Overflowing landfills, extinct animals, reducing green cover and increasing pollution — this is part of the 21st century environmental jargon. In order to make a substantial enough impact and avoid the planet’s impending doom, holistic change at the micro level is necessary. At the end of this solution, not only does the planet need to continue sustaining life, people also need to have fulfilling lives.
The Sacred Groves housing project was envisaged primarily to solve the problem of affordable living in Auroville. Going beyond the tag of affordable, it encompasses ecological living in a holistic way that attends to man’s needs without exorbitant energy consumption. Passive cooling systems with solar chimneys, localised food production in gardens and orchards, and solar and wind energy projects are some of the features it incorporates. The plan is to achieve this by providing low-cost, low-maintenance, off-grid ecological housing.
Adding to the self-sustaining character of the proposed community, the method of construction is also quite unlike a typical construction project. Earthcrete is the primary material used, which mostly consists of demolition rubble, which would otherwise end up in landfills and wetlands. Shuttering is made using petroleum pipes, another waste product but highly durable.
The writer is a final year architecture intern at Auroville
- Re-using building rubble to create earth concrete — a far less cement-intensive building material
- Re-cycling wood from packing crates
- Re-using discarded petrol pump pipes for shuttering
- Re-using Tetra Pak cartons to make innovative furniture
- Re-using, re-cycling and composting as much as possible
- Judiciously using scarce resources like energy and water