Sustainable Building Networks

Rural Knowledge Housing Network in India
Rural Knowledge Housing Network in India

Do you have a sustainable building network in your area? If you do, it will make the process of building with alternative materials much easier. These networks pull together all sorts of key information to guide people through the building process. Here’s an example of a sustainable building network I stumbled across in India called the Rural Housing Knowledge Network (RHKN)

“RHKN is a community for sharing, learning and disseminating information and experiences pertaining to rural housing. RHKN portal is a community platform for various stakeholders in rural housing – rural families, masons, small scale building entrepreneurs panchayats, block and district administration, state and central government officials, voluntary organizations, architects, civil engineers, and financial institutions. RHKN portal is a knowledge bank comprising technology solutions, experiences, publications, technology demonstrations and other information of use to aspiring home owners as well as practitioners of rural housing.

The main aim of the initiative is to provide knowledge resources to rural home owners to build safe, sustainable and cost effective houses using conventional and alternative technologies. One of the key outputs of the initiative is a web based knowledge portal that consolidates knowledge on house construction and allied human resources and makes it available to the rural households in an easily comprehensible and usable format.”

The RHKN website has lots of resources, including a well stocked library, case studies, an online cost calculator, publications, featured technologies, contact information for green building professionals, a list of partners in the network and much more. Here’s a list of partners in Karnataka, just one state in India. Is there any doubt that sustainable building isn’t growing like crazy?

Center for Sustainable Technologies (ASTRA)
Main activities include biogas, fuel-efficient stoves, water purification, renewable energy, alternative building materials and low-cost building technologies.

They provide complete bamboo housing packages, bamboo housing components, consultation and design.

Centre for Green Building Material and Technology
Resource center for green technologies such as bamboo and other cost effective materials.

Biome Environmental Solutions
Biome offers architecture and design services, promotes roofwater harvesting, etc.

Centre for Ash Utilization Technologies and Environment Conservation (CASHUTEC)>
Manufacturer of fly ash building products such as door and window frames, jalis, blocks, etc. and mason training.

National Institute of Engineering, Mysore
Testing and consulting, as well as offering a broad range of engineering degree programs.

8 thoughts on “Sustainable Building Networks”

  1. Precision Structural Engineering is looking to develop a website that will act as a hub for sustainable housing and off grid technology. We are licensed across the US and can engineer any green building. As more and more people come to recognize sustainable building and its advantages we will gain more and more momentum and people will see some economical relief in the cost of housing and utilities. Darron at

  2. I checked here in my state and as expected……TOO MUCH GOVERNEMNT INTRUSION. This is a perfect example of why I’m going completely off the grid. You can’t fart unless you get a permit and then have TO HAVE a team of different professions to come in and TELL you how to do it after you pay each one. It just makes me sick all the while I get madder. TOO MUCH STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INTRUSION PERIOD!

  3. Lots of interesting information there.

    “Is there any doubt that sustainable building isn’t growing like crazy?”

    I guess that depends upon one’s perspective.

    There is a preponderance of Concrete in most of the Rural Housing Knowledge Network designs. If that is what they are promoting the most, can that be considered sustainable?

    On the other hand, they have a few sustainable design ideas.

    This is the same organization that put out the videos for:

    Tile faced mud brick,


    Vaulted Roof Technique

    I’m convinced that the total population worldwide is “growing like crazy” and all these new people need places to live, so housing demand must “grow like crazy” to meet that demand. That tends to cause every type of housing to increase production.

    Is sustainable housing growing faster that non-sustainable forms of housing?

    I don’t have that answer, but I do believe that is the important question.

    I am convinced, however, that information about sustainable systems is far more available than it has ever been before, and that is a great development. As long as information about sustainable systems continues to “grow like crazy” eventually sustainable housing starts will follow. Good ideas eventually tend to win out over bad ones.

    How long will the transformation take? How long will so many people continue to throw away their money on crappy housing made from crappy overpriced manufactured materials?

    In any case, shouldn’t the real goal be to have sustainable building “Grow like SANITY?”

    I mean… I tend to think that the commercialized rip-off building system is the system that’s insane.

    • I didn’t see much concrete. They use a lot of brick and CEBs. The Biome group has built nearly 600 CEB structures.

      Anyway, the main point is how much information is available nowadays. It feels to me like natural building is shifting gears and going to the next level.

  4. There are other related university, regional and national affordable housing organizations and programs available in India. Do the research for your area. Note how names for things vary considerably: rural housing, poverty housing, affordable housing, sustainable housing, etc. Keep searching. It took me quite a while to find the above network.


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