The term sustainable is thrown about quite a bit these days, but there’s more to it than just segregating your waste and calling it a day. True sustainability is made up of many facets; from building materials to the use of renewable energy sources to design that strives for efficiency and harmony with the surrounding environment. The garden city of India has always been famous for its greenery but many houses in the city are going that extra mile just to make the environment and surroundings a little bit better.
One such home is Homebelaku. Named after his father’s poem collection, Karunaprasad Kanavi explains, “The house is made up of clay and mud. The walls have not been plastered or painted to avoid the presence of lead. Simple Kota tiles and clay tiles have been used for flooring instead of mosaic tiles and it is built at a 15 per cent cost reduction compared to a normal house as no plaster, paint or cement were used.”
In recent years, an increasing numbers of Indians have started making efforts to minimise both environmental impact and financial outlay by outfitting homes with sustainable technology. The resulting boom in sustainable buildings is driving new levels of innovation.
Residents of the house Kachra Mane has given the term eco-friendly living a whole new meaning. A home called Kachra Mane, literally translates in Kannada as trash home. A man who strongly believes in the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink” principle, he has made his house literally from trash that he collected from demolished houses and second-hand markets.
“About 80 per cent of the fittings are from demolished houses, wood is from scrap dealers and most household appliances are bought second-hand. Parts of the house, such as the windows, staircase, kitchen cupboards, and book shelves are made from discarded pinewood packing cases that were polished using linseed oil,”explains the owner, GV Dasarathi.
A house that is completely off the grid for energy, a family that uses rain water for its everyday needs, and a lifestyle that presents a perfect blend of sustainability and traditional wisdom is what Chockalingam Muthiah’s home welcomes you with. A businessman, Muthiah believes in consuming only what can be generated or preserved.
“We have used mud blocks instead of cement everywhere possible. The house is designed in a way that allows good ventilation and entry of abundant natural light and all electronic devices run on solar power. All waste is segregated; the dry waste is disposed off to BBMP while the wet waste is used to prepare biogas (in the biogas plant) and compost for the garden,” he adds.
Bengaluru architect, Chitra Vishwanath, has been a pioneer in green living for over 25 years and has used her experience, to design ecological spaces that conserve and use natural resources judiciously. She says, “This is the right time for people to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles through sustainable architecture.” Her firm has created 700 mud-homes in India and Nigeria and many schools and resorts. “The more we trash our environment today, the bleaker our future will be. I vouch by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy–The future depends on what you do today,” she concludes.