July 16, 2009 / 7:56 AM / 10 years ago

House of holes aims to plug climate change gap

CEBU, Philippines (Reuters Life!) - Holes are the bane of any homeowner, but a Filipino engineer has built a house with hundreds of them to reduce his carbon footprint.

Nestor Archival, an advocate of simple solutions to climate change, constructed his two-storey house in Cebu City in the central Philippines with the environment in mind.

The house, riddled with square and round holes and with empty wine bottles imbedded in the ceiling, is consistently cool and well-ventilated and maximizes the use of natural light. Solar panels on the ceiling generate what little electricity is used.

“We wanted our house to be as energy efficient as possible,” Archival, who is also a city official, told Reuters.

“A lot of people build houses for security, so the house is very closed, but they don’t know that a closed house is a very hot house. If you’re going to ventilate the house well, you don’t have to use a lot of electricity in order to cool it.”

A building contractor by trade, the 50-year-old Archival has drilled holes in his front door and the walls of every single room in the house, including the bathrooms.

He says big glass windows are expensive and unsafe. To maximize the air flow, all the holes are fitted with cut-out pieces of plastic piping commonly used in construction, and then often discarded. Screens keep any insects out.

The bottles in the ceilings, and some of the walls, let in natural light, lessening the need for electric bulbs.

And the environmentally conscious vein doesn’t stop at the building stage: Archival and his workers scour dumpsites around Cebu to collect items that become the decor of his quirky house.

Recycled glass bottles serve as garden fences and bubble makers for his pond; baking soda containers become lamp shades, and soda cans make for colorful railings.

He also collects the waste water from his kitchen and bathrooms, treats it and then uses it for watering the garden.

Archival says he hopes his family project will go some way toward plugging the holes in the world’s climate change dilemma.

“Although we are not that big emitters of carbon dioxide, we might as well help,” he said. “We in the Philippines consume a lot of electricity because we are a hot country and we need to cool our homes and pump water.”

“Since I’m building a house, I’m wanted to make something that people can see that we practice what we preach.”

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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