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Ten Interesting Eco-Friendly Initiatives Taken by Schools in India

This post highlights a few green initiatives that have been taken by some schools across India

  • India’s First Miltary School for Girls – Group Phi, @ Pune, Maharashtra has been built with sustainability as one of the main criteria. The building comes with a gray water recycling system to reuse waste water. Courtyards  of this school are covered with polycarbonate sheets, which protect the corridors from rainfall, and by maximising daylight they also reduce the amount of energy required to illuminate the interiors. Link

  • TVS Academy located @ Hosur  set up by the TVS Corporate Group has set up an 10 acre organic farm in this school.   The parents of the school children studying here can also buy the organic vegetables and fruits from the farm. The school also transfers knowledge by training about 200 farmers in the surrounding villages and advocate organic growing practices in their farms. Some of the farmers trained by the academy are now growing organic vegetables as well.  The academy also assists the farmers in marketing their organic produce to various customers in the region. Link
  • Amulakh Amichand High School @ Wadala, Mumbai have set up solar panels on the school rooftop set up in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Nuernberg- Reichswald, Germany. Earlier, the school use to pay Rs.1 lakh towards the electricity charges. Now, they pay be between Rs.70-80K only. More than 50 classrooms in this school are powered by solar. Link 
  • Druk White Lotus School @ Ladakh near Kashmir uses Solar for water Pumping & electricity.  The school employs many sustainable concept such as solar lighting, , solar power for pumping water, solar heaters etcLink
  • Cauvery Matriculation Higher Secondary School @ Trichy, TamilNadu has tackled the power cuts by distributing 70 solar lamps to Class X and XII students. The students  will return the solar lamps after their board exams or can keep it to themselves if they pay Rs. 3000. Link
  •  Monfort Higher Secondary School @  Yercaud  have set up solar lights  in its campus. Link
  • A government school at Tiruvellari  has been given 100 solar lamps by a philanthropist. Link
  • Patashaala,  located in the outskirts of Chennai  has  dry composting toilets for all the students and visitors of the school. Link
  • Doon School has taken the initiative to start a long-term process towards self-sufficiency in energy, water and organic fertilizer by opting for sustainable sources of energy and recycling waste. The school proposes to install solar thermal systems and biomass gasifiers. Link
  • The buidling of the AmanSetu School in Pune, Maharashtra is made from locally available recycled materials and toxic paints have been avoided. They also teach environmentally friendly practices  for students such as  using eco toilets and community transport. Link

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Cauvery Matriculation, Trichy Tackles Power cut through Solar Lamps

Summary

  • Trichy experiences eight to eight-and-a half hours power cut everyday hindering the activities of several people living there including the students preparing for their board exams.
  • A school with 700 students and 34 staff, located @ Trichy has henceforth distributed solar lamps to its students specially the ones that are in classes X and XII enabling them to prepare well for their exams amdist the power shut downs.
  • Students can return the lamps after their exams  to school or can keep it to themselves if they pay Rs.3000
  • The school has carried out this green activity with the help of a trust that manages the school.

Image Courtesy: www.matriculationschools.com

Name of the School – Cauvery Matriculation Higher Secondary School
Founder: Reddy Educational Trust
Activities: Distributing Solar Lamps  to the class X and XII students for them to  use  during power shut down and prepare well for their board exams
Location – Tiruchirapalli, State of TamilNadu
Web Site: http://littlecauverians.in/index.html

 

Trichy experiences a eight-hour power cut everyday! 

Tiruchirappalli , also known as Trichy located at the heart of the TamilNadu faces  unpredictable power shutdowns for several hours. Tiruchirapalli  has about  2.7 million people residing there. Sources reveal that of late, power comes and goes without following a definite shutdown schedule. Due to the unpredictable power shut downs, the people of Trichy  are now using stone grinders rather than  electric blenders.

  As of  March2012, Trichy is experiencing a power cut for a total of 8.15 hours a day: three hours in the mornings (9 am to noon) and three hours in the evenings (3 pm to 6 pm) and thrice more for a duration of 45 minutes each, no one knows when!

