The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has rated ‘Viswa Syamalam’ located in Chennai as India’s first platinum green home. Owned by UV Krishna Mohan Rao and Dr. Uma Devi, the house consumes the lowest energy loads and least carbon footprint.
Construction is one of the fastest growing sectors in India which also has a far reaching impact on the environment due to various reasons such as exploitation of natural resources, consumption of water and energy in construction and operation of buildings, pollution during manufacturing and transportation of building materials etc.
The Green Building Concept is an innovative approach to address these issues by adopting sustainable practices like efficient use of natural resources, reuse and recycling of waste, use of renewable energy and energy efficient fixtures while planning, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining a building throughout its lifecycle.
The Green Building Rating System is an evaluation tool used to assess greenness of the buildings which have undertaken sustainable building practices. In India, the initiative to define and measure ‘Green Buildings’ started in 2003 after formation of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and it has ultimately led to the development of a rating system called ‘LEED India Version 1’. It is a performance oriented system based on the total credits earned through compliance of various parameters like site selection, efficiency in water usage, renewable energy use, efficient use of natural resources etc.
UV Krishna Mohan Rao, Dr. Uma Devi and their daughter Dr. UV Nivedita, believe in being responsible, green citizens. In 2008, they approached P. Ravi Architects Private Limited in Chennai for the construction of their green home. ‘Viswa Syamalam’, their house has complied with all the prerequisites of IGBC’s LEED India rating system for making a Green Home. Following are some of the interesting features of their green home:
• Viswa Syamalam is a water positive home having incorporated features of rain water harvesting, recycling and water conservation methods and practices.
• Care has been taken for effective orientation of windows, walls, porches for good ventilation and light. Plants and creeper shading provide and aid heat and dust ingress and help in good ventilation.
• This eco-friendly home uses natural light to a great extent. From sunrise to sunset not a single electric lamp is required to be used in any part of the house. Be it the kitchen, living room, rest rooms – every nook and corner of the house takes advantage of natural light.
• Nearly 90 per cent of all the materials sourced for Viswa Syamalam have been locally manufactured, thus ensuring minimal use of fossil fuels during construction. This property has also used recycled and reused materials to ensure minimal use of virgin resources. For example, packaging wood has been re-used for making the compound wall gate and furniture.
• Eco-friendly building materials like fly-ash blocks, recycled steel, reclaimed wood, bamboo screens etc. have been used in this house.
• Solar water heater has been provided for bathrooms and the kitchen.
Most people aspire to build a house during their lifetime. ‘Viswa Syamalam’ is an inspiring example of what normal people can do to fulfill their dream while being eco-friendly.