Poetry in construction

green sense Total Environment’s project has many green features.

Take Van Gogh Garden, for instance. The project is located in the heart of the CBD and yet is a very quiet and peaceful place, among huge trees, and opposite the British Council Library.

According to Kamal Sagar, Principal Architect & CEO, Total Environment, their latest project has successfully brought together technology and eco-consciousness. Why the name Van Gogh’s Garden for the project? “We like our project names to evoke something inside you – something that makes you think a little bit – Van Gogh’s Garden is named after a beautiful piece of music by “Wind Machine” - every apartment in the project is designed around a large private garden and this name seemed to work well,” Sagar explains

However, the project is not on invite only basis. They are open to all. Also, the project, he points out, is “an opportunity to own a large custom designed home in this kind of a location –  without the nightmare of having to co-ordinate with an architect and a contractor as well as various govt. authorities and without the hassle of trying to maintain it later. These apartments look like apartments only from the outside – once inside – they have the same feel as a large bungalow – but with several added features such as central vacuum, central air-conditioning, complete home automation etc. and built by our team of craftsmen using only very warm materials such as wood, marble etc which have been carefully sourced directly from Burma, Italy and several other countries and with very high quality doors and large French windows – especially made in a controlled environment in our own workshop – many of these things are not possible at the scale of a single bungalow.

The project is known for its many green elements including a large rain water harvesting tank, special discs used in taps to reduce pressure, saving around 350 litres of water per day per apartment, large overhangs over the large glass panels, reducing heat load considerably and therefore reducing the energy consumption on the air conditioning system, occupancy sensors for the lights in the bathrooms – switch off the lights automatically so there is less energy wasted, very large glass panels bringing in natural light into the interior spaces – all external walls are almost entirely glass. Use of natural materials – these require little or no maintenance, wooden windows and doors as against aluminium or PVC are other aspects of the project. “Aluminium frames cause the highest burden to the environment because of the dangerous pollutants release and high energy consumption during aluminium production.

PVC contributes large amounts of poisonous pollutants throughout its life cycle, while wood window frames have the least environmental impact. Wood frames are also bio-degradable,” he points out.

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“We are seeing a very keen interest in these homes – they are very special and an opportunity to own something like this in such a special location – does not come very often.

“Most homes in these locations are very small, and very often, people end up buying two units to combine them into one larger one.

“Here we have designed these as spacious comfortable homes, something very rare in the central business district locations, I think this is the best time to pick them up, given the current market scenario where developers have not been able to increase the prices despite huge increase in costs – it’s always the CBD locations that rise the fastest once the market turns around,” explains Sagar.

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