ow much does building an average modern house with all standard accessories cost these days? Roughly Rs. 35 lakh. And even after spending this fortune, how much does the construction contribute towards keeping the environment clean, without any carbon footprints? Probably nothing at all.

Tata Power has found a solution to this housing issue by designing the pilot model of a carbon-neutral self-powered eco-hut with a comparatively modest price tag of Rs. 10 lakh. The design is an attempt to minimise the impact on the environment through integrated use of modern technologies. The model hut has been constructed at Walwhan Garden in Maharashtra’s Lonavala.

The houses are built with eco-friendly materials, with minimum usage of cement and water. Power is supplied through solar photo-voltaic panels and windmills. It takes just about 20 days to complete the construction.

The electricity-consuming devices/methods installed in this house are any householder’s dream devices since they consume much less power than conventional gadgets. Some of these features are LEDs, light pips, energy-free mechanical swing-based motor and washing machine, drip/sprinkle irrigation for plants, toilet flush with lowest discharge and underground energy-free natural earthen refrigerator among others.

The household would also not need LPG connection due to built-in solar water heater and cooker. Windows are positioned as such that there is optimum sunlight and cross ventilation, leading to cooler rooms even in the height of summer months.

Since the house has provisions to use rainwater for daily usage, the household would not need outside supply. Moreover, the eco hut’s water usage will be only 100 litres per day, that too recyclable, compared to 400 litres per day for a conventional modern house measuring 600 sq ft.

There is also provision for recycling domestic solid waste, including vermicomposting, metals and plastics.

According to Green Buildings India, design is the primary foundation for eco-friendly structures — keeping in mind the sun movement and the wind flow. While local knowledge varies due to obvious geographical differences, design needs to be relevant to the people, purpose and location.

A model carbon-neutral house which is self-powered, uses rainwater and comes with

a pocket-friendly price tag