Design


 

The house

The Noé (Noah) floating arch house is manufactured according to the characteristics of an Écoquille *: a single dwelling, with its shell wall sandwich in a timber frame of a very special kind: arches resembling marine carpentry. You can find the link to the Ecoquille website on the Our partners page, with all the details of its environmentally friendly and forward thinking design.


Here are some features :

 

Ecological and healthy: because of the material: solid local untreated wood, hemp fiber and cork; but also because it uses a smaller amount than for a rectangular house (less material is both more environmentally friendly and more economical).

Breathable : the house is impermeable to water and air but allows water vapor to pass thanks to the natural properties of wood and the effects of active ventilation. It breathes and has no toxicity. The condensation of water vapor on the walls is entirely avoided.

 

Easy to build: without a lifting machine, the small parts in its design mean it can be assembled by any good handyman.

Economic : for the reasons mentioned above: less material, possibility of self-assembly with light tools. But especially in use: low maintenance and operating costs (heating, electricity, maintenance of equipment) kept to a minimum. The simpler and less it costs for maintenance, avoiding repair costs, and regardless of the country in which the vessel is located.

 

Thermal insulation : its “turtle shell” shape limits heat exchange with the exterior; its ultra insulating wall (R> 8) with floor-walls-roof continuity removes all thermal bridges. The guarantee of energy savings and comfort is so significant that this type of construction is heated by living in it. It exceeds PassivHaus standards. This is probably the only house for which a minimal calorific top-up for the bathroom and severe Nordic cold can be supplied by photovoltaic panels: a simple, independent solution, without expense and with no ecological footprint.

 

Rounded roof : it is not only pretty, but the rounded shape of the house improves the internal heating convection, makes it more comfortable due to the reinforced insulation and sound quality, reduces wind resistance and thermal losses due to bad weather, as well as promoting rainwater collection in keeping with the idea of self-sufficiency.

 


 

The boat’s hull

Steel, more environmentally friendly and economical than polyester or aluminum.
It is strong, durable and infinitely flexible according to need:

 

The number of occupants : large family, retired couple, solo sailor.

 

The use of the boat : principal or secondary residence, rental for tourism professionals, “Guest Room” as additional income, etc.

 

Canals where it will sail: from the Canal du Midi to the Breton canals, from Burgundy to the Rhine or to the Danube and as far as the Black Sea, the 38 meter hull can be widened or lengthened so that the boat adjusts to the needs of the occupants and their itinerary.

 

 


 

The greenhouse

Placed, like the house, on the deck, it takes the form of a tunnel. Very roomy, it has the same thermal behavior, offering less wind resistance: it is a bulwark against the cold, which enables crops to be grown throughout the year. Furthermore, it limits the evaporation of water and thus needs less watering. Thanks to it, we further optimized the surface area of the boat. Even in bad weather, crop care is possible. We recommend growing beds according to the method of “wicking beds*” and the recommendations of the “square garden”.

 

What are the reasons for these methods of cultivation?

 

The beds used for the plants are made of wood, naturally rot-proof and local varieties: larch, robinia (false acacia). Their waterproofing is guaranteed, either by a synthetic sheet or better yet (because more environmentally friendly and without toxicity for the crops), by an internal lining of zinc. Such a structure has the advantage of limiting the weight at height, which improves the stability of the boat during navigation (limits pitching).

 

At the right height, they enable cultivation without bending, with gains in efficiency and comfort.

 

To save weight and become part of a permaculture approach, we advise filling them with layers of different kinds (see below). This allows you to use less soil, so less water and save yet more weight. The different substrates decompose at their own pace while feeding the surface soil to give it a high nutritive power for crops.


The arrangement in squares makes it possible to organize the crops according to ones own criteria:
weather, location of the boat (latitude), food preferences and number of occupants, seasons, etc.

One can move about freely and with perfect ergonomy to care for the plants in this small maze of luxuriant growth.

 

 

wicking beds

The so-called “wicking-beds” technique uses the principles of permaculture stated above with an optimization of watering: it is a kind of automatic watering, but not requiring energy. The principle consists of a vertical pipe (which can be connected to the rainwater collection) which descends to the bottom of each bed and then branches out horizontally.

