Nestled amid the lush green hills of Kottayam in Kerala, this Mangalore-tiled roof bungalow is an absolute marvel.

EcoHouse is a 4-bedroom bungalow that prevents the harsh sun’s rays from heating the structure and intensifies the flow of wind from below the hills.

It is inspired by Travancore’s traditional architecture with free-flowing spaces and grand windows.

The climate-responsive house, which creates its own microclimate in the rooms, was built by Amrutha Kishor, principal and founder of Elemental.

The underground rainwater harvesting system (with a capacity to store 7,500 litres of water) and a composting cylinder are other eco-friendly practices adopted by the owners.

The family wanted a minimalistic house that reminded them of the grandeur palaces of Travancore.

“Our main requirement was good lighting and natural ventilation just like the traditional houses in Kerala that are naturally weather proofed without AC,” says KM Pattassery, Amrutha’s father.

Amrutha has used an earthy material palette by relying on locally sourced construction materials like Mangalore tiles and burnt clay bricks.

“They have immense insulation capacity and absorb high degrees of heat and cold alike. We have not coated the tiles so that moss can naturally thrive on them, thus adding to the aesthetics,” explains Amrutha.

Meanwhile, the bricks are resistant to moisture, insects and erosion, thus making them low maintenance.

“A wind tower is constructed on a physics principle called ‘stack effect’ alongside the staircase. The concept uses temperature differences to move air."

Hot air rises because of its low-pressure characteristics. The tower with four openings captures this hot air and releases outdoors. “This is a lesser-used but simple passive cooling method,” she says.

In spite of the sunlight, the home does not get heated as the roofs extend up to 1.5 metres to each side of the structure. “The protruding roofs give enough shade to the house, thus preventing direct penetration of sunlight,” she says.

Large windows allow the passage of light

In short, all these passive cooling techniques have a direct impact on their electricity consumption and operational costs. The power bills are reduced by almost 20 percent.