In just a few months since the housewarming of their home, Ramanan Varadarajan and his wife Sujatha have been overwhelmed by the compliments they have received. “People from all walks of life such as professionals and delivery boys have seen the house and given us positive feedback,” says Ramanan.The couple's home on ECR is eco-friendly and predominantly an open-brick construction.

“The brickwork renders a natural finish with neither plastering nor painting and enhances the thermal comfort inside the house,” he adds. The foundation of the 5,000 sq. ft home is of random rubble masonry instead of the conventional reinforced concrete mass. By doing this, they avoided using a significant amount of sand and cement. The walls are load-bearing, so once the beams and columns were eliminated it meant lesser concrete on the super structure! They have also used roughly 700 sq. ft of filler slab.

Despite consulting a few architects, the couple couldn't find anyone to work with them and so they went ahead with the plan themselves. While they repurposed teak wood from in and around Karaikudi for the windows and doors, half the interior storage has been built using natural stones. A 2KW roof top solar power plant generates anywhere between 8 units (KWH) and 14 units per day. “We have also made space for a future rooftop windmill. The bio-gas plant in our backyard generates cooking gas from vegetable waste,” he explains. The solar water heater, with a capacity of 250 litres, provides hot water for the entire house.

“Our atrium has a sky-lit roof with a glass ceiling and the parapet on which the glass rests and has fenestration to provide heat escape for creating a central chimney effect. Apart from rendering the interiors cooler, on a clear night the sky is laden with moon and stars,” Varadarajan smiles. The house is lit completely by LED lights too. “We have an organic garden that Sujatha tends to using the bio-gas manure,” he says.