The branches are pierced on top and embedded in a layer of gravel. Thus the water rises by capillarity in the various layers of the tank, to the roots of the plants. An overflow prevents a “pooling” effect at the bottom of the tanks. Plants take only the necessary water, the surplus returns to nature passively, by simple runoff, with no expenditure of energy.

 

The different layers above the gravel are plant-based and increasingly finer as they rise towards the surface: twigs, pieces of bark, then topsoil on the surface, itself covered with mulching to further reduce evaporation (already minimised by the protection against the wind that is the greenhouse). A geotextile membrane separates the plant-based layers from the gravel to preserve their ability to collect water by capillarity.

 

This avoids manual watering and the risk of too much or too little!
Thanks to the ease of work and amazing precision, growing crops in this way is an inexhaustible and practical way to healthy living (medicinal herbs, fresh vegetables, aromatics) and fulfillment (relaxation, ease, harmony, beauty).

 

In the greenhouse, three six-week-old batavias, five plants of sucrine lettuces to come, two everlasting chard plants, three Chinese cabbages that follow the spring strawberries, a few flowers and some radish seedlings. In the interstices, chives and lemon thyme, basil, parsley and coriander. On the trellis, buried in the nasturtiums, melon plants mix with mint and cherry tomatoes. Unless you prefer runner courgettes or climbing beans. The whole place seems wild, a pretty space filled with life.

 

Correctly sized, the greenhouse will feed a small family with fresh produce, always available, within reach, and even on the kitchen doorstep. Thus managed, it can provide fresh vegetables for four people taking all their meals on board. A wise crop rotation saves your soil, crop care is kept to a minimum by planting tight, which increases yield.
In this way, the greenhouse will produce vegetables all year round. We recommend a greenhouse 4 meters wide by 7 long for 4 people. The modularity of Noah easily allows for it, without compromising the comfort of the dwelling at the stern, nor the surface of the workshop in the hold at the prow.

Pleasure-gardening

There are two problems with a vegetable garden: the fatigue of the work and the need to wear suitable clothes. Everyone knows about the aching back and muddy boots. Yet an alternative exists: gardening for pleasure first and foremost, in one’s spare time, spontaneously, without obligation.

Everybody will appreciate this of course. Removing parasites, weeding plants or thinning seedlings, is done effortlessly, with your fingertips, in a light soil that can even be dug by hand.
This precision care, with no slugs and snails, is the guarantee of healthy and developed plants, without treatment or fertilizers, with a yield unheard of in the traditional kitchen garden. The diversity of plants naturally protects them from contagion and parasites.

 


 

The engine

It can be done according to two principles :

Either with a conventional combustion engine, our partner possesses proven know-how and a range of robust motors adapted to Noé’s characteristics and your needs. It is simple and easy to use.
The brands and models advised are detailed on the site of our partner in the dedicated section.
The engine is complemented by a small generator as a back-up in case of need for the photovoltaic (+/- wind power) power plant that supplies the house.

 

Or with an electric motor, preferably powered by solar and / or wind power, but necessarily backed up by a generator (larger than in option 1). Unless you devote a substantial budget to oversize the photovoltaic installation.
This configuration has the advantage of ultimately being able to do without fossil energy without having to make major structural changes. The engine and its energy source will be identical, only the power of the production will be greater.
With photovoltaic panels and batteries evolving constantly, the power station will soon be capable of covering Noé’s movements.

 


 

Navigation

Noé is a house in its own right, but it is still a boat!
The navigation is in all respects common with that of a classic barge.

 

It is equipped with a classic wheelhouse, harmoniously connected to the living quarters, without compromising its thermal performance.
It has direct access via the deck, 360 ° visibility for maneuvers, as well as an insulated door giving access directly to the house in front and a small room at the back which can assume several functions as required: pantry, utility room, general storage, etc.

 

The wheelhouse contains all the equipment essential to navigation, and again, the choice of fittings is made à la carte.
It also has a table with comfortable matching benches, to welcome travelers, who will see the beautiful scenery glide by with the captain, with his approval of course!

 


 

To visit the barge in pictures, it is here.