Our cities are developing and more and more people live in housing societies/ Apartments these days instead of independent houses, including me. There are advantages and disadvantages of both and none is superior to the other.
We can implement our eco-friendly ideas in an independent house but in a community living all the efforts towards a cleaner environment has to come from the entire community and are often easier to implement and maintain due to collective efforts.
When buying new property insist that provisions should be made at the beginning to implement these 5 must haves for a community who want become an Eco-friendly Society.
The most important step towards greening a society is water conservation. With rains displaced space and time one needs to store all rain falling on the land. Rooftop harvesting doesn’t do justice. Deconcretising internal roads and open areas are a must and can be done by using porous tiles every where. Water falling on such areas are wasted .This would ensure ground water recharge wand the bore wells never running dry. In addition to this storm water storage pits on regular distances will make the society water self-sufficient. Society in Bengaluru named “Rainbow Drive” is water self sufficient for several years now. They have natural wetlands for greywater treatment which is the best way as it doesn’t involve lots of power consumption and other issues.
Solar Powered Water Purifier–
We all have drinking water purifiers at home as drinking water is contaminated with chemicals, heavy metals and germs . These water purifiers consume lot of energy and at the same time waste a lot of water too. Though we can collect and save the water but we cannot avoid power consumption. Living in an apartment I always yearned to be able to run at least one device on renewable energy. This is one such device.
Using solar power to run a RO water purifier is a very new concept in India. It’s not different from the usual RO unit. The pump in the unit works on the power generated by the solar panels. Along with RO unit, an electrical storage device and other electrical systems are put inside a container and solar panel is mounted on top/side of it. Its direction can be changed according to the sun and residents can pay and fill up water for their requirements. Click to watch the first solar powered reverse osmosis plant in India .
These solar RO water systems can purify water from any source. Water from river, pond or bore well and deliver safe drinking water anywhere like military camps, village areas and fairs and tourist places.
Solar Incineration Unit
With strict waste segregation rule put up by Municipal Corporation in our city it’s now mandatory to separate dry and sanitary waste. A state of art, smokeless incinerators are a must for a society these days. http://www.ecoideaz.com/innovative-green-ideas/ashudhinashak-clay-incinerators-for-sanitary-napkins
Few of these put up inside a society can serve the purpose well. The ash collected later can be used as a building material. Now if the incinerators work on alternative energy like solar nothing like it. Recently solar crematoriums have come up in many states and a technology for green incineration is available for smokeless incinerators
Composting of organic kitchen waste is a useful practice but not all people do it due to space constraint, time, and no interest in gardening. This wet waste mixed in other dry items forces sanitation workers to put everything in the landfill. A big community composter once installed can solve this problem. Now Indian made community composters are available at reasonable prices and composted soil can be used by residents or sold for revenue generation. This will indirectly save fuel as there won’t be any need of a separate truck to take organic waste.
With the implementation of these three steps a society can become completely waste free .Other two steps will be more relevant for the future towards which we are moving slowly
Solar Chargers for Electrical Vehicles.
More and more people are now opting for electrical vehicles. They are attractive as smoke free cheap fuel options. The cost-maintenance–fuel analysis puts them at par with any other smaller city vehicle . Their attraction as a green vehicle work only when the power they use too comes from a greener route like solar. So putting up solar chargering units inside a society can encourage more people to purchase them . Residents can chalk out a plan among themselves to use and maintain such units.
Grey Water Solutions
Most of the societies now have STP installed to treat the grey water which include water from kitchen, laundry and bathing area. Treated water is not good even for gardening as its full of chemicals. Best method would be to let such water be treated by natures cleaners “Algae” . But host of chemicals, antibiotics, Chemo medicines and other toxic substance coming out from different houses makes it impossible for algae to treat it. Putting it in garden slowly spoils the soil. To simplify the process apartments should have designated pipeline for laundry waste water , kitchen and bath water. The three can be treated differently . Laundry and kitchen water can be left for algae leaving only the bath water to be treated. Single solution can be multistage filtration ending with solar RO.
Recently advertisements of grey water solutions have stated coming on the television but there are many organizations having grey water systems on the market and depending upon ones needs they can be used. Since there will always be a feeling of detest towards using recycled water used by someone else. Its always better to have a pipe from the laundry and kitchen area connected to flush tanks for each unit. If done right at the beginning of the construction it will save water and save hassles later.
Some other green steps which many societies are opting are solar street lights, solar water heaters, rainwater harvesting , hydroponics, wall gardens , biogas from composting on site generators. Which can be implemented along with this five must haves.