Thiruvananthapuram: With growing concerns over global warming and environmental degradation, conventional houses and interiors are largely becoming ‘greener’ in God’s own country, Kerala.

The thickly plastered walls and westernised interiors are giving way to sustainable, energy-efficient 'green houses' built of natural, cost-effective materials.

According to architects and builders, there has been a rise in the number of people going for eco-friendly methods for the construction of their homes.

"Construction poses a great threat to world’s natural resources which are fast depleting. Five billion litres of water go into construction sector alone in a year. Nearly 40 per cent of woods cut around the world goes into the building industry," said architect G Shankar, a recipient of Padmashree.

Habitat Technology Group, headed by him, has been promoting green architecture for the last two decades in Kerala.

Green homes from natural resources

The green building groups largely depend on natural resources like mud and lime which are available aplenty in the country.

"Ours’ is a tropical climate and we should keep that in mind when we choose our building articles. Plastic-rich interiors in America will not be suitable for the climate of India or Kerala,” Shankar said.

Another prominent 'green builders' in Kerala, Cost Ford has come out with a method in which the use of traditional articles is minimized while maximizing the use of renewable resources in constructions.

"Our green homes are mainly based on mud, bamboo and bricks. We are following our own unique methods in the processes like concreting which generally demand large quantity of cement and sand. It will surely help to reduce the expense to a great extent," P B Sajan, Joint Director Cost Ford, said.

Recycled or recyclable materials like bamboo, earthen blocks, clay grains and coconut fibre also have the advantage of being non-toxic substances. In majority of cases, a considerable portion of the construction waste was also recycled within the structure under construction.

The green home dwellers could enjoy a cool environ because of the high-efficiency windows and insulation on walls, ceilings, and floors. They would also provide good lighting within the house, green architects said.  The cost of construction could be saved by 35 to 40 per cent by omitting the costly articles like cement and steel, he said.