The purpose of this program was to introduce the concept of sustainable development from a holistic and practical standpoint to a group of Deputy Collector Trainees.
A group of 16 Deputy Collector Trainees from the Anna Institute of Management took a step forward with Auroville Green Practices to gain a practical understanding of sustainability in development. The 1-Day holistic tour of Auroville included visiting four sites to cover sustainable architecture, green cover-built-up area balancing, waste-water management, and Auroville’s internal electricity distribution system.
At Humanscapes, the participants were introduced to the concept of sustainable architecture by Architect Suhasini, co-founder of Auroville Centre for Scientific Research Humanscapes being a demonstration project for a Sustainable and Integrated Urban Living Project was the perfect way to tackle the issue of unsustainable mass urbanisation. Humanscapes proposed built-up area of 1,680 sqm is over three-floor levels. The units’ shape, size, and positioning are designed keeping in the effects of Sea breeze, Land Breeze, and the impact of the sun. It is made up of lightweight materials consisting of construction and demolition wastes; poured earth walls with waste Cuddapah stone strips and natural stone flooring being the major building materials. This enables the regulation of temperature naturally thereby promoting lesser consumption of electricity. The features, design, science, practicality, and application were elaborated on site. The site visit aimed to provide insights into how development can take place sustainably and plant seeds of inspiration in the minds of future leaders to promote Green Architecture in their Administration.
At the Revelation Forest, the journey of the transformation of barren land to a forest and the importance given by Auroville to maintain the balance between built-up area and green cover, achieving micro climatic moderation was taken up by Major Arjun. The Revelation Forest is a forestation project of about 80 acres. Topics such as how groundwater is recharged, the working mechanism of the windpump on site, types of trees, soil, etc were covered. The site visit aimed to communicate the importance of protecting green-covers which the participants have the potential to have an impact upon in the future.
At the Auroville Centre for Scientific Research, the effectiveness of treating effluents as a source of useable water to reduce freshwater consumption was discussed by Tency, a CSR Founding Member and Giulio founder of Geomatics team Geomatics team. A video on CSR’s Decentralised Wastewater Treatment (Dewats) system including its vortex technology was shared with the participants. The wastewater treatment does not require specific mechanical or chemical equipment for its process and guarantees a high-quality effluent discharge. The proposed pumps run all on low power requirements. The processed water is odourless, safe to handle, and meets strict discharge standards. The treated effluent can be recycled within the building and used for outside lawn watering, cleaning of pathways and vehicles, and can even match for toilet flushing. The technology can be aesthetically integrated as well.
At Auroville Smart Minigrid, the day ended with Prasannaram, an Electrical Engineer, focusing on the importance of solar energy, it being the cleanest and most abundant and renewable resource. The Auroville Smart Minigrid project, an initiative conceived by Auroville Consulting includes 122 kW of distributed rooftop solar energy systems. Currently, the solar PV systems are reducing Auroville’s electricity consumption from the public grid by 1,65,416 kWh per year. In addition to the rooftop solar systems, the project includes an energy storage system with a capacity of 50 kWh, 68 smart energy meters with a remote reading facility, and additions to the Auroville internal electricity distribution system. The Smart Mini Grid project aims to demonstrate that distributed and connected renewable energy generation and storage systems will be essential parts of a sustainable energy future.
The vitality of the planet lies in the hands of the younger generations. Providing exposure to leaders of the future is of paramount importance as it would directly have an impact on their decision-making in their administration. Auroville Green Practices acted upon this vision and curated a workshop to provide a holistic, on-site programme to demonstrate the practicality and viability of sustainable development.
The participants reported noticing the joys of community living in Auroville. They felt the tour and on-site learning provided them with practical exposure. Each had takeaways from the site visits which they look forward to inculcating in their administration and also recommend these workshops to college-going-students to inculcate these principles from early stages.