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ABC – Autonomous Building for Citizens

A project proposed by The city of Grenoble, Bouygues Construction, SUEZ and the Ministry of Ecological Transition

Buildings Sustainable economy Network Local life


Specialist :  LINKCITY South East
Contact : 

Roseline Legrand - ro.legrand@linkcity.com


Awarded a prize at the BatiActu Building Trophies on 15 September 2020, the ABC (Autonomous Building for Citizens) residence, delivered in Summer 2020 by Linkcity and Bouygues Construction South-East, has been housing tenants of 62 intermediate and social housing units acquired and managed by Grenoble Habitat since September 2020.

The concept, which is the result of Research & Development programs conducted by Bouygues Constructions and developed by Linkcity in partnership with SUEZ and Valode et Pistre architects, is a first in France.

A cluster of innovations, this building aims to be self-sufficient in water, energy and to optimise waste management. Indeed, rainwater is collected and made drinkable, grey water is treated and reused. The energy produced by the photovoltaic sails is stored in batteries and supplies the building, the flats and the heating with electricity. ABC proposes a different way of thinking and living in the habitat. Waste is sorted and recycled through composting. Integrated into its natural environment, it draws the resources necessary for its operation.


Themes : 
  • Construction
  • Quality of housing
  • Circular economy
  • Responsible consumption
  • Energy
  • Large water cycle
  • Digitalisation of services
Scale : 
  • Building


marker  Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes / Grenoble
Type of territory : 
  • Metropolis
Built-up surface area :  5085 m2
Project cost :  € 10.8M excl. tax (building cost)
Project manager :  Linkcity
Project owner :  Valode and Pistre Architects : info@v-p.com
Associated partners :  Grenoble Habitat (owner, operator and manager), Bouygues Building South-East (design and construction), Suez, Auvergne Rhone Alpes Region, Grenoble City Council, Grenoble Alpes Metropolis, SEM InnoVia, GEG ENeR (Grenoble Electricity), Workshop POP CORN, Territorial Bank - Groupe "Caisse des Dépôts", ADEME, French State - Future Investment Plan Program (PIA) - Great Investment Plan


Labels / certifications :  WELL housing - Gold level, E+C- (E3 C1), Environmental energy building - new housing, BEPOS "all purpose".
Competitions / prizes :  EcoCity and PIA City of tomorrow approach - call for "Innovations" projects from the Auvergne Rhone Alpes Region - Trophies for the construction industry - Top 10 EcoCity Project Bim of Gold 2018 - Le Moniteur - 2nd place SUEZ Innovation Awards 2021 (out of 150 projects submitted) - Category 100% circular Green Solutions Awards, Construction 21 (In progress)


Project evaluation*

based on contributor declaration

Criterion 1: SUFFICIENCY

  • Land: Composed of two compact, terraced buildings of 4 to 8 storeys, the density of the project limits the artificialisation of the land. The absence of parking spaces also avoids any superfluous artificialisation, and allows users to benefit from bicycle rooms.
  • Biodiversity: the residence includes 360 m2 of shared gardens, run by the association “Cultivating our roofs ” and intended for residents.
  • Water resources: the objective is to reduce water consumption by a factor of 3. To achieve this: Rainwater is collected from the 1130 m2 of roof space and treated for drinking water. In addition, clean grey water is recycled for the toilets and for watering the outdoor plants. Finally, hydro-economic equipment is used to reduce consumption, in particular an recycling shower (designed by Orbital). This system is based on a water treatment plant set up by Suez teams.

The result: a reduction of more than 2/3 in the consumption of water from the city’s network.

The construction uses Vicat low-carbon concrete to limit the carbon impact of the construction.

Weber cork insulation has been used in a logic of bio-sourced materials.

An E+C- (E3 C1) LCA analysis was conducted.

The building has an ambitious target of 70% annual energy autonomy:

– The residence includes a solar farm with 688 photovoltaic panels (1130m²). The electricity produced by the solar farm, managed by GEG ENeR, is stored in batteries so that it is available in the evening, when the residents are in their homes;

– Part of the energy needed by the inhabitants is also recovered from the water

Grey water: heat recovery.

