The blooming of green homes XXXXXXXXXX

in tune with nature: Glimpses of Green houses in Hubballi and Dharwad cities. photos by author

Ratnadhama, a nature-friendly home nestled in the verdant environs of Dharwad, has been an attraction for eco-enthusiasts for a few years now. Hosting the like-minded has become a part of a routine of the proud owners — M D Patil and Tanuja Patil.

They explain the visitors about the design and planning that went into the construction of this 2,200 square feet green home eight years ago. When the couple decided to construct their home for their five-member family, they had one ambition in mind — go for eco-friendly techniques which would not only save energy consumption but also reduce carbon footprints in this green and quiet city. 

Sustainable technology

Following all possible sustainable methods in their construction, the couple ensured the entire house gets sufficient light and air. Hollow mud blocks for walls and hollow tiles were used below the ceiling slab to reduce the temperature.

While constructing their house, the couple ensured that they retain the surface soil as well as the landscape. The idea was also the optimum utilisation of sunlight and wind. Orientation and design of the building go a long way in ensuring natural cross ventilation. Integration of renewable energy sources brought them long-term benefits.

A mini biogas plant and solar panels on the terrace occupied little space but ensured huge benefits. The hollow mud blocks used for the exterior walls and the clay tiles on the ceiling allow less heat into the rooms. And properly glazed high-rise windows keep the house cool, and limiting the use of fans and air conditioners, explains Patil.

This is one of the many eco-friendly houses in Hubballi and Dharwad that have been constructed in recent years. Sustainable, eco-friendly, cost-effective cool houses have caught the attention of people and number of builders are now opting for such green structures. “A house in tune with nature was our dream. We lived in a tiled-roof house for over 18 years and realised the goodness of such homes as they breathe life into you. We were determined to construct such a house when we bought a 60X40 site.” 

With increasing awareness among people, nature-friendly homes have turned out to be the first option for many in the cities. Shakuntala Divatagi, the wife of the late architect Vijaykumar Divatagi, who constructed Patil’s house, recalls her husband saying, “In another decade, not only individuals but builders will also market eco-friendly homes. A few years from now, green buildings will be the choice of every builder.”

Divatagi, who was one of the architects who popularised eco-friendly homes in the region, had built his home in Dharwad as a model for his clients. Taking a cue from Patil and Divatagi, Justice A S Paschapure has constructed his own abode — Srinanada, in Dharwad. The two-storey house is not only constructed with eco-friendly materials but also offers maximum comfort for the family. 

Among the fast-growing nature-friendly community of people who have taken to sustainable construction to minimise hazardous impacts on the environment is South Western Railways employee Girish BK, who adopted celebrated architect Laurie Baker’s model to construct his green hearth — Vasundhare, in Hubballi. This 2,600 square feet home has a load-bearing structure with filler slab. He used Mangalore tiles as fillers in the concrete slab. 

Dr Govind Hegde, who stays in a green-home in Hubballi, says going green will provide healthy living space. The natural energy would always keep one fresh and energetic.

Cool-roof technology, hollow bricks, double height windows and the courtyard inside the house ensure good cross ventilation and keep the house cool. “A green home always provides clean air for its dwellers,” he explains. “We opted for hollow bricks for walls and Kota stones for flooring. The skylight opening provided sufficient light and air circulation in the home. Tiled roof is another advantage of our home.” 

Vivek Pawar, a leading architect in Hubballi, says that the city’s climate condition is conducive for the construction of such houses. Exposed brick walls create a natural feel as well as radiate the heat thus lowering the temperature inside the rooms.

Minimalist houses

According to builders and house owners, minimum use of wood, steel and cement also helps save about 30% of the total construction cost. Moreover, the building should be constructed without manipulating the land and nature. Some features of such houses such as a courtyard, open to the sky method and mini garden inside the house make them trendy and suitable for each season. 

The easy availability of green material in various designs in recent years has boosted the trend. Indeed, these naturalists of the twin cities – Hubballi and Dharwad - are a testimony that going green and working one’s home around the eco-friendly concepts to protect the environment around us, not only saves that extra pinch on one’s pockets, but also a gateway to healthy living. 

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