These Are Some Of The Most Interesting Green Projects Coming Out Of India - Homegrown

These Are Some Of The Most Interesting Green Projects Coming Out Of India

We were completely blown away when we read about the two 15-year-old boys from Nainital who invented a device that enables a shoe to charge a mobile phone. It’s mind-boggling to think about the possibilities with alternate sources of energy, if utilised and employed properly.

Drastic climate change and natural disasters slowly becoming inconvenient truths most of us seem to have shrugged off and resigned ourselves to, but they have certainly catalyzed some remarkably innovative ‘green projects’ in the country that a lot of us haven’t heard of. In each individual or corporation’s own way, it is possible to indulge in eco-friendly practices on a day-to-day basis, your own little contribution to the earth. With the world’s first eco-friendly mosque opening in Dubai, we decided to take a look at what’s happening right here on home turf.

In a noticeably frantic scramble for alternate sources of energy, here’s a look at some interesting ones in the country:

I. The Walkie Mobi Charger 

Anand Gangadharan and Mohak Bhalla, both students of South Delhi’s Mount Carmel School, invented a compact device that automatically acts as a portable mobile charger when attached to the heel of a shoe, when the person is running.  The mould, wiring and shaping the metal sheets were all done from scratch by the two school boys. This gadget, that took over three months to materialise, generates electricity up to six volts, as opposed to five volts released through a plug point, and the phone battery is thus charged at a faster pace.

“We have made this prototype as an attachment that can fit below a sports shoe. With more funds and better technical support, we plan to make this an inbuilt feature inside the sole of the shoe,” Gangadharan told Freewill Post.

II.    GRIHA 

An acronym for Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment, ‘griha’ is also the Sanskrit word for ‘abode’ and it is here to keep things in check. Human habitats, or man-made constructions, develop their own equation with the immediate surroundings over the years. From construction to operation and then eventual demolition, they consume resources and emit wastes either directly or indirectly.
A system-rating tool, it helps builders evaluate their building’s eco-friendliness against nationally-acceptable benchmarks. Over the course of the building’s lifecycle, it assesses the ‘environmental performance’ of a building and, going by the adage of ‘what gets measured, gets managed,’ it seeks to find mid-ground between prevalent practices and emerging national and international concepts. GRIHA’s aim is to moderate a building’s resource consumption, control and reduce waste generation and assess overall ecological impact. With the unrelenting increase in Indian population and rapid urbanization, this is definitely the need of the hour.

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III. India Chiller Energy Efficiency Project (IFCC) by IDBI

Banking’s going green. Funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF), the ICEEP has been being implemented from August 2009 by World Bank in association with Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), GoI and IDBI Bank Ltd (Project Implementing Entity). The idea is to phase out the use of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) – an ozone depleting substance – by replacing old CFC chillers with energy-efficient ones that don’t use CFC, resulting in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. The really great thing about this project is that they have a disposal plan ready for the old systems, and they ensure that their proper dismantling and disposal is even kept on record.

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India Chiller Energy Efficiency Project
India Chiller Energy Efficiency Project


IV. ITC Gardenia, Bangalore 

Eco-friendly practices in architecture has resulted in a reduction in heat gain to a large extent, thanks to their design, and the hotel has experienced considerable energy savings. The ‘high performance envelope’ design includes cavity walls which has two skins of bricks, with a hollow space in between. This helps in slowly drawing rainwater - or humidity - into the wall. This water is then drained back out through weep holes at the base of the wall system, or above the windows because of this cavity. The final flourish is the way the walls have been decked out with plants, giving it all a very organic feel.

V. Mitticool

Brainchild of Mansukhlal Raghavjibhai Prajapati, a modest clay craftsman, Mitticool is a cheap clay refrigerator for the rural population, that does not require electricity. Having spent much time in the disaster zone in the aftermath of the devastating 2001 Gujarat earthquake, he noticed that many families that had lost all their material possessions, including technological appliances, and were often left without fresh food and water.

Employing water’s ability to remove heat through evaporation, the age-old concept of ‘Surahi’ or ‘cooling through evaporation’, the only maintenance Mitticool needs is basic cleaning once every two or three days. The topmost part of the unit holds water, which very slowly drips down the sides, evaporating from the porous clay surface and cooling the interior. With a tiny faucet tap, this also acts as a water cooler, when kept in a well-ventilated place. Besides, it also helps reduce electricity bills, benefiting many rural families considerably.

Prajapati produces this refrigerator in a tiny village near Rajkot in rural Gujarat.

