Mantra of recycling

Last Updated 24 March 2011, 15:24 IST

The concept of ‘reduce, renew, recover, reuse, recycle and regenerate’ has caught on in a big way among a lot of builders today. They are increasingly looking at developing green homes, and the concept of recycling resources is a popular trend.

Venkat Chalasani, CEO, Samskruti Builders Pvt Ltd, who has a 100-acre project called Samskruti Maurya, a residential sustainable smart township near Electronic City explains this logically.

 “Imagine you install an aerated low-water shower head which is purified and recycled for flushing and gardening. You no longer feed the guilt of taking a shower after a long day at work. Similarly, imagine purified potable water is supplied to your house; you will not only save water, but also save on energy and transportation. It would be economically and ecologically expensive to have these systems installed at a house level but feasible at a community level.

At Samskruti Maurya, green waste is collected and processed using anaerobic digester to capture environmentally dangerous methane gas for further use and bio-product is used as organic fertiliser for vegetable garden on your green-roof. Green roofs also help to reduce the roof temperature and mitigate the storm water flow.”

Green resources

The project, scheduled to start in June 2011, promises to implement water conservation measures like rainwater harvesting, networking and storage where up to 90%-100% of water will be conserved and a green power grid will connect the entire community so as to avoid batteries in individual houses.

Almost 100% of the energy that is generated would be from renewable or waste energy such as solar, wind and bio-gas. Each individual Maurya home is designed keeping in mind the climatic conditions after detailed wind, shade and climate analysis and comes with a ‘live roof’ to grow organic vegetables.

Likewise, The Meadow Dance, a Total Environment project which was recently launched in Hyderabad, is based on the concept of earth-sheltered homes, a one-of-its kind concept in India.

Eighty four duplex earth-sheltered homes will be partially set on the ground and the roof of each home will have an earth cover that is landscaped. The ground will be excavated so that the main house is set below ground level, leading to the formation of an atrium/courtyard to provide adequate light and ventilation. Kamal Sagar, CEO, Total Environment Building Systems Pvt Ltd explains, “this concept is common in places like Canada and actually keeps the house cool in summer and warm in winter. Homes are under the earth and natural soundproofing, reduced rainwater run-off make them unique.”  

The 12-minute lifestyle of Neotown Bangalore is a great example of a green home as everything you need is within a 2 – 12 minute walk from your home. August Park located at C V Raman has made conscious environmental efforts to soothe the resident’s “body & soul” encompass crafted landscape gardens. Also available are rainwater harvesting facility, water treatment plant and sewage recycling facility. The project enjoys a pre-certification from IGBC in the gold category.


Indrajit S Kembhavi, Principal Design Associate, Kembhavi Architecture Foundation says, “a green home is one that offers optimum life support system to its occupants, harnessing nature’s resources to the maximum in terms of material, light, ventilation, energy and water without violating and disturbing the eco-sensitive balance of the context it is situated in.”  A green home incorporates several aspects that make it environment friendly. For instance it should make use of natural light (using clerestories, light shelves, windows, skylights) and use materials that are non-toxic, renewable and recyclable. Again it is important that the location must not be on a site that is environmentally sensitive.

Landscaping must use drought tolerant low water consumption plants, vines and big canopy trees.

An eco-friendly home should generate as much of its own renewable energy as possible using technologies like photovoltaic solar electrical systems. Insulation through use of non-toxic natural materials such as cotton or soybean will reduce the leakage of cool air in summer and vice versa during winter.

“Passive solar building design is often implemented in low-energy homes which feature designer-oriented windows, walls and place awnings, porches and trees to shade windows and roofs during the summer while maximising solar gain in the winter.
Practices like Sun Path orientation ensures diffused natural light and cross ventilation throughout the house thereby reducing the electricity cost,” says Brijesh Bhanote, Sr V P Sales & Marketing, The 3C Company.

Biju P John, MD, August Ventures Pvt Ltd says, “extensive use of local building materials helps in controlling air pollution as transportation over long distance is eliminated. Use of garbage chute helps to separate organic waste from other wastes like plastic and electronic waste. The organic waste is converted into manure.”

Vineet Singh, Business Head of 99acres.com adds, “rainwater harvesting that maximises rainwater use is a must for green homes, wherein a 5,000 sq ft roof can collect and save at least 7,50,000 litres of water annually.”

Pramod Kumar, Chief Operating officer, Value Budget Housing Corporation adds, “at our project VBHC Vaibhava, intelligent design and planning will help ensure that our customers do not have to worry about any disruption in their daily lives due to water.”

