled with technical innovation.

The public understanding and acceptance first on a local level is being worked on from different angles on different scales, and applying different tools. One particular public perception was that the MVI embodied a luxury home or “palace”. Transporting 55m3 of wood with prefabricated wood walls and further wood fibre insulation is unusual in this place, and the sheer visible chunks of material brought to the building site led to some people’s impression of building a rich peoples’ place. We told to locals that we were not rich and not building a palace, but instead doing our homework of building a proper shell that would bring down the monthly bills for heating plus contribute to a low carbon society combating climate change. The actual switch in public mindset happened only at the public house warming event, when inside temperature in January was +16°C while outside it was -10°C, without heating and people inside, just by passive design. People needed the experience to open up, which completely changed their picture of our project, leading to incremental gains of interest and support.

Monviso Institute: Overall Circularity

MVI Overall circularity

Visuals by Haley Fitzpatrick


ECOLOGICAL CIRCULARITY Carbon net-positive for all operations, sensitively sited buildings protect old trees, red deer habitat, recultivation of historical hemp practices, organic beehives and forest gardens help restore ecosystem services


ENERGY CIRCULARITY PV on all southern roofs/facades, supplemental salt water batteries and excess energy produced to be used for electric car charging and contributed back to a proposed “community solar grid”


WATER CIRCULARITY Recycled grey and black water treated via bioreactors and demonstrated in “Living Machine” Exhibition, rainwater collection and on-site spring water are sole freshwater resources


MATERIAL CIRCULARITY On-site hemp grown for concrete, paulowina for sustainable ski production and locally sourced stone, wood and wood-fiber insulation


SOCIO-ECONOMIC CIRCULARITY All productions foster diverse, local sustainable economies from forest management, mobility services, responsible outdoor tourism and partnerships with Ostana craftspeople. MVI revenue from operations almost doubled annual municipal budget.


CULTURAL CIRCULARITY Universtiy groups, public workshops and the Regenerative Design Talks foster education for climate change solutions, leveraging “outsider” technical expertise with a “local” historical knowledge, to generate diverse identities, information and cultural exchange


North Facing “Lose” Roof To respect Ostana’s cultural heritage, this roof is covered with traditional “lose” stone tiles, selected for organic conformity in shape, texture and color


Solar Energy: Customized, diamond-shaped south-facing PV roof provide 20kWhp per year while respecting the traditional aesthetics of “lose” stone roofs. PV is also integrated into southern exterior wall as an exposed material, producing 5-6kWhp, totalling 200% of the annual consumption


Concrete Grenoble Hydraulic Lime concrete has a 40% lower carbon footprint than standard concretes


Water Cycles Rainwater, onsite spring water, recycled grey water and bioreactor treated black water constitute the building’s water supply


Windows: Triple IGU windows are supported by regionally produced chestnut-cork insulated frames, which foster new regional and local supply chains


Heating A small supplement to the already highly insulated house, the wood stove warms while heat exchangers recycle 70% of the wasted exhaust for hot water supply


Building Envelope -Passive Energy and Reuse “Nur Holz” spruce wood walls insulated with wood fiber and bound with beech wood screws. No glue or metal makes future recycling easy