23 February 2020

Table of Contents for Greenitiatives


Green homes


Good Earth is the journey of a group of individuals experimenting with architecture and environment friendly development for the past 28 years. The company is inspired by Laurie Baker’s sensibilities towards people, environment and a hands on approach.


The company’s theories regarding sustainable development are practical, holistic and intuitive which blend traditional concepts with contemporary lifestyles using technology as an aide. During the surge to explore alternate architecture and lifestyle in the late eighties and early nineties all over India, the core group at Good Earth too was part of this exploration. How ever, the real test of alternative idea is the market and it tested whether they could evolve into an ethical business group that delivers good projects. A green or sustainable business should think beyond numbers and take conscious business decisions with an awareness of the impact of decisions on the lives of people, ecology, culture and humanity at large with a sense of responsibility and care.




At Good Earth, a sustainable engineering and building process is an extension of the design. It means a scientific understanding of structural requirements, properties of materials, efficient engineering and construction. Craft is an integral component of design and building. A sustainable building process is possible only with the participation of enthusiastic craftsmen and an engineering team. It also provides flexibility to innovate during the execution. Project management is possible only by a hands-on team, a building culture Good Earth
actively promotes. Every decision made is based on economic, environmental and structural considerations. While materials are mechanized, building still needs manpower. Lack of trained workforce has made the general quality of building in India very poor. They believe that certain processes in construction must be mechanized to improve the quality of work and efforts of labor. Human resources must be given priority over materials. The architecture that evolves out of this culture is what they aspire to build.




Modern technology is applied to age old techniques of making mud-bricks manually using organic stabilizers. The compressed stabilized earth block is made with the help of a machine which uses cement or its equivalent as a stabilizer. Scientifically developed, to be strong and durable, it can be used in load bearing construction, and has proved to be long lasting. The company has found it to be working well when applied to large scale construction, as the quality of production and logistics become viable to monitor.
Parameters Good Earth worked with to develop the Compressed Stabalised Earth Blocks (CSEB) to their context and requirement

Use manufactured sand, as river sand is a depleting material, and is not environment friendly anymore.

  • Create bricks pleasing in color and appearance though the other qualities of the brick remained unchanged, to appeal to a wider audience, as being aesthetic, economical, durable and ecological
  • Ensure costs were comparable to any mainstream material like concrete blocks, of the same strength, to demonstrate that mud blocks were an extremely viable material in the building industry, and could make a major impact on the environment.
  • Some of the issues encountered while building with the mud blocks were that while being able to control the quality of production, it was difficult to protect the edges of the block, while constructing.
  • To achieve a balance between the cost, the availability of skilled masons and aesthetics, they arrived at a combination of plastering some of the block walls and exposing the “colored” ones. The details took care of protecting the walls, with adequate overhangs and the exposed walls needed a coat of transparent silicon to prevent erosion over the years.




Being environment friendly is not only about the management of resources or about introducing techniques which help
Good Earth to reduce the load on the environment. It is about creating awareness about bringing the beauty of the environment’s natural processes, which balances nature and is not always comfortable. It is about conservation by being mindful with consumption and about simple living and higher thinking.




The company believes that sewage is a resource and must not be wasted. It is an effort to treat and recycle it, yet it is definitely the way forward in the conservation of water. A lot of solutions are available to treat sewage and they need to be selected depending on the context. They have been using a DTS system for the treatment of sewage and the criteria for choosing the DTS is that it is an environment friendly and low maintenance waste water treatment option for treating domestic black and grey water. The system is not dependant on electricity for its treatment and installation costs are comparable to a conventional STP. The treated effluent conforms to the approved norms and can be utilized for secondary use like toilet flushing and irrigation of the landscape. The consumption of water through this process can be brought down by about 30% of gutters and pipes. This is directed to a tank through a filter designed to collect an optimal amount of water and it is connected to the main sump.




Energy is the consumption of resources and the emphasis has been on reducing that consumption.  Whether it is to design space for natural light, ventilation and avoid air conditioning or in the selection of materials which are low in their embodied energy, their choices are clear. The company's priority is to design future ready spaces which will allow smart grids and hybrid solutions to be practical and energy efficient.



The approach for passive solar has been different in different places. In Bengaluru the need for light is greater than that of ventilation so larger expanses of glass which bring in light are used. In Kerala with high humidity and heat, the emphasis is on insulating the walls, roof and increasing the air flow. In all cases, the ambient temperature and quality of air achieved within the space will have a marginal improvement from what is prevalent outside at the time. However, one cannot expect air conditioned levels of temperature by this method.



The landscape design focuses on creating “places” in the campus, the character being developed through variations of function, material or feature. Water bodies are planted with species that encourages insects and birds to visit. An emphasis is on native species. Care is taken that invasive species are not planted, and very water intensive species are also avoided as far as possible. Planting timber species is another focus, and Good Earth believes that timber is one of the most sustainable materials needs trees for it to be available as a building material of the future. Balancing the ecology along with the landscape design, a contemporary expression, this is neither forest nor urban park, but attempts a blend which we can learn from.




Over the last decade the company has been focussing on deriving solutions for the urban middle class. Acceptance of these aesthetics and values go a long way in influencing larger trends. Good Earth’s aspirations lie in being able to translate this vision in context where housing is a problem and sustainable planning, building and business techniques are valued.

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