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Eco-homes arching their way forward!

By Apurva Bose Dutta

 While nature is gradually becoming a meaningless object of consumption, thank God for architects in India who have led the way for eco-friendly architecture. The style of architecture reflects an attitude towards life, and it commands a certain authority in creating the face of a city; hence, responsible architecture replacing expensive materials and the mindless, extravagant use of resources has become an essential mantra for modern green architecture. The count of architects leading the way for the same is on the increase -.Chitra Vishvanathan, KrishnaRao Jaisim, Sathyaprakash Varanashi and Mistry Architects (Bengaluru), Sanjay Prakash (Delhi), Shimul Javeri Kadri (Mumbai), Vastu Shilpa Consultants, Abhikram Architects and Yatin Pandya (Ahmedabad), Girish Karnawat (Mangalore), Inspiration (Kerala), KSM Consultants Pvt Ltd (Chennai), Castelino & Marchese Architects & Associates and Anupama Kundoo (Pondicherry).

Using locally sourced materials like mud, bamboo, sun-dried bricks, clay roofing tiles, ferro-cement boards, soil stabilised blocks, recycled wood, biogas etc, an eco-friendly building takes into consideration site planning, indoor environmental quality, uses local skills, has minimum dependence on technology and minimum impact on nature. Eco-friendly architecture generally denotes structures going to 2-3 levels since the power consumption is less in such low-height buildings, in the absence of lifts.

Eco-friendly buildings pay for themselves – by virtue of their low maintenance and lower water and electricity bills – this cost compensates for the initial higher costs that are a part of such projects whose aims are to maximise savings, minimise consumption and reduce the use manufactured materials. Eco-friendly materials with their ability to cause the ‘least impact to the environment’ while sustaining the ‘ecology’ bring about many positives – they conserve water, waste, soil, energy, mitigate pollution (air, land and water), are durable and bio-degradable. Alternative facilities, such as the use of solar or wind power for energy, and implementation of rain-water harvesting processes, are a part of such architecture. Their natural raw aesthetics makes them blend seamlessly into nature while concurrently paying reverence to our cultural heritage by using time-honoured local techniques and materials, whilst introducing a modern twist to them. In simple words such buildings breathe while helping nature rest easy!

This awareness of eco-friendly architecture, which was the sole dominion of commercial buildings till recently, is gradually gaining acceptance in eco-friendly homes and apartments in India. Developers like BCIL, Good Earth Homes and Rare Earth are concentrating on the same.

Eco-friendliness is no longer reflective of monotonous architectural designs – but is fast becoming a style statement today – you see eco-friendly spa resorts, eco-friendly villages, schools, office buildings, hotels all following these basic eco-friendly principles. Recently, there were news headlines of how bollywood celebrities like Gul Panag and Abhay Deol have gone in for eco-friendly homes – highlighting the growing popularity of such kind of architecture, even amongst the elite of Bollywood. Give it a few more decades and our lifestyles are bound to change, with eco-friendly architecture hopefully becoming the norm, instead of the exception.

Eco-friendly Architecture firms

Good Earth Homes

Rare Earth Developers

Zed Life, (BCIL)

About the Author

Bengaluru-based architect, Apurva Bose Dutta, is an architectural journalist and can be found at her own special place on the Internet, or through emails to apurvabose@yahoo.com

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