According to a study, in a normal house, around 70% of the total water is used in toilets. “RPS Savana is setting an example by implementing dual pipe line system for ensuring ‘Zero Discharge of Water’ by recycling the waste water through ETP and STP and then using the recycled water for gardening and in toilets, thus minimising the wastage of water,” says R C Gupta, MD, RPS Group.

Cost-benefit analysis

A green building costs 3-4% more than a conventional building, but yields 10 times as much over the entire life of the building.

Opines Pravin Malkani, President, Patel Realty India Ltd., “the cost factor is a function of how you approach environmental responsibility. We approach it with lesser reliance on electro mechanical devices and more on good design, and good design does not cost more money. Given this approach the benefits to the home user is tremendous, there are reduced water bills, reduced power bills, reduced fuel bills as they don’t need to use the car just to go get some grocery, reduced pollution in the community, increased people to people interaction all resulting in a healthy, vibrant and green community.”

At BCIL’s homes, as a house owner, you spend 40 per cent less on energy bills every month. “In many of our campus creations, you don’t need water supply, power supply or the services of the sewerage board. Our air conditioning is ozone-friendly—no CFC or HCFC.

It is not ‘air-conditioning’ the way the world knows it; it is superior in that it keeps your room warm when cold outside, and vice versa. In all Zed Homes, we don’t use ceramic

“We use only water-conserving taps in our homes which save you up to 35,000 litres every year in every house. All our waste water is treated fully and is used for our flush tanks and gardens, and this saves our Zed home communities as much as 50 per cent in fresh water demand. We use only CFLs and LEDs in all homes and external spaces. We use only sustainably harvested wood for our houses—either plantation or non-forest timber, with no fresh forest depleted for making windows, doors and even furniture and wardrobes.

We are now introducing a Zero Food Miles Program in every Zed enclave which helps residents get farm-fresh greens, gourds, legumes, tubers and corn,” says Chandrashekar Hariharan-Chairman & Co-Founder BCIL ZED Homes.

D Vasudevan, CEO, Chintels India explains, “when we start incorporating the design for a green building in the initial stage of design process, the additional cost for such a green building is 3% to 5%, which can be recovered in three years time due to operational efficiency of the building like savings in energy, less maintenance, etc.
“However, we start deriving the environment benefits right from day one of the operation of the building.”

Product angle

An important trend that has emerged today is that vendors of home products have also turned green. Says Sanjeev Ranjan, Dy GM - Marketing, Somany Ceramics, “our tiles are made of 100% natural minerals which includes quartz, clay, feldspar, silica etc.

“We are utilising the waste heat from gas gensets for spray drying purpose in production, so, we recycle our raw material waste and water waste further into the production.

“We also manufacture anti-bacterial tiles that significantly cut some of the most polluting agents present in the air and also reduce the odor in the air.” Likewise Squarefoot’s IQ Natural vinyl flooring is 100% recyclable and its volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions are 40 times lower than European standards.

Says Gaurav Saraf, Director, Squarefoot explains, “IQ Natural is truly the next generation flooring solution with a new nature of vinyl flooring and has all the benefits of the IQ range which delivers performance to match its environmental credentials.”

In today’s eco-friendly world, Gypsum drywalls are emerging as the latest trend for new age environment friendly homes. Says Hemant Khurana, VP - Sales & Marketing, Saint-Gobain Gyproc, India, “the buildings of the future will be taller, have more stringent fire safety requirements and need more acoustic comfort thus making traditional construction materials obsolete.

These requirements are met by gypsum plasterboard based ‘drywall solutions’ which are lightweight systems, enable faster construction, have superior acoustics performance in terms of both absorption and insulation and above all is a 100% Green recyclable product.”

According to Surjit Lahiri, Vice President – Projects, Mindteck, “environmental friendly homes in US and Europe employ HVACs which run on passive climate systems. These systems utilise outdoor climate as much as possible to reduce the energy consumption of the building.

“The outdoor climate is used, besides the heating and cooling device, for indoor temperature control. It is also used for fresh air supply and lighting. To be able to regulate the contribution of the outdoor climate, the facade of the building is equipped with ventilation windows and shading devices.”

So with all these features, is it harder to sell green homes? Opines Manoj Asrani, Group Marketing & Brand Manager, Soham Group, “no, as buyers today just do not look at elevation, façade and location, but understand the project in its entirety in how the home will make their life comfortable. Developers also understand that to sell today is far more challenging than earlier with increased awareness towards the environment.”

Even if five per cent of the building industry shifted to green construction and design strategies every year, in about 30 years, all the world’s buildings will become sustainable!

(Published 24 March 2011, 15:21 IST)

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