How We Constructed A Low-Value Sustainable Dwelling With out Reducing a Single Tree


“Preserving the previous to counterpoint the longer term and reside the current is our philosophy,” says Laya Joshua, a social employee and naturopathy knowledgeable from Ranni in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. 

And it’s the identical philosophy that displays within the Joshua household’s house, constructed nearly 10 years in the past.

They are saying they needed a home that’s near nature and nearer to their hearts. In the present day, the two,700 square-foot home, situated amid lush inexperienced environment, appears to be like precisely like they needed it to — in Laya’s phrases, “easy and rooted in nature”.

Laya says that as an environmental employee and naturopathy practitioner for over 30 years, she was very specific about making the home as eco-friendly as potential. “We needed to construct a home with out reducing or harming any timber,” she tells The Higher India.

A front view of Laya Joshua's eco-friendly house in Ranni.
A entrance view of Laya Joshua’s eco-friendly home in Ranni.

What makes the two-storey sustainable home much more distinctive is the supplies utilized in its building. The home is generally manufactured from boulders, forest stones and roof tiles. The wooden used is generally previous or repurposed wooden from demolished homes. All these supplies have been procured inside a 15 km radius of the location, she says. 

Looking out for the suitable architect

Although Laya and her husband Joshua Philip have been particular about constructing a sustainable house, she says that one of many challenges was to seek out an architect who would perceive their calls for.

“We have been fortunate to have met Mr Joseph Mathew, the architect of our home. He was very useful and supportive whereas making our dream a actuality,” says Laya.

Laya Joshua and Joshua Philip's family
Laya Joshua and Joshua Philip’s household

Joseph Mathew, an artist-turned-designer, says, “Laya and Joshua gave me the liberty to make use of my creativeness and concepts to inculcate eco-friendly components as a lot as potential. It was one among my early tasks and our pursuits matched nicely.” Joseph has been constructing sustainable and cost-effective buildings for the previous 14 years.

Partitions constructed of boulders, forest stones and roof tiles

The home was constructed fully inside eight, from the start of its building in 2013.

Although stone masonry isn’t unusual, this home stands out for the truth that a lot of the stones used within the building are large boulders, forest stones and rocks that have been largely discovered within the land surrounding the location.

“Our Ranni area is understood for the presence of massive stones and boulders and it’s just about a part of the geography right here. Apart from, I’ve a behavior of not throwing out any issues straight away. So, I preserved these stones of various sizes from our compound and farmland, hoping they might come in useful in some unspecified time in the future,” Layla says.

Utilization of boulders and forest stones on the wall in addition to beneath pillars

Simply as she had hoped, the stones turned out to be helpful when Joseph used them to construct the home partitions. Even the wood pillars within the hall have been raised over large boulders. “Round 20% of the home has been constructed utilizing these stones,” says Joseph.

They’ve additionally used roof tiles to construct the partitions of the home. In truth, the highest flooring has been largely constructed utilizing stacked roof tiles glued collectively utilizing cement.

“I exploit this methodology in most of my eco-friendly constructions. I supply the previous roof tiles from demolished homes and from locations the place they now not serve any function. The roof tiles are stronger and extra sustainable than common burnt pink bricks. Partitions manufactured from roof tiles are thicker, present insulation, and, on the similar time, hold the home cooler,” he explains, including that round 50% of the home was constructed utilizing roof tiles.

A wall made of roof tiles in the courtyard.
A wall manufactured from roof tiles within the courtyard.

“The remaining was constructed utilizing cement bricks as the development demanded it,” he provides.

Joseph says although there was cement concerned within the building, they have been capable of cut back the utilization to round 30 per cent. “We have now additionally used the filler slab approach on the ceiling of the primary flooring, the place we used roof tiles in between the concrete, thereby lowering the concrete quantity and offering higher thermal insulation,” he explains.

The home isn’t plastered on the skin and has uncovered stone partitions and roof-tile partitions. “Solely the interiors have been plastered. Additionally, we’ve simply polished the outside of the roof-tile partitions,” he factors out.

Reusing and repurposing wooden

One other spotlight of the home is the sustainable utilization of wooden, which was all sourced both from their ancestral home or from previous demolished homes.

“We haven’t purchased any new furnishings, we reused and repurposed previous and damaged furnishings from our ancestral house. We actually have a teapoy in our corridor which was repurposed from a cradle from my husband’s childhood,” says Laya.

A view of the living space and the teapoy made from cradle.
A view of the residing area and the teapoy produced from an previous cradle.

The wood pillars bordering the grand hall, which Laya says is her favorite spot in the entire home, have been additionally procured from an previous home.

“At any time when we’d go to an previous home or a palace, we’d take inspiration from there. There’s a small vertical window known as kili-vaathil dealing with the hall, from the place folks inside the home can view the entrance yard. It was impressed from conventional Kerala homes. Once we conveyed it to Joseph, he included that after procuring it from an previous demolished home,” she elaborates.

A view of the kili vaathil from the corridor.
A view of the kili vaathil from the hall.

The home includes a hall, a front room, an open kitchen, a eating area, a courtyard and two bedrooms with hooked up loos on the bottom flooring. The second flooring has two bedrooms with a standard toilet.

“We don’t actually need air-con right here, largely due to the inexperienced cover surrounding our home and the utilization of pure supplies like stones and roof tiles,” says Laya.

A view of the kitchen and bedroom.
A view of the kitchen and bed room.

The flooring has been achieved utilizing conventional terracotta tiles in most elements of the home apart from the hall, which was achieved utilizing oxide. This was later changed with tiles.

“We needed to spend round Rs 20 lakh together with the interiors which is relatively low-budget,” she says. 

“The general value of constructing a home of this dimension utilizing standard strategies would have been no less than 25 per cent extra over 10 years in the past,” says Joseph.

For extra data, you possibly can contact Joseph Mathew at +916282387075.

Edited by Divya Sethu


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