By KARL G. OMBION
Green activist Rusty Binas remains true to his commitment to restore ecological balance in the City of Smiles.
Binas , a global advisor of Holland-based development agency CORDAID in its program of Community-managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR), is building a a house in Marapara Heights that combines the basic elements of green architecture and stone-age architectural concepts.
His own concept of a green house is not really new, but it does offer a lot of unique systems. For one, it reduces construction costs by introducing the use of volcanic rocks, clay, mud and pebbles. For another, it utilizes its rooftop for rain water catchment and for potable water storage.
Natural aesthetics is another unique feature of the house design as it makes use of stones and rocks for the columns, foundations and ceilings, making it appear like a stone house in the neolithic period dating some 4000 BC.
Each main column has a built-in drip water system, which complements the gravitational water pressure from the rooftop water catchment. This is what keeps the column wet, allowing moss to develop on it and, in the process, harden and strengthen it over time.
Green house architecture being built in Bacolod.(Photo by Karl G. Ombion / bulatlat.com)
To maximize a natural cooling system, Binas employed the concept of a house design that has less walls and covers for its rooms, kitchen, living room. This allows fresh air to flow freely through all all parts of the house even as it maximizes daylight. The house also comes with an automatic closure system during wind and rain surges. Even the comfort room is without roofing to allow maximum light and fresh air, but it does have an automatic canopy system that can be used during rainy periods. With it, the house needs no air-condition units and fans; neither does it use lights during daytime.
Another feature of this unique green house is the utilization of green energy through solar power for its lightings, water system, few AC facilities, and for power charging needs. So even with long brown-outs in the neighborhood, residents of the Binas house need not worry about light or temperature settings because the house will provide for itself with the help of nature.
Binas believes that like any other green architecture, his green house model will ensure the well-being of his family and other occupants.
When asked about the costs of building the house, Binas refused to answer. He said, however, that he had done away with many expensive materials and unnecessary conventional designs.
“One doesn’t need to have the technical knowledge of engineers and architects to guess the building cost of the house,” he said.
Binas travels the world regularly especially in Asia, India and Africa and helps governments and non-government organizations develop sustainable and resilient communities. He said that being in the environmental advocacy and disaster risk reduction program, “one must simply walk his talk, ”: he has to be true to what he preaches, hence his creation of his green house.
Binas is also one of the founding members of the green activist movement Green Alert Negros. He mentors dozens of government and non-government leaders involved in green projects.
“What I am doing is simply promoting a healthy lifestyle, convincing people to live in harmony with nature and to protect and manage natural resources. All of us can help at-risk communities and assist them in overcoming their problems and become resilient,” Binas concluded.