Imagine paying as low as Rs 20 for an electricity bill!

Jegatheesan A, a civil engineer from Annamangalam, Tamil Nadu, has made it happen with his mud brick home, which has no A/C.

His dream home, which he now calls ‘Thaimann Veedu’ (‘mother earth’ in Tamil), was made with repurposed and recycled wood and metals, and cost Rs 20 lakh.

At the Auroville Earth Institute in Puducherry, he learnt how to make Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB) or unfired bricks and Arch Vault Dome (AVD).

“I learnt that mud bricks are unfired and made using the red soil available within a 30-metre radius of the site, unlike normal bricks,” he shares.

Unfired bricks are long-lasting and highly sustainable as they cut the need for burning firewood in kilns, he adds.

The best thing about using unfired mud blocks and mortar is that the walls become breathable and keep the house cooler in summer.

Jegatheesan says they don’t have ACs at home nor need the fan.

His home comprises vaulted, arched, and dome-shaped roofs, while unfired bricks using a mortar made from the same material are laid to minimise the usage of metal and cement-based moulding.

“I also set up a tank of 20,000-litre capacity for rainwater harvesting and cultivated a terrace garden,” he says.

The house is designed in such a way that natural light floods the entire house during the day, hence reducing the cost of electricity bills.

He shares, “We get around Rs 20 or Rs 30 as electricity bill once in two months. With the Tamil Nadu government’s subsidy, the first 100 units are free, and we barely exceed that limit.”

What’s amazing is that the 1,000 sq ft two-storied house was built without cutting even a single tree.

All the window frames, doors, etc, are made from reused wood from an old demolished house and the metal used in the windows, grills and railing bars was collected from scrap dealers.

“I am happy and satisfied that I could fulfil my purpose of building this house — to prove that mud houses are stronger and more sustainable than conventional concrete houses,” he says.