– The energy released by the batteries is also recovered by a heat pump.

The project aims at energy passivity: BEPOS all uses. 60 kWh/year/m²SHAB all uses.

In addition, various technical devices lead to a sober operation:

  • Triple glazing
  • Individual and collective double-flow ventilation
  • Lancey battery radiators
  • Recycling showers
  • Application for monitoring consumption

Pre-equipment of kitchens with A+++ appliances

The mechanisms mentioned in the previous paragraph enable energy efficiency to be applied to the building’s operation.

In addition, the building has individual meters for each accommodation: hot and cold water meters, grey water meters, electricity meters for each household appliance, in order to evaluate the consumption of the inhabitants as closely as possible. An assessment of the technical results and actual usage is then regularly carried out during two steering committees per year for five years.

Criterion 2: INCLUSION

The involvement of the residents plays a central role in the success of this residence, which has been designed as a real demonstrator. In the long term, its operation depends on their commitment and the ability of the community to adopt new ways of living in terms of energy management, waste sorting, travel and living together.

To this end, Grenoble Habitat has set up a specific awareness-raising program from the marketing phase onwards, supported by Linkcity’s teams, through the organisation of information meetings, open house events, visits to showcase homes, and time to discover the facilities in order to encourage future residents to adopt the ABC concept.

This support approach carried out by Grenoble Habitat will continue in 2021 and 2022:

– deployment of training sessions for the inhabitants to get to handle the installations;

– participative workshops led by the teams of Grenoble Habitat and the Pop-Corn workshop, specialized in the support of inhabitants. The aim is to guide and support residents in reducing their consumption, sorting waste and encouraging the co-construction of collective actions;

– animation and assistance in the use of the 360 m2 of shared gardens with the association “Cultivating our roofs” for all residents;

– 50 m2 educational showroom explaining the ABC concept, freely available to the inhabitants of the demonstrator and accessible to all during visits organised by the City of Grenoble;

– a digital application, developed by Bouygues Construction teams, that allows each resident to monitor the consumption of their home and the behavior of their building in real time on their smartphone. Sensors measure building performance in real time.

Comprising 42 intermediate and 20 social housing dwellings as well as an Innovia neighbourhood facility, the project promotes social and functional diversity to a certain extent. In addition, the 50 m2 educational showroom project explaining the ABC concept, freely accessible to the inhabitants of the implemented project and accessible to all as part of the visits organised by the City of Grenoble.

The project includes 42 intermediate housing units and 20 social housing units operated by Grenoble Habitat, and is therefore aimed directly at vulnerable populations.

In order to support the most vulnerable inhabitants, a support approach carried out by Grenoble Habitat will continue in 2021 and 2022:

– Deployment of training sessions for residents to get to grips with the equipment;

– participative workshops led by the teams of Grenoble Habitat and the Pop-Corn workshop, specialised in the accompaniment of the inhabitants. The aim of these workshops is to guide and support residents in reducing their consumption and sorting waste and to encourage the co-construction of collective actions;

A sociological survey of residents is being carried out in 2021 by Bouygues Buildings to assess feedback and possible improvements, but the results are not yet available.

Work is also being carried out in conjunction with the University of Grenoble to assess changes in user behaviour in terms of energy use and consumption.

Criterion 3: RESILIENCE

When the project was launched in 2014, the resilience diagnosis was not planned to our knowledge. The ABC project is designed to mitigate climate change (carbon footprint, GHGs, water withdrawal: drying up of water tables).

A study carried out in 2014-2015 enabled a diagnosis of the local production potential. The potential of the site for different renewable energies was evaluated: solar, wind, hydro, cogeneration system, biomass. The modes of renewable energy production were adopted to the local deliverable by selecting the solar production

Criterion 4: CREATIVITY

The project contributes to social dynamism through the emulation of the local social life through different means:

  • Workshops with the inhabitants, emulation, vegetable garden (social network)
  • A shared room located in the building is made available to the city by the SEM to organise cultural and associative activities;
  • The shared gardens are intended for a shared activity between the inhabitants;
  • A showroom is made available to the building’s inhabitants to organise meetings;

In addition, the project’s stakeholders wanted to respond to a need to support users in the life of the buildings, the shared gardens and the shared premises. The POP CORN workshop acts as an interface between the residents and the building managers. These missions were built by iteration with Grenoble Habitat, which is experimenting with the skills of an AMU in order to implement social innovations. The POP CORN workshop was commissioned for 5 years, from the start of the works until 2 years after the delivery of the building. A monitoring and evaluation process for these actions will then be put in place.

