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Thursday, December 8, 2022

MBA grad Sathwik S, his engineer friend built over 1100 cooler, greener mud block homes through Suraksha Mudblock

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Suraksha Mudblock was founded by two friends, Sathwik S and Pradeep Khanderi. The business promotes the building of eco- friendly mud homes.

One of the disadvantages of increased urbanisation is that we frequently overlook the ancient wisdom that has moulded sustainable living in India for generations. This is seen in worrying statistics: from 57% in 1971 to 28.2% in 2011, the number of earthen buildings has quickly fallen.

There is a shifting preference for cement in the construction of dwellings today. This is damaging to the environment and one of the key causes of climate change.

However, two friends from Karnataka are attempting to reverse the trend and reintroduce traditional mud houses.

Suraksha Mudblock was founded in 2016 by Sathwik S, a management expert, and his friend Pradeep Khanderi, an automobile engineer. The organisation builds houses with interlocking mud block bricks and supports environmentally friendly building practises.

“After finishing my MBA, I started working with a poultry factory in Kozhikode, Kerala,” Sathwik explains. During one of his trips in the Payyanur area, Sathwik came discovered a mud house made of interlocking bricks. Sathwik was pleased to find that the construction method was both eco-friendly and cost-efficient.

He was intrigued by the construction approach and its benefits and wanted to learn more about the newly discovered technology.

He says, “I visited a nearby plant to have a better understanding of the manufacturing process. I discovered that it was not a new technology, but one of the oldest and most sustainable kinds of construction,”, adding that the technique was also used in African countries.

“Global temperatures are rising, and the use of cement is harming the environment,” adds Sathwik. Many people want to live independently and are looking for environmentally safe building materials and solutions.

In 2015-2016, few people in the region were aware of such green building approaches.

However, they were looking for eco-friendly solutions that would keep their house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.”

He then decided to enlist the help of his long-term friend Pradeep in order to start a business. They established a facility to manufacture high-quality mud blocks for construction.

“The mud is cleaned and sieved to get the appropriate grade of fineness,” Sathwik says of the elements of interlocking mud block building.

The needed amount of soil is then supplied to the batch mixer, where the cement is blended along with a little amount of plasticiser, a synthetic resin that allows the mixture to be flexible.

The mud is then stabilised before being put into and squeezed in the mould.”

The bricks are composed of mud and have a one-of-a-kind design. They have a unique shape and structure, with projections and recessed features that allow them to interlock and strengthen the wall.

Furthermore, they are heavier and have 2.5 times the volume of traditional baked bricks. The approach uses 8% cement for bonding, which saves thousands of litres of water as well as a large amount of sand and mortar. It does not require baking at any point during the process.

Depending on the construction requirements, the size of the bricks may vary. They are also stronger than traditional ones and do not absorb solar heat. They make certain that the home is at least ten degrees cooler. The material is breathable, allowing for air flow between the outdoors and the ambient environment while also acting as an insulator during the winter months.

“And constructions created of these bricks are naturally visually beautiful and do not require plastering or painting, saving money,” Sathwik argues.

According to the entrepreneur, using the procedure can save up to 20% on construction costs.

Aside from being inexpensive, the bricks are dependable, long-lasting, customizable, and require little upkeep. He says, “They also allow for speedier home construction since the time required to lay the concrete and reinforce the structure in traditional builds is decreased.”

According to Sathwik, employing mud bricks is analogous to borrowing and returning dirt from nature. It reduces the production of building debris, which is a major pollutant and a source of concern for municipal governments, he explains.

Suraksha Mudblock has built over 1,100 dwellings with these bricks since its start, he claims.

According to Praveen Mail, an architect from Maharashtra, the interlocking mud block bricks technology is sustainable and can be used for a variety of soil types. He says, “You can carry it out with soil recovered from land excavation that is locally available.

It reduces the cost of transportation and sand.”

Praveen warns that the technique has limits. “This method cannot be used to build a high-rise skyscraper.” In excessive rain and heat, our trials revealed wilting and damage. “Extended rooftops are advised to alleviate the issue, and changes based on geographical and climate variables should be considered,” he says.

He explains, “The other constraint is that because these bricks include cement, they can only be recycled for construction purposes. Additional study and development are needed to make these bricks completely ecologically friendly. It would be excellent if the bricks could be stabilised with a different material. However, for the time being, this process has proven to be more sustainable than utilising baked bricks, which render soil infertile.”

Praveen believes that for the time being, more people should avoid using cement in favour of more environmentally friendly options.

He claims, “The Earth’s natural resources are limited, and global temperatures are rising year after year. It is our collective obligation as humans to strive toward a sustainable future and save our planet.”

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