This is Kerala's first Gold Certified house

by Wednesday , November 18 2015 18:31

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When Jayakrishnan decided to clean up a pond which covered 6 cents of his property, many advised him against it. They were of the opinion that it was wiser to cover up the pond and utilise the land for something else. But Jayakrishnan & wife Ambika, who were settled in Delhi knew exactly how valuable a source of water was. And it was just because of this reason that they opted for a plot which had a pond. The family's love for nature finally reaped glory. Their home 'Vismayam' at Cheruthuruthy in Thrissur was awarded Kerala's first IGBC's (Indian Green Building Council) Gold Rating.

The story behind Vismayam

Vismayam is a 2396 sq. ft. house constructed of bricks. The regional unavailability of laterite stones led them to opt for bricks to build the house. The plan of the house was drawn up based on Jayakrishnan & Ambika's ideas by Delhi based Architect Minu Rakesh.

As the house called for eco-friendly construction practices, Costford, which specialises in low cost housing took over all aspects of the construction. Even though the family was away, Engineer Nandakumar of Costford ensured that everything went smoothly and according to plan. All the documentation required to obtain Green Certification was done with his help.

The walls were built in the rat-trap method and the roofing done in a filler slab model. Both these factors played an important role to make the interiors of the house cool and pleasant. There is ample light in the house and the need to use power during the daylight is not there. Cross ventilation has been given to the rooms to ensure proper flow of air and light.

Instead of using terracotta floor tiles which they would have loved, tiles of a wood finish has been used. As the family doesn't live here, maintenance of terracotta tiles could have been a hassle and hence they opted for tiles.

Light given due importance in design

There isn't anything pompous or decorative about the interior decor. There is just basic furniture as the family only spends vacations here. Second grade wood has been used for the doors and windows. The AC & Closet used are Green Certified. Though expensive, the water and power usage is comparatively less. The total number of points that Vismayam got was 52.

The couple believes that we all should take care not to unnecessarily waste water or power. “When we began our efforts to clean up the pond, the emptying led to the nearby wells losing water too. But the water source here was so rich that pretty soon the pond and the wells filled up. We are so glad that we were not way led by people to cover a water source like this. Now we have friends and relatives coming in large teams to take bath in the pond! “

In the near future, the family hopes to upgrade the Gold Certification of Vismayam by including bio-gas & solar energy. The family assures that anybody who wants to build a green home, that causes minimal impact on the environment around it, can get a Green Certification. It's not just homes, even corporate firms and apartments can apply for the Green Certificate.

Sustainable Architecture & Design, Site selection and planning, Water conservation, Energy efficiency, Building materials and resources, Indoor Environmental quality, Innovation and development are the various categories that the IGBC rating system includes. For each project, these categories are separately scrutinized to award the certification. The points obtained in each section is considered and added up to finally decide on the type of certification.

The first step is to get in touch with the IGBC is registration. Once that is complete, they will intimate you on the list of documents and other proofs required. The registration can be done when you start the work on your house. In this way it will be easier to secure all the necessary documents, and to plan the construction as per the council's requirements.

All of the guidelines should be followed accurately in order to score in the points system. The paper works should be up to date and maintained right from the start to the finish. The drawings, excel sheets of calculations, contract agreements, invoices of materials purchased, and the various inspection/test reports of building works etc should all be submitted.

Not just for newly built homes, even old homes that are renovated based on the IGBC guidelines can apply for Green Certifications.

Points System

For points from 38 to 44 there is a basic certification, from 45 to 51 it is a silver rating, from 52 to 59 it is a gold rating, from 60 to 75 the certification is platinum. Points can even be upgraded to a higher one with modifications in the future. A certificate and a shield that can be placed in the house will be received by the awardee.

Rating Guidelines

The maximum utilization of Eco-friendly building materials, less consumption and wastage of water and power resources, natural lighting in the interiors of the house, the unobstructed air flow in the rooms, the health, well-being & security of the residents etc. are some of the factors that are considered to award a green certificate. The rating systems are based on the five elements of the nature (Panchabhutas) and are a perfect blend of ancient architectural practices and modern technological innovations. The ratings systems are applicable to all five climatic zones of the country.

Certification Fees

In order to apply for a Green Certification, you need register by paying the fees to IGBC. Once the registration is done for multi-dwelling units like villas, apartments, townships, they will require a Pre Certification or Provisional Certification. Whereas individual home owners can apply directly for the certification. There is a difference in the application fee structure for houses and multi-dwelling units.

For homes with an area that is lesser than 700 square meter., the certification fees is Rs.10,000, for 701 to 1400 square meter homes the fees is Rs.15,000. If the area is above 1401 square meter the registration fee comes up to Rs.20, 000.

For homes that are below 120 square meter the certification fees will be Rs. 15, 000, when between 121 – 350 square meter, fees can come up to Rs. 25, 000, from 351 -700 square meter, the rate starts at Rs. 85 per square meter, for an area between 701 – 1400 square meter, the rate is at Rs.100 per square meter. Houses with an area above 1401 square meter will have to pay a certification fees of Rs. 1.80 Lakhs. The parking area is never considered as built-up area.

IGBC has around 19 chapters across India. In Kerala, the Kochi chapter is led by Architect B. R. Ajith as Chairman.According to Jayakrishnan & Ambika, “Ever since we had the first thoughts about a house of our own, we were sure we wanted a green home. If we are not too careful about our water and power usage, we will have to pay a heavy price in the future.”

Green Consultants in KeralaB. R. Ajith, Ajith Associates, Kochi ajithassociates@gmail.com

Sreeganesh V. Nair / Deepa Ganesh, Ganesh Technical Consultancy Services, Kochigreen@gtcs.in

Sreelakshmi Menon, Srishti Architects & Green Building Consultants, Thrippunithara, srishti.architect@gmail.com

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