June 2023

Climate-pROOFing informal settlements: Roofs To Protect Against Climate Change & Rising Temperatures in Jyothipura

By Akbar A and Kiran,

Hasiru Dala

Communities living in informal urban settlements are most vulnerable to changes in climate patterns, living in homes that are not climate-resistant, which flood during heavy rains and get unbearably hot during heat-wave summers.

In 2022, Hasiru Mane (Green Homes), the housing initiative of Hasiru Dala supported by the Saamuhika Shakti project, worked with cBalance to experiment with a new roofing system under their FairConditioning Project, to upgrade/repair houses for the waste-picking community.

  • Hasiru Mane works on housing initiatives for waste pickers across the city, including liaising with the slum board to rebuild concrete homes in some areas and providing help with documents and other processes.
  • cBalance does carbon accounting, develops tools, strategies, and methods of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reporting, and works on other initiatives to reduce carbon footprints. 

This first-of-its-kind roofing project is aimed at helping homes in slums and informal settlements adapt to the looming climate crisis, with the focus in Bengaluru being reducing heat inside the house during summers.

The vision is to do this with the community in Jyothipura, rather than impose an expert’s idea on them. The Hasiru Mane team, with cBalance, reached out to the Jyothipura Dr B.R Ambedkar Nagar Slum Dwellers Welfare Association to first gauge their interest. The project began with a baseline study of 25 dwellings to establish the current level of thermal comfort in the homes of waste pickers and identify housing types to design the roofing systems. 

The team held four listening workshops (with two members from five households in each workshop) to hear about their needs and opinions, in a safe and empathetic space without judgement. Structural audits of all the houses were completed to assess the technical needs.

Survey of households
Listening workshops

‍In total, 15 households were selected for retrofitting with climate-proof roofing solutions through the course of the collaboration with cBalance. 

The residents were shown passive design prompts explaining the retrofit roofing solutions and were invited to share their thoughts on the design for their homes.

Participatory design workshops

‍In phase 1, the team installed different types of roofing solutions on six homes, including one for the Buguri community library.

The different roofing solutions for Jyothipura.

An aerial view of the eco board and alu foil roofing solutions.
PET bottle solutions at the Buguri Children's Library.
Wood Wool panels 

The second phase of work was completed in April 2022. All the roofing solutions are dynamic and movable. 

Following phase 2, the cBalance team and Hasiru Mane project team organised a tour for 30 residents within the community to see and experience the solutions and to document their feedback. The team also conducted a critical feedback workshop with all householders to understand their thoughts on the execution process. 

Temperature sensors were installed in every household to document the temperature and humidity five times a day at 2-hour intervals in all the houses to capture data. 

(Above) The team conducting the experience tour for residents, and (Below) a critical feedback session with the community in progress.

What residents say a year on:

Nandini Ayyappa, 22 yrs

Roofing solution: Alu foil

During summer, we felt the heat inside the house has reduced. It felt quite cool. Food used to get spoilt earlier, but it’s better now. I am able to do my work at home with ease. Now, in the rainy season, it’s even cooler inside.

Rekha, 35

Roofing solution: Alu foil

It is definitely better than before. I am able to do my work inside the house even in the afternoons. We haven’t faced any problems since the sheet was installed, but I am just a little worried now if the rains will spoil the roof.

Savithri, 41

Roofing solution: Wood wool panel

This solution was very useful for us this summer, there was less heat in the house and we were able to do our work. Adding this roofing has not caused us any other problems either. 

Lakshmi, 30

Roofing solution: Eco board

During the summer, it was nice and cool inside. I was able to work well at home and my food did not spoil as often. We haven’t faced any problems after the installation. 

What next?

These roofing solutions have helped residents through one more hot summer.

Hasiru Mane is continuing to work on housing and related needs across several communities in Bengaluru.

Watch how they have helped transform a community in Kunthigrama here.

And read more about the roofing project here.

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