VI. Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity into Production Sectors in Sindhudurg Coast in Maharashtra 

In the Sindhudurg Coast, identified as one of the 11 most economically and ecologically critical areas, this project works for the protection of coastal and marine biodiversity. An initiative of the UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it is financed by the Global Environment Facility, and aims at effecting change in production sectors. By generating awareness among local communities on biodiversity conservation and its importance, it works against unsustainable fishing practices, rising pollution from fishing vessels and maritime traffic in the region. 

It has:
- Launched the ‘Clean Beach’ campaign across 29 beaches along Sindhudurg coast to create awareness on impact of non-biodegradable wastes on marine life.
- Conducted workshops to sensitize staff of Fisheries department, Zilla Parishad and various production sectors on biodiversity conservation

Sindhudurg Coast
Sindhudurg Coast

VII. Suzlon Energy’s Corporate Buildings

The company, Suzlon Energy, is in itself pretty amazing, having been touted among the greenest Indian companies. The ethos behind the world’s fourth largest wind-turbine maker, as moulded by the visionary behind the company, Tulsi Tanti, subscribes to the idea that wind is the energy of the future. His factory in Pondicherry runs entirely on wind power. Their corporate buildings, Suzlon One Earth in Pune and Delta Power in Rudrapur, use a wind hybrid solar charger – the dual-source power production used simultaneously to improve the reliability of the system.

Suzlon One Earth in Pune generates a whopping 154 KW of energy on-site through a combination of windmills and photovoltaic panels. It also has roof gardens and is well-equipped with facilities to recycle all the water it uses.

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VIII. Windmill-operated tube well

A grassroots innovation by two brothers from Darrang district in Assam, who have just passed higher secondary college, has proved to be a boon to the salt farmers of Little Rann of Kutch in coastal Gujarat. The windmill-operated pumps have replaced diesel pump sets, that they were earlier dependent on, to pump out seawater for making salt. The result? A reduction of operational expenses by about 40%. Their cost-effective alternative was made with locally available bamboo, tin sheet, strips of old tyres and an iron shaft, then connected to a hand-pump. The project first came to them when they were inspired by the sight of a soaring kite and a sewing machine, after which they hit upon the idea of utilising wind energy to operate a hand-pump.

Back in their village in Assam, the electric and diesel pump sets that are used to irrigate paddy (which requires a lot of water) have been replaced by units of their innovation.

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Windmill Operated Tube Well. Image source: creativityatgrassroots.wordpress.com
Windmill Operated Tube Well. Image source: creativityatgrassroots.wordpress.com


IX. Green Textile Consultation 

Eco-friendly textile, in the handloom sector in particular, is breaking new ground with this initiative of Human Welfare Association, in collaboration with European Commission, Trade-Craft and All India Artisans Craft Welfare Association (AIACWA), New Delhi. The first consultation, under the banner of ‘Going Green,’ was held just this month.

Artisans and weavers involved in the handloom and craft sectors use natural materials and there are no polluting elements, unlike power looms, that use electricity and fuels for machines.
Most weavers are not getting true value of their labour that involves green textile, due to lack of branding. They are, thus, demanding to link it with ‘Green Mark’ as a seal of authenticity of the Indian handloom products, based on natural colours and hand embroidery.

The waning market for weavers is being revitalised by ‘Going Green’ and can increase their financial stability. Launched in Lucknow, which is widely known for chikan embroidery, and Varanasi, known for its silk sarees, this program has tremendous potential.

”Chinese handloom machines are capturing the market and snatching the livelihood of traditional weavers, but if (linking it with)Green Mark is considered by the government, it will prove to be beneficial for weavers,” Rajni Kant of HWA told TOI.

X. Infinity Benchmark, Salt Lake, Kolkata

Spread over 20 floors, this was the second building outside of the US that, when it was inaugurated in 2009, received a LEED Platinum rating. Equipped with CO2 monitoring sensors, intelligent humidification controls, rainwater harvesting & waste water recycling systems, this building design has reduced the overall energy costs by 30% and shown a marked increase in productivity of employees due to the internal environment quality.


XI. IRDF’s pest management project

Educating farmers on methods to improve their crop through ‘eco-friendly pest management’ techniques is key. This project aims to increase crop yields while working towards replacing chemical pesticides with cost-effective, organic options.

The pilot project has been kicked off in a few villages in Warangal district, with the help of partner NGO RDF in Hyderabad. The classic syndrome of using increasing amounts of pesticide each year with less effectiveness needs to be done away with, as this has driven many species of birds to the brink of extinction.

All eyes are on the pilot project, the techniques of which, if proven successful, could be utilised in other parts of India.

This project will help poor farmers by educating them on methods to improve their agriculture through eco-friendly ‘Integrated Pest Management’ techniques.


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