Going Green

January, 2017


Architect Ricky Doshi, Founder and CEO of ARD Studio, talks about eco-friendly homes and how to go about designing them.


Architect Ricky Doshi, describes eco-friendly designs or sustainable designs as the philosophy of designing the built environment, which comply with the socio, economic and ecological well-being of the human race. He has worked with Hafeez Contractor and Associates and completed his Masters from Savannah College of Arts & Design (SCAD) University, United States of America after which he returned to India to work with renowned architect Reza Kabul.

French windows invite natural light in and save energy

He started ARD Studio and provides planning, designing and execution of architecture and interior designing services. We spoke to him about how to incorporate sustainable design and eco-friendly elements into our homes. Excerpts from the interview:

What materials can be used to build an eco-friendly home?
Some materials that are used in practice to build eco-friendly homes are:

  • Bamboo, Bamboo Based Particle Board & Ply Board, Bamboo Matting
  • Bricks (sun dried)
  • Pre-cast cement concrete blocks, lintels, slab. Structural and non-structural modular elements.
  • Calcined phospho-gypsum wall panels
  • Calcium silicate boards and tiles
  • Cellular light-weight concrete blocks
  • Cement paint
  • Clay roofing tiles
  • Water, polyurethane and acrylic based chemical admix­tures for corrosion removal, rust prevention, waterproofing
  • Epoxy resin system, flooring, sealants, adhesives
    and admixtures
  • Ferro-cement boards for door and window shutters
  • Ferro-cement roofing channels
  • Fly-ash sand lime bricks and paver blocks
  • Gypsum board, tiles, plaster, blocks, gypsum plaster fibre, jute/sisal and glass fibre composites
  • Laminated wood plastic components
  • Marble mosaic tiles
  • MDF Boards and Moldings
  • Micro Concrete Roofing Tiles
  • Particle Boards
  • Polymerized water proof compound
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement Fly-ash / Calcinated Clay Based
  • Portland Slag Cement
  • RCC Door Frames
  • Ready Mix Cement Concrete
  • Rubber Wood Finger Joint Board
  • Stone dust
  • Water proof compound, adhesive, polymer, powder

How can we incorporate solar energy and other eco-friendly energy elements into one's home?
Solar energy is probably the most abundant and cleanest form of energy available today. To incorporate solar energy into our homes, the following procedure must be followed:
Solar energy needs a source to get trapped into. This source is available in the form of Photovoltaic (PV) Panels in the market. These PV panels help to capture the solar energy from the environment. Depending on the wattage needed to light a house, the number of PV cells are installed. Photovoltaic converts solar energy into electricity using the photoelectric effect. The PV panels are connected to reusable batteries where electricity is stored. The electric cables are connected to these batteries to supply electricity to our homes. Thus, we need a dedicated space for PV panels and a battery storage. Other forms of energies such as wind energy or a hybrid of solar and wind energy can be used to power our homes. These energies are the cleanest forms of energies with negligible impact on the environment. In the current scenario, where solar energy is not possible in homes, one can use low-energy consumption electrical products like LED lights that are eco-friendly and energy conserving products.

What factors should one keep in mind while planning an eco-friendly home?
While planning an eco-friendly home, one must keep in mind that the wiring of electrical wires cables is done properly, and good quality cables are used. This may seem as an unwanted add-on to the cost initially, but it helps in saving energy in the longer run. Good quality materials always deliver optimum results. While selecting electrical fixtures, one must make sure that they are energy savers. For e.g., one can opt for LED lighting which saves up to 30-40% of electricity as compared to conventional CFL bulbs. Solar water heater can be used instead of a conventional boiler. A.Cs, microwaves, ovens are available with an energy rating, so, one can accordingly make the selection. You need to ensure that the windows are well insulated to deny outside heat/cold inside the house, thereby maintaining a constant internal temperature. If one wants to go solar, then pre-planning of installation of solar products and wiring needs to be done in advance. The use of eco-friendly civil materials for floor, walls, ceilings, furniture also needs to be done in advance.

What are the common myths of eco-friendly design and how to overcome them?
The common myths of eco-friendly designs are:

  • Eco-friendly designs come with a huge price tag
  • Eco-friendly homes are not as strong as conventional homes
  • Eco-friendly designs are just a passing trend
  • Eco-friendly homes use only non-toxic materials that have no impact on the environment

To overcome some of these myths, a person who is designing an eco-friendly home/structure, must educate the client about all the factors ranging from pricing to durability to the use of materials. To design an eco-friendly house, one must be able to balance sustainability with practicality. Since the industry is new to the concept of
eco-friendly materials, it is not always possible to find a substitute for a certain building material. There are
many alternative and cheaper green products available which can reduce the cost of a home substantially, but at the same time, regain its sustainable features. One has to be smart in what is necessary and what is not while designing an eco-home.

What is the design process that you follow while planning for your projects?
We’ve used some eco-friendly and sustainable methods while designing our structures. In one project, we have used an aluminium formwork technology to reduce the requirement of concrete and eliminate plaster in our building to save on the natural resources. The common areas of the same building, such as the lift lobby, entrance lobby, etc. have LED lights, water-based paints, furniture made of eco-friendly wood and MDF, to make the design as sustainable as possible. We’ve also provided huge openings in glass (windows) to allow maximum natural light inside the apartments and common area. Thus the need for artificial lighting is reduced only when it gets dark. Most of the window openings of the façade of the building is on the north side. Thus, the apartments get diffused natural light in their homes, and also cuts down on the direct heat from the sun, thereby reducing the HVAC requirements.
ARD Studio has completed many prestigious projects including interior designing for Godrej Towers, also few properties in Walkeshwar and Peddar road, and sustainable elements are at the heart of all their designs which include mostly residential projects, for more information log onto http://www.ardstudio.in./