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Eco-friendly stuff

How do I stress the importance of Eco-friendliness (our third E) in the design of your home? The best way would be to cite an example.

            A lifetime spent in the field of design has convinced me that the most successful interiors are those that do not attempt to be dramatic. Interiors designed with longevity in mind are always better appreciated.

            I was fortunate to get a client with similar ideas. The client wanted a design that would be both eco-friendly and effective. The best part is, the client gave me full freedom to select everything from concept to execution. His only insistence was that everything be as per Vaastushastra tenets.

            The site was an incomplete bungalow at Versova and we started with the project from scratch and the aim was to make it as Eco-friendly as possible.

            The unfinished structure was completed with stone brackets to support the chajjas. The roof was made sloping with Mangalore tiles on top to keep it cool. The compound wall was made of old unused rough granite slabs. The front side of the compound wall was finished with leftover chips of marble and stone.

            Dholpur stone lamps were fixed on the wall and the gateposts were also of stone. The pathway and the driveway had crazy paving of a cheaper variety of stone and marble.

            Dholpur stone sitting systems are the focal point of the raised rear garden. The pathfinder lights are all solar powered. The rear kitchen garden is supplied with vermin-cultured fertilizer produced in a huge earthen pot. 



Today, the cost of having a hot water bath comes to approximately Rs.7 to 10

per person. How ? one unit of electricity costs Rs.2.50. a geyser consumes 3 to 5 units for 15 minutes use. A family of four would consume electricity worth Rs.12,000 to Rs. 15,000 per year on hot baths alone.

Also, each geyser costs Rs.4,000 to Rs.8,000. This house had five bathrooms, making the total cost of geyser Rs.20,000 to Rs.40,000. The way out was solar power for the whole house. The cost of the solar heater and its installation came to Rs.35,000. But it saves Rs.12,000 to Rs.18,000 per year on electricity!  


Let’s move inside the house. The main aim was to be eco-friendly, right? Instead of using fresh wood for doors, windows and furniture, we bought old wood from the scrap market. The boards used for the storage units were made not of ply but from cement wood particle board.

Loose furniture –sofa, dining table, chairs and bed – were bought from dealers of old furniture. This helped us to save natural resources and were also lighter on the pocket.

Yes, the furniture was from different periods. But furniture, like people, is judged by the company it keeps. Furniture of one period can keep company with furniture of other periods provided both were good periods!


Next week, the last E – Effective.

- Bharat Gandhi
( The writer is an architect, designer and 
Vaastu expert. He can be contacted on 32898990)