With a view to create buildings that minimized resource consumption & waste generation, in addition to the advantage of reduced ecological impact, GEV began exploring the concept of mud construction. Modern buildings are made from highly processed materials, such as cement, which not only are detrimental to the ecology but also tend to isolate us from nature. Traditional earthen homes are built with locally available materials and reconnect us to the earth, by creating a healing and calming effect. At GEV we employed mud based technologies like Compressed Stabilized Earth Block (CSEB), Cob and Rammed earth built structures that have less than 1% embodied energy compared to conventional buildings.
GEV followed the green standards as per the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms and complied to the following criterion:
- Research in sustainable chemical free farming practices
- Promoting various organic farming practices like Crop rotation, Composting, Use of Organic fertilizers & pesticides, Multi cropping, Mulching etc.
- Vedic rainfall prediction and Lunar plantation techniques
- Reviving effective but forgotten traditional pest control techniques.
- Compiled a comprehensive Organic pest management book for local farmers
- Protecting rare indigenous varieties of rice
- Creating a seed bank for heirloom seed varieties of vegetables
- Participation in various seed sharing programs
- Listed among top 100 agriculture innovators in India for extensive use of permanent raised vegetable beds
- Chemical free Organic Jaggery manufacturing
- Rope line method for sapling plantation
- Research in Agrofrorestry
Some key features of the Construction Process are:
- Zoning – A thorough planning prior to construction
- Protecting existing ecology – Fences around the important ecology
- Smart Sourcing – To reduce the overall carbon foot print
- Zoned Construction – Not allowed to spread all throughout the campus
- Mud is the essence – Simple, Natural Mud was the key constituent of the construction material. Foundation was of stone masonry with stabilized mud mortar & concrete short poles (as bond stone).
- Earthquake resistance – Conforming to the BIS norms (earthquake proofing methods to protect).
- CSEB Bricks – Lesser amount of energy is consumed in preparation against modern day fired bricks
- Assembled Arches – Saves cost on RCC, Saves cost on plastering ceiling with cement, Saves waste & more strength and stability.
- Natural Insulation – A sloped roof with double layer of Mangalore tiles with an air gap between the two. It ensures that the temperature inside the room is moderate as compared to outside.