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An entrepreneur committed to the environment

Earth Block Goa, founded by Ajay Gramopadhye is the first company to foray into manufacture of eco-friendly construction bricks, discovers Shoma Patnaik

Ponda based businessman, Ajay Gramopadhye is foraying deeper into eco-friendly products. An   entrepreneur committed to the green cause, he recently started his second unit at Navelim, Sankhali.

The unit Earth Block Goa inaugurated in April 28 2018. It makes construction bricks made of earth and is currently processing its first order from a client in Dodamarg. The company looks  set to cater to local builders as well as to the construction industry in Hubli, Belgaum and nearby areas. With the latest trend towards environment friendly building material, it looks well placed in terms of market and is getting orders from architects and home designers.

Explaining his product, Gramopadhye, says that, earthen bricks looks like conventional bricks in appearance. But unlike regular bricks that are made of clay, earth bricks are made of compressed mud. They do not need firing in a klin and therefore consume less energy. “While clay bricks consume 651 Kcal of energy the bricks manufactured by us consume only 51 Kcal of energy. It is less energy consuming, non-polluting and definitely less damaging to the environment,” he says.

Gramopadhye adds that, the technology is from Auroville Earth Institute, Poducherry, an organization specializing in R&D of earth-based building technologies. “As an environment conscious entrepreneur, I first thought of setting up the unit in 2011 with earth dug up by the mining industry. We even manufactured a batch after which the industry shut down in 2012. We dropped the idea of using mining earth and took it up again using mud from my property,” says Gramopadhye.

Gramopadhye adds that bricks made of mud enjoy a niche market. It is the preferred building material for expensive homes currently. In price the bricks are not expensive. In fact it is cheaper making it far affordable to construct homes with earth bricks instead of clay or cement bricks. The durability of the bricks is on par with conventional bricks. It can be cemented with concrete, drilled and treated just like any other bricks.

“In olden days homes were made of mud. Many of these homes are currently standing while buildings that are 20-25 years are collapsing. The earth bricks made by us are recycling time tested idea with new technology,” says Gramopadhye. He points out that, his unit has automated machinery. The capacity of his plant is of 3,500 bricks per day which can be increased if manufacturing shifts to double shift.

Meanwhile in appearance there is nothing to beat earth bricks. The look of it is aesthetic and it is easy to like.

Gramopadhye’s first unit is Sustainable Green Company, a paper packaging unit in Marcel. The company recycles waste paper to make moulded paper packaging products which are biodegradable. It employs about 14 people. A committed environmentalist, Gramopadhye did his post graduation in environment studies from the UK before working for the World Wildlife Fund in Goa. He says that, he will always be in eco-friendly business and will look to manufacturing products that are in harmony with nature and ecology.

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