SOIL, AIR, WATER, LIGHT & LOVE will make the world and your home a better place to live in. A house made from the earth and elements, a house that carries the essence of the universe, and breathes life, making it a home. Aparna Shivapura writes about the journey and transformation one can make within and outside one’s environment, by choosing to build and create ECO-FRIENDLY HOMES.
There is a new generation of customers who are thinking ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ in all aspects leading to innovation, technological breakthroughs and design optimization. Gone are the days when people would build only ‘good-looking’ homes, today, the levels of awareness and needs of what they want from a home has also been qualitatively enhanced. The demand for green homes and green buildings is leading to bigger, better solutions in the space and the longterm advantage touches the environment. There is a healthy mix of well-known brands and a crop of individual architects who specialize in building these kinds of homes. Their expertise goes beyond good designs, to the science of building sustainable and environmentsafe homes.
“As newly emerging architects, we are today completely aware of the environmental aspects that can get detrimental if not heeded to. We recommend every client to consider building safe-for-environment homes and styles,” says Akshay Jain, a next-gen architect who is catering to urbane clients across South India.
The most tangible benefits of building eco-friendly and environmentally-positive homes include significant energy and water efficiency, reduced landfill waste, retention and creation of vegetated land areas, and overall, measurable reduction in pollution, and climate welfare. There is a gigantic surge in the awareness and demand for eco-friendly or green homes, across the country.
Sanjay Kripa,owner of an eco-friendly home in Kanakapura says, “We made a conscious choice to move out of a luxurious apartment where we had lived for five years. We chose an architect who understands the sensibilities of a green home and the result is a home in an absolutely natural setting; we have a beautiful terrace garden where we grow our own vegetables, our floor is made using natural earthy elements and we have increased natural lighting and air thereby reducing the need for appliances. Also, solar energy for lighting and waste management is incorporated from day one.”
An eco-friendly house is defined as an environmentally low-impact building, using methodologies that reduce carbon footprint, lead consumption, energy consumption and is conducive to the ecosystem. Some of the most aesthetic and valuable contributions such a home makes include facilities to store rain water, gray water harvesting, use solar energy and highefficiency lighting, regulated temperature on the walls, food gardens and fruit orchards.
Environmental-friendly material, low impact on the ecosystem with regards to manufacturing, distribution, construction, renovation, and demolition, minimum chemical usage and ability to recycle the materials are amongst the emerging aspects of a green building. Core building concepts, increased efficiency and optimal resource usage, new design themes and concepts related to environment and eco-system conservation are naturally expected of architects. Mud blocks instead of bricks, lead-free walls, natural skylights, discarded pinewood packing cases, water recycling, waste segregation and more. There are more intensive projects like Sharanam Centre for Rural Development, Pondicherry, an iconic initiative, where they have used unfired earth, less concrete and steel, minimalistic walls, open piers to ensure thermal comfort, pigmented flooring and insulated floor gardens.
There are other critical factors that are depleting our natural resources such as increased consumption of groundwater usage, furniture and crafts requiring wood, all eventually impacting climate change. In addition, there is a visible increase in respiratory issues like asthma, infections and allergic reactions especially amongst children. GREEN is the word to reduce the stress from residences on climate and our environment, in total. Natural resources, green home concepts and techniques will disrupt this degradation in the long run. This process refers to not only building the structure, with green awareness but also building processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient.
Vidya Ganapati, an architectconsultant for HNI Homes in Bangalore says, “There are both types of customers; one – who are still alien to green and eco-friendly homes because they do not understand the impact and gravity. There is however, an upswing in the number of clients who are open to these natural concepts, and insist on a farm-like or garden-like home in the midst of a busy city. It is important that as architects, we take the responsibility and advocate green homes to all clients and prospects.”
Nandita, Founding Director of WEVID (Weaving Enquiries in Design) and DfGE (Design for Greater Efficiency) Global Course Lead at the International Finance Corporation says, “There are myths and blind spots that customers come to us with, when education and awareness is the only way out. Greater adoption amongst customers will surely pave the way for a greener society
Green certifications in India
A trail-blazing change and trend-setting change towards greater green in the habitats is the arrival of Green Certifications. There are many global and Indian green rating and certifying authorities like LEED, EDGE, INDIAN GREEN BUILDNG COUNCIL, GRIHA and more. The vision and philosophy are saving and conservation of natural resources.
The EDGE Certification is considered one of the fastest growing certifications in the country. An innovation of International Finance Corporation, a member of World Bank, EDGE Certification has a userfriendly and intuitive free app to calculate savings and optimization based on your home requirements. This is a standard software and a certification system for more than 170 countries, worldwide. Their vision is “Everyone wins financially by building green.” LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has also played a pivotal role in enabling greater green adoption in homes and commercial buildings. LEED certification give great insights on energy, atmosphere, transportation, ventilation, combustion, air-filtering, lower emitting products, and more.