ABC (Autonomous Building for Citizens) : 1st concept of autonomous residence in France

Designed by Bouygues Construction's R&D teams with the architectural office Valode & Pistre, ABC (Autonomous Building for Citizens) is the first autonomous building concept in France. This type of building could reduce the carbon footprint of operations in island or remote areas, in addition to having a lower environmental footprint than the average building.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource efficiency

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Energy Decarbonisation

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Energy efficiency improvements

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Improving efficiency in non-energy resources

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Emission removal

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Financing low-carbon issuers or disinvestment from carbon assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

The ABC project is a new building concept based on three pillars: A for autonomous, B for sustainable and intelligent building and C for citizen.

One of the objectives is to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction and operation of this residential building by activating the following levers:

- Use of CO2-reduced concrete and bio-sourced materials
- Energy efficiency through occupant involvement
- Optimisation of the energy efficiency of the building
- 70% autonomy in daily electricity consumption
- Division of the water consumption of the network by 3
- 40% reduction in grey waste

Detailed project description

ABC (Autonomous Building for Citizens) is the first autonomous residence concept in France. It was designed entirely by Bouygues Construction’s R&D teams with the architectural firm Valode & Pistre. It is being developed and built by teams from Linkcity (the Group’s property developers) and Bouygues Bâtiment Sud-Est for the city of Grenoble. It was delivered in September 2020. The residents are being helped to reduce their consumption in this new type of housing, as their involvement in the life of the building is a central element of the project.


The autonomy of this building is based on 3 pillars that contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the residence:

  • Sobriety, thanks to an application that allows occupants to monitor all consumption, to control equipment (including heating systems) and to raise awareness of good practices among users. The complex includes 180 bicycle spaces and 360 m2 of vegetable gardens to encourage wider behavioural changes.
  • Energy performance of the building: use of reinforced insulation (cork insulation, triple glazed windows, A+++ household appliances; LED lighting)
  • Reduction of energy and water consumption: this is based on local production and distributed in short circuits. Beyond the carbon gains, the local production of photovoltaic electricity integrated into the building supports the national deployment objectives by reducing the footprint of the panels (since they are integrated into the building).


The ABC building aims to be 70% self-sufficient in electricity, to reduce its water consumption by 2/3 compared to a conventional residence (i.e., more than 50L saved per day and per person) and to reduce household waste by 40%. In addition to the resource savings, the reductions in water consumption and waste result in a carbon gain of approximately 40 teqCO2 over the life of the building.

In addition, the carbon footprint of the construction is also reduced using concrete with reduced CO2 emissions. In particular, the use of low-carbon CEM IV concrete has reduced the CO2 that would have been emitted by conventional concrete (i.e., CEM II/A) by more than a third, 270 teqCO2.


The housing complex consists of two buildings, representing a built area of 5000 m², with 62 flats (42 intermediate rental flats and 20 social rental flats). The ABC (Autonomous Building for Citizens) demonstrator, France’s first autonomous residence, won a prize at the BatiActu Construction Awards in September 2020. It was delivered in Grenoble in summer 2020 by teams from Linkcity and Bouygues Bâtiment Sud-Est.

The project received a mention at the “Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021” in the “Grand Prix Quartier Durable” category.    

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 1 : Construction site emissions (e.g., transport of materials).                

Quantification : Marginal. Scope 3 represents more than 95% of the average carbon footprint of our projects.

Scope 2 : Construction site emissions (electricity consumption).

Quantification : Marginal. Scope 3 accounts for more than 95% of the carbon footprint of our project.

Scope 3 : 

  1. Use of low-carbon CEM IV concrete with a 35% lower carbon footprint than standard CEM II/A concrete.
  2. External cork insulation (bio-based) with a carbon footprint 35% lower than a standard external thermal insulation system.
  3. PV production of 270 MWh/year as expected
  4. Water consumption reduced by two thirds
  5. Waste production reduced by 40%.  

Quantification :

– More than 1000 tCO2e over the entire life of the building (50 years) compared to a “conventional” new housing building, including:

  1. 270 tCO2eq for concrete
  2. Almost 200 tCO2eq for insulation
  3. Over 600 tCO2eq for electricity generation (Taking into account the FDES of the panels which indicates an emission factor of 258 kgCO2/m2, the installed surface of 140m2 and a renewal of the panels after 25 years).
  4. Nearly 40 tCO2eq for water and waste



The values considered for the calculation are taken from the E+C- studies.  

Over its lifetime, the ABC concept demonstrator will save more than 1000 tCO2e compared to a “conventional” new housing building. This considers both material and operational energy savings.

The benchmark is based on a sample of 11 concrete housing buildings in an equivalent climate zone in Grenoble.

Key points

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Invested amount


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Starting date of the project

01/07/2018 - End : 01/06/2020

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Project localisation

Grenoble, Isère.

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation

The building now has about 60 accommodation units.

Economic profitability of the project

Short term (0-3 years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Illustrations of the project

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this project will:

  • Reduce water consumption;
  • Reduce waste production (improved sorting at source, monitoring of waste by weighing on site, recovery of putrescible waste in the vegetable gardens);
  • Raise awareness of good environmental practices among residents.    

The concept of autonomy makes it possible to be free of infrastructure and networks. This is of major interest in areas:

  • Where there is no infrastructure (island areas, remote areas, inaccessible areas etc.)
  • Where networks can be subject to various hazards such as natural disasters or periods of saturation. Indeed, the French/European network is exceptional, but in some area’s blackout periods are frequent and represent a real problem.
  • Where social and societal issues prevent the creation of new infrastructures.

The climate impact will be even more important as the country’s energy mix is carbon-based.

Developed by Bouygues Construction’s R&D.

Project owner : Linkcity

Designers : Bouygues Bâtiment Sud-Est, Architect Valode et Pistre. Suez (design of the water management system).

Other partners: Vicat (low-carbon concrete). Saint-Gobain (bio-sourced insulation). City of Grenoble, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region, French Government (Future Investment Programme); Banque des Territoires, ADEME, Grenoble Habitat, Innovia, GEG, Grenoble Alpes Métropole

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