A all -girls school, Cauvery Matriculation School a school @ Trichy, run by the Reddy Educational Trust having more than 700 students and around 34 staff members suffer power cuts along with the others living here.

Students of Cauvery Matriculation School Participating in a Renewable Energy Mobile Campaign. Source: The Hindu

Solar Lamps for Exam Preparation

In order to assist the students in the exam preparation, especially the ones studying in X and XII the educational trust that runs the school – Reddy Educational Trust has donated solar lamps to about 70 students studying in class X and XII for them to prepare for their board exams. These solar lamps are portable and requires to be charged two-three hours everyday for it to work for 12 hours.  A panel  that can be placed on a terrace and can be connected to the lantern through a wire  which will charge the lamp.

Students of Cauvery Matriculation with their Solar Lamps. Image Courtesy- The Hindu

The cost of these lamps are Rs. 3,000, if the student wishes to have these even after their board exams, they have been asked to pay money to the school to keep it for themselves. Else, they can return it within a week after they complete the board exams. The school has taken an incredible step in helping its students of class X and XII with solar lamps enabling them to study during power cuts. A similar project was carried out in April 2012 by the UNICEF to help students in Jharkand where a similar problem is being faced.

Further Reading:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/article2902544.ece
http://chennaifocus.wordpress.com/tag/energy/
http://chennaifocus.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/coping-with-power-cuts-trichy-shows-the-way/
http://content.ibnlive.in.com/article/05-Mar-2012south-india/old-world-flavours-make-a-comeback-236168-60.html
http://www.thehinduimages.com/hindu/photoDetail.do?photoId=131072773
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-25/news/31398672_1_solar-lamps-kgbvs-ranchi

 

 

 

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Druk White Lotus School Ladakh Uses Solar for Water Pumping & Electricity

Summary

  • Druk White Lotus School has an innovative and eco-friendly architecture and also has won several international design awards such as the  2002 World Architecture Awards for Best Education Building, Best Building in Asia, and joint winner for Best Green Building.
  • The school generates its own electricity with the use of solar panels.
  • The source of water  for this school, for that matter for the whole of Ladakh, is the snowmelt from the Himalayas. Groundwater from over 100-foot  deep water table is pumped by solar power to  to  large reservoirs which are used for irrigation of plants as well as for drinking purposes.
  • The school also has ventilated improved pit latrines /water-less toilets forits students and teachers.

My earlier post was about a  60-year-old school @ Wadala that powers its classrooms using solar power .Here, is another school @ Ladakh that employs solar energy for water pumping as well as for its energy needs and is  also known for its eco-friendly architecture.More details about the efforts carried out by this school are as follows:

Name of the School – Druk White Lotus School
Founded: His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa
Activities: A Whole Lot of Sustainable Projects, Chief Among these being Solar
Highlights: Many Sustainable Concepts Used – Improved and Sustainable Pit Latrines, Gravity Feed Systems, Passive Solar Lighting, Use of Solar Power for Water Pumping and Power…
Location – Shey, Ladakh, State of Jammu & Kashmir
Web Site: http://www.dwls.org/

Background:

Druk Lotus School is Buddisht school founded in 1992 by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa. The school has a strength of 500 local students. The school is well- known within the locality for its modern education in the Ladakhi language. The school also teaches English and Hindi. The school is located in a area where traditional Tibetian Buddhist way of life is still practised.

The school has an innovative and eco-friendly architecture and also has won several international design awards such as the  2002 World Architecture Awards for Best Education Building, Best Building in Asia, and joint winner for Best Green Building.

The school was designed and constructed by  Arup Associates; the buildings combine  traditional Ladakhi architecture with 21st century engineering  and act as a model for appropriate, cost effective and sustainable development.

Image of Druk White Lotus School, Courtesy: www.dwls.org

Key  Sustainable Features of Druk White Little Lotus School

Solar panels work quite