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The Designing Of "The Natural House": A Student's Experience

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1115.1 - 8.1115.7

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Paper Authors

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Radhika Kotha

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3551


3rd Yr., Mechanical Engineering Student Muffakham Jah College of Engineering & Technology Hyderabad, India


“The Natural House”, the inspiration of one of our professors and a project of Centre for Environment Studies and Socioresponsive Engineering in our Mechanical Engineering Department, is being designed to “behave” like an “organism” in relation to the surrounding natural environment. Within practical limits it will respond “intelligently” to environmental changes, using the feedback principle of homeostasis. Static geothermal cooling is employed in summer to keep the interior in thermal equilibrium with an underground water tank, using cooling panels attached to the inner walls. Evaporative cooling panels provide additional controlled cooling. The walls, arranged in the form of a polygon, are made up of panels of different materials to meet the overall design objectives of environmental adaptation. The roof is curved and serves as a base for a solar collector and heat shield, designed to capture all the incident solar radiation for use, if needed, and prevent direct solar radiation from heating the roof in summer. In winter some of the hot water from the collector is supplied to the wall panels for warming the house.

I am a member of the undergraduate student team working on this project. Its tremendous educational value may be summarized in the words of A.S. Neil, the founder of Summerhill, an alternative school set up in England in the 1940’s: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand”. Having studied thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, structural mechanics etc. in my courses, this is a wonderful opportunity to put the knowledge immediately into practice and thereby increase it many-fold. By actually doing “real-life” engineering I am finally able to understand what I have learnt in my courses.

My paper describes this exciting and completely novel experience of “learning by doing”.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Kotha, R. (2003, June), The Designing Of "The Natural House": A Student's Experience Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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