In 2014, the project mobilised creativity and focus group sessions with a representative panel of future inhabitants in order to test innovations upstream, and to test their degree of acceptability, as these innovations have an impact on everyday behaviour.

In addition, the participation in the project of the State, different levels of local public governance (municipality, intercommunality, region), and private companies (Bouygues Building in particular) demonstrated the possibility for these actors to innovate jointly in the service of an ambitious demonstrator.


The ABC demonstrator in Grenoble is designed to test replicable devices in future projects

  • Educational booklets have been produced for this purpose.

The monitoring of technical results and uses during 2 steering committees per year for 5 years allows to build a solid base of experience feedback in order to prepare the next steps of the project.

About Solène

Mission Officer, Working Group, and Projects. Student at the Urban School of Sciences Po Paris, focusing on the ecological transition of cities.

About Quentin

Motivated by climate issues and planetary boundaries, Quentin decided to study land use planning at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. His experience in associative field at the Fresque du Climat, helped him to better understand the stakes of the ecological bifurcation. Between his native Haute-Savoie and his home town Rennes, where he gained expertise in mobility and sustainable agriculture, he is now based in Paris to deploy the Sustainable City by France’s territorial workshops throughout the country.

About Alice

After five years’ study at Sciences Po Lyon, with a specialization in territorial transitions, Alice joined Sustainable City by France (France Villes et territoires Durables). She actively contributes to the deployment of the association’s territorial workshops and working groups.
See her LinkedIn profile 

Currently studying as a second-year Master’s student in International Relations at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Tara holds a Bachelor’s degree from INALCO, with a double-major in Hindi language, and International relations / Environmental studies. Her work with us is in line with her former experiences at UNESCO and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, thus deepening her professional expertise in the field of environmental diplomacy and international cooperation for sustainable development.

See her LinkedIn profile


She holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the Panthéon-Sorbonne University and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in International Relations and Action Abroad at the same university. She approaches the problems of sustainable cities and territories through these different perspectives and her international experiences.

About Isabelana

Isabelana is a Mexican journalist who holds a Master’s degree in Digital Communication and Data Analysis from the Sorbonne University. She previously worked in communication and press relations in the cultural sector in France and Mexico. Today, she is interested in ecological actions and solutions to preserve the environment and the biodiversity.

About Camille

camille photo
With a background in social sciences, art history and architecture, Camille has worked in communication within the VINCI group: from major international projects to La Fabrique de la Cité, a think tank dedicated to urban foresight.

About Alexandra

A geographer by training (Saint Petersburg State University), she started as a geographer and economist at the Academy of Agricultural Economics (Russia), before pursuing her career in France as an administrative and accounting assistant (Air Liquide, Association TGV Provence Côte d’Azur, COFHUAT, Groupe Hervé)

About Marion

Trained in international and European affairs between England and France as part of a double degree at Sciences-Po Lille / University of Kent, Marion started her career in advocacy and institutional relations of non-governmental organisations, in the fair trade sector (Max Havelaar France label). Her experiences are also linked to territories, with a passage in decentralised cooperation at the level of a departmental council.

About Sébastien

Before joining the SCbF team, he held several positions in local government management. From elected official and deputy mayor of his native city Besançon, in charge of university relations and international cooperation, to Director of Economic Development of the City of Pantin, to Chief of staff in Montreuil – where he notably piloted the in-depth redesign of the urban project towards more ecology and sustainable development – he continued his career as Senior Resilience Officer of the City of Paris.
He promotes a holistic and systemic vision of sustainable development and brings his expertise in territorial resilience, ecological and social transition.