With a new disaster hitting a part of the world every other week, it’s hard to believe that a majority of the population still remains oblivious to the imminent threats of global warming. While it is hard to make a complete switch to a sustainable lifestyle, sometimes baby steps are the only answer. In fact, a testament to this very aspect are some of India’s very own eco-friendly houses, some which took several years of planning — but have proven to be more cost effective over the years.
Quite a few of the people behind these houses have left the city life behind for their new homes, deciding to spend the better half of their lives away from the hustle and bustle, the pollution and the crowds, all for a little peace. Here’s a list of Indians who have begun to pave the way towards a more sustainable India:
[Disclaimer: This article has been sourced from various sources. If you know of more Indians who deserve to be on this list, write in to us at [email protected].]
I. Priyanshi and Nishita, Kodaikanal
There’s no denying that the demanding city life can get one worked up. At some point, everyone has conjured up their own little dream escapade — but these two young women made theirs come true. Not only did they design their own mud cottage, but they also built it! Located in the quaint hill town of Kodaikanal, the house was built with a conscientious effort to reuse waste materials. Old non-biodegradable cement sacks bound with barbed wires make for walls, tyres for window openings and a mud plaster to even out the wall surfaces. Topped with a thatched roof and a locally devised oxide flooring technique for the floor, leads to one solid self-built house!
If you’re interested in building a house of your own like theirs, read more about it here.
II. Prasanto Roy, Delhi
When Prasanto Roy’s four-storeyed sustainable house in South Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park received a five-star rating from TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), it wasn’t for nothing. Made entirely out of fly-ash bricks proved to not just be incredibly sustainable, but also cost-effective. The man himself was quoted as saying, “Do it. It’s a no-brainer because it doesn’t cost more. Even if you don’t go all the way to a five-star-rated green home, many of the features are doable and must be done - like using natural light, solar heating and power, LED lights, 5-star aircon, and so on.” His ‘filler’ ceiling is made out of inverted pots, thereby using less concrete as well as adjusting interior temperatures keeping the house cool in summer and warm in winter. Huge savings on power bills and comfy interiors? Sounds like a win-win to us.
III. Sadashiv Nagar GV Dasarathi, Bengaluru
The house’s humble owner is a firm believer in the motto Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink. The double storied house is built entirely from second hand and discarded material, and the entire house was built at half the cost of a traditional one. One of its more impressive features is the 20,000 litre tank for rainwater harvesting. The window frames, staircase, and cupboards are made from pinewood crates; while the bathroom fittings are also made of old material. Just think about this, all his sourced material was what people discarded as ‘trash’. The amount of money he saved on sourcing materials itself is commendable!
IV. Karunaprasad and Vishaka, Bengaluru
In their case, mud blocks replaced bricks during the construction. Although mud blocks were more expensive than bricks; they were bigger in size. Hence, a marginally lower amount of blocks were needed thereby evening out the cost. Kota tiles and clay tiles which are cheaper and easier to procure were used as well. Skylights light the house up during the day and CFLs were installed throughout their house. Solar panels were planned for electricity as their main source of energy. Rainwater is filtered by a Forbes Designa water purifier system to make it drinkable. Besides their glorious house, the couple also have their own garden, where they grow many of their own vegetables!
V. Vallari and Rajesh Shah, Bengaluru
Meet the couple who gets 90% of their vegetables, straight from their very own backyard! Solar energy fuels their household and packaged food is frowned upon. Their eco-lifestyle helps them save around 15,000 litres of water through rainwater harvesting! Even their large garden lives on reused shower water — they grow everything from beans and papayas to tomatoes and watermelons.
VI. Bhargava Family, Navi Mumbai
Designed by S+PS Architects, this house could be the poster for Recycle and Reuse. The doors and windows in the front were preserved from multiple demolition sites across the city, providing the house with an eclectic sense of openness with natural ventilation. Contemporary design elements such as wood and glass panes are combined with salvaged materials, giving off a sense of contrast as two design worlds come together in perfect synchronisation. Such reuse is not only cost-effective, but also sustainable in the long run.
VII. Vinati, Ooty
Surrounded by a lush forest, is the Hornbill House along the outskirts of Ooty. A two-bedroom house with views overlooking the valley, it’s perfect to rent for a weekend away from the dust and noise of the city. The rooms are large and airy, with plenty of natural light. The house implements several green measures to stay eco-friendly such as solar lighting, biomass water heaters and low-energy appliances.
VIII. Annabelle and Clement DeSylva, Maharashtra
Located in Thakursai Village, the house was built using local materials from the stone quarries that blend in perfectly with the natural landscape. To maintain their au naturel habitat, they even set up their very own rainwater harvesting tank! The house has all the amenities one would require, excluding air conditioning. This is justified when you consider how splendid the weather over there is, especially in the monsoons.
IX. Hari and Asha, Kerala
In Kerala’s Kannur district, Hari and Asha have built a home that has seriously cut down their electricity bills. Designed by architect Vinod T, the home actually cools the interiors thanks to the strategic use of local materials. The location of the doors and windows also allow for plenty of natural light and ventilation. They don’t need an air-conditioner, or even a refrigerator. Hari claims that the use of such sustainable materials has actually impacted their physical well-being, positively!
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