After witnessing the way pollution impacted his son, Manish Advani, a marketing professional, decided to collaborate with Jayneel Trivedi, an architect, giving birth to a low cost house made of tender coconut shells. The fact that coconut shells are hard to compost gave Manish an idea to reuse them.
Together, they drafted the concept of low-cost eco-friendly housing using coconut shells, the prototype for which was accomplished with the help of 20 students from Somaiya College in Mumbai. The process saw the students collect coconut shells and dry them for 18 days, post which they began assimilating the things together. Scrap metals and wood were used to build the frames while the coconut shells were cut into half to be stacked as walls and reinforced with mud, coconut and bamboo mesh. The facade of the house can be used as vertical gardens, where food can be grown for the family. Jayneel said, “We used the simple principle of air cavities in building the Coconut Houses. The natural cavity of the coconut shells when used on walls and roofs help in keeping the house naturally cool. The temperature drops by about 4-5 degrees and this eliminates the need for air coolers and air conditioners that consume a lot of water and energy.” The cost for the prototype rounded out to Rs 10,000. With this, the Coconut House initiative won a bronze in the International Green Apple Awards during a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, this June.