Thermo 'Cool' Houses — German Engineer’s Gift to Coastal People

Jun 2, 2009  

Most people suffer the heat in concrete buildings during summer in the coastal area. This gets worse during times of power cut and the so-called load shedding by the electricity department.

This causes many to keep out of the house in an effort to stay cool. However, now there is a solution to this problem.
The idea of using polystyrene in constructing houses will be implemented in Kulai area near Surathkal and promises to provide a pleasant and cool environment in the summer season for the residents.  
Captain Karl Neugebauer, the engineer and promoter of Eco-thermo Constructions, is now in Surathkal with his plan.

He intends to provide houses similar to the ones built in this country, but with German technology. 
“We call it Expanded Polystyrene Construction (EPSC) but it is commonly known as insulated house”, said  Karl explaining about the house. 

But he said that thermocol which is the common name for polystyrene, is used in this type of construction. He said that there is no need for bricks in building the walls.
He is using his own patented mould bricks made from polystyrene imported from Germany. Karl has imported the chemical for the polystyrene from Germany and prepared the mould here in the city.  

“When I saw the thermocol here, I was not satisfied with its quality. So, I decided to import it from my homeland. Not the thermocol but only the chemical”, he said.             
The ongoing project of insulated houses in Surathkal is the fourth such. 

Karl said, “When compared to normal houses, it becomes less expensive and stronger than others. The walls built through the thermocol moulds become strong due to the concrete which is poured inside the blocks where it is cured in a resistant temperature”. 

The mould is similar to bricks or hollow blocks. But the width of the wall lessens by about four inches while compared to the walls built with cement bricks or others. So, every room in the house becomes spacious.
These houses are heat resistant making it economic for the users of air conditioning devices too.

”The thermocol does not allow heat or air inside, so only the one inch space which is plastered on the thermocol bricks in the wall absorbs the air spit out by air conditioner. So, the AC does not need to cool the whole wall minimizing the use of electric power”, said Karl.  
The ceilings of the houses are covered with three inches of thermocol after the common RCC and are then plastered using mesh under Karl’s directions. By covering each wall and the ceiling, the house becomes completely protected against the heat from sunlight.

The mesh-based plastering on the walls is also a unique idea of Karl, and it lasts long  without cracking. 
Karl will soon finish four houses including one that was completed six months ago. Three others are under construction. 

One of these houses belongs to H  Devaraj, assistant controller of stores in NMPT, while the others belong to his relatives.


Karl, who is a qualified pilot entered the field of construction field after 29 years of service in this field in Germany, is now in coastal Karnataka. 
”Some of my friends are in Manipal and when they come to their homeland Germany  they would meet me and invited me here”, he said. 
“I am interested in Indian culture and ‘Vaasthu’. Vaastu is something that is scientifically proven and I refer to its guidelines when constructing the houses”, added Karl saying that he visited India in 1980 and studied Vaastu and Yogic science for four years.
”In European countries we have strict norms to follow while constructing a house. These norms are mainly to reduce heat penetration and also to lessen power consumption”, he said. 
Karl’s only response was a smile when his efforts in helping the coastal people stay cool were appreciated !

Capt Karl could be contacted at:

Phone: +91 9480265501, +91 9449823923


by Rajesh S <br>Pics - Dayananda Kukkaje<br>Daijiworld Media Network
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Comment on this article

  • V venu gopal, Brahmapur

    Mon, Mar 26 2018

    Sir I have went through your article it is very interesting and I want to know the process. how u prepared and applied since i am studying Civil engineering btech 1st year in Gayatri vidhya Parishad college of engineering . And I have heard about ramdas group of company n this method should be quickly spread .

  • Joydeep Mukerjee-Architect, Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 30 2016

    I saw many Gr 1 houses constructed in a Steel Plant in Orissa constructed of only Thermocole. The walls, slabs, staircase were only Indian made thermocole. An US based co was assembling them with their own proprietary 'glue' of which they refused to divulge any details. 50 years guarantee was offered.I thick some Indian company should take the lead in this field of low rise construction. Fast, eco-friendly and economical.

    The building industry must wake p & take rapid strides to make new technology as the norm rather than isolated cases. Mobiles switched over from keypad to touch screen effortlessly but we still erect houses the same way brick/block with plaster & paint/rarely wall paper.

    Large reputed companies should take the lead in this aspect. only then will this lead to acceptance from the masses. Going back to the mobile example again - its because Apple took the least ha touch screen became the way forward.

  • Balu Reshmi, Bailhongal

    Sun, Mar 22 2015

    Superb sir You have any idea or done for the existing RCC building which is heating by terrece floor n west facing?. Is it works to cover entire wall by thermocole?

  • anjana, chennai

    Tue, Jan 28 2014

    What can be done if these thermocol houses is not resistant to fire,can yu plz explain whether yu use block of thermocol with sand,cement,water in what ratio and whether the compressive strength can be done?whether it can have the capacity to withstand tat while curing?

  • megha, nagpur

    Sat, Aug 25 2012

    I want more information about Thermo'cool'houses and blocks

  • babu maney, bangalore

    Thu, Jul 26 2012

    ddear sir,
    I am impressed with the house iwould like to have a look of the same before considering. I am building my house in bangalore please let me know where i can see a similar house


    Mon, Mar 08 2010


  • Gracy, moodbidri

    Fri, Jan 29 2010

    I tried calling at you'r cell phone number but it is not reachable so kindly can you contact this number 8971147222(air tel) for me.. Thank's!

  • Prajwal V Kumar , managlore robotronics technologies surathkal

    Mon, Nov 30 2009

    This construction technology will withstand earthquake upto 7.5 richters . this concept is being tested and accepted bt germany constructional norms. to explain its very simple . if you take stones which are laid one upon the other the only bonding between them is cement sand case of a earth quake the shock can make the bond between the two stones to crack ( cement sand mixture i very brittle)as such stone will start coming out which will make the entire structure to collapse .in case of eco therm technology withing the t\polyurethane material(thermocol) there is mixture of sand, stone and cement which is hard and brittle. in case of a violent earthquake even though the concrete mixture cracks inside the thermocol jacket it will not be allowed to fallout henceforth the whole structure remain intact .the load bearing capability will remain the same .Thermocol block form a thick jacket which has certain elastic property .This was proven whne there was earth quake in part of Germany where they had buildings and house constructed using the eco therm technology non of them collapsed it could withstand the forces of mother nature.


    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Dear Mr. Karl'' really interesting,even we are the builders over here,can u please show interest to start the same in MYSORE & COORG with your guidance,we will co ordinate.please regards. HARISH THAMAIAH 919880099055, 919480788779

  • santhosh shenoy, Bajpe/Sharjah

    Tue, Jun 09 2009

    It will definitely work out.

  • ashok pai, bangalore/ mlore

    Tue, Jun 09 2009

    Any development is good news. cheers to this gentleman! so much power saving can be done by a simple solution while building the house itself. imagine the amount saved in less consumption of power!

  • Walter , Bajpe/BOSTON USA

    Tue, Jun 09 2009

    The concept of Eco-Cool houses is not new however,it is in Surathkal area. Bringing chemical materials from Germany may not be a good approach. e.g. USA builders purchased materials from China during 2004 to 2007 housing construction boom, now we are finding China used flyash from power plants, which contains sulpher. Al those houses built with building materials from China are found to contain bi-products of sulpher: Hydrogen Sulpide, Sulpher dioxide, and sulpuric acid , which are higly corrosive, and corrode copper piping, and occupant''s lungs and respiratory system with bleeding through the nose. Cleaning up this mess is creating a bigger problem: where to dump this chinese building material? Rely on the home grown construction building products, at least they are safe and proven. Other countries are ready to dump their waste into some other country in the name of "trade".

    Users MUST test the material for safety of the occupants and strength for rainy season. If the material is found suitable, have the builder place a bond for at least 5 years, then we know how good the material is. In India there is no building insurance concept and there are NO building inspectors to verify the construction. Do the home work before hiring the Eco-Cool Contractor. Best of luck for the construction companies.

  • Peter, Belle

    Mon, Jun 08 2009

    Now local contractors in trouble.Keep cooling and enjoying.


    Sat, Jun 06 2009

    This is a great technology & is also called as new pore technology..., There are 2500 villas under-construction using same technology in Abu Dhabi, UAE by Hydra properties..,

  • Captain Stanley Latif Correa, Mangalore/Jeddah

    Fri, Jun 05 2009

    Great idea. Thanks for technology and innovations by the German Engineer. This project would be successful.

  • Arun Menezes, Udupi/Kuwait

    Fri, Jun 05 2009

    Dear Daijiworld, Please publish the contact & other deatils of the Engineer, and also a brief estimate for 3000 - 4000 square feet house. Thanks,

  • Stany Passana, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 03 2009

    Quite interesting. Can I have contact details of Mr. Karl to get in touch and understand the subject in detail.

  • Vishwanath B Karkera, SURATHKAL

    Wed, Jun 03 2009

    Our local Civil/ construction Engineers should comment on this. Also our Engineers from Surathkal Engineering college (KNITE)should take up this matter and givetheir opinion.

  • Rolphy Almeida, Udupi/Bangalore

    Wed, Jun 03 2009

    As Mr. G. Rodrigues rightly mentioned in his comments this technology is not new although it may be new and helpful for the conditions in Mangalore. However, instead of importing chemicals from Germany (which is their dumping policy), readily available natural resources like paddy straw ans sugar cane like weed which is proven for cooling and robust for our condition would have been ideal. People of India would be happier if some engineers come up with such a plan to help rural India. Our engineers are not inferior to any foreigner.

  • Arun, Kankanady

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Does Mr. Karl''s designed houses are safer! are the strong enough to stay against the weather and robbers?

  • A.V.A, BLORE

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    i think it would be better to invent a wall tile made of this material and pasted directly onto the normal bricks from inside and outside. Over this the normal cement plaster or a coat of a special water proof paste could be used. would be more sensible. Something like this could be laid out on roofs over which the normal tiles or limeputty could be spread.

  • G Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    The idea of using Thermocol for heat insulation is not new. But what needs to be known is how strong the walls are and whether it can withstand the natural tortures such as strong wind, sunrays, heavy rains (especially in the coastal regions) and manmade everday tortures such as common objects hitting, rubbing against the walls. Also we do not know if any wall mounted fittings can stay there peacefully. Also what happens if we want to change the location of a wall painting. And what about a wooden shelves? Whats the solution or remedy in these cases.?? And the very important issue of being surrounded by chemical fumes 24X7?? which would be released slowly. Does this imported ''chemical'' suitable for Indian climate changes? Or all this is a free GIFT to coastal people and animals living in and around the so called ''Thermo cool houses?

  • Jawar D''Souza, M''Lore/Doha

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    I dont think it will keep the house cool with out a A/C, it might only not allow the coolness to escape better plant some trees in front of the house so that you might get some good cool breeze.

  • Arun Shetty, Manglore / Manglore

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Good info, if possible Mr.Karl can you give the estimation cost of building a house of 1250 sf area, with this tecnology.

  • Dominic, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Only intrested to know whether it can withstand shocks caused by an earthquake, also being from the coastal area rains pour down atleast for 4-5 months,and the moisture being from the cosatal area, would it crumble under all these natural factors

  • canute joy d''souza, madanthyar

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Wah!!! what a good idea

  • Farooq, Mangalore/Dammam

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Please provide full details of Mr. Karl and Constructing Company as well.

  • george , udupi

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    What about robbers? Can they breake these houses easily?

  • Jenifer, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    I have seen thermo-coal-like substance in demolished parts of concrete buildings in the Gulf and wondered how environment friendly is this material. As it is, the world does not know what to do with second-hand concrete. Are we concerned about our today''s comfort or earth''s life tomorrow too ? Where are the environmentalists ?

  • Edward Machado, Mangalore/Dubai

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Could you publish his contact reference please

  • L.D''souza, Mangalore/Dxb

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Cool, request daiji to provide contact details of Eco Thermo Constructions or Captain Karl Neugebauer.

  • Mohan H Naik, Mangaluru

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Can we have the compressive strength of such blocks tested ?.Please note,usual factory manufactured concrete blocks are well vibrated/compacted as they are produced in RIGID forms.Here these polystrene, which looks to be an inch thick, unless supported in similar forms externally,can not withstand the pressure of wet concrete while placing and compacting.If these blocks are somewhere in the similar range strength wise, and if German technology, do not effect local labour and material, its worth to consider.

    Moreover, such thermo-insulation construction technology is not at all a new concept to us .We had,bambos stuffed earthen claddings,good olden days.Anyway, all good things needs to be accepted.

  • JCrasta, Kundapur

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Nice Information, Please provide contact numbers of karl. it will help people to contact him and obtain more information about these type of houses.

  • Anthony J. Coutinho, Goa/Muscat

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Very good idea Karl, keep it up. Please let me know your contact details to get in touch with you.


    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Good article we appreciate Mr.Karls idea & efforts to reduce the heat for coastal people god bless you.

  • Rajesh, Barbados

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    stay cool with more chemicals and fumes!1?

  • Lloyd Dsouza, Dubai

    Tue, Jun 02 2009

    Thank you Karl for your superb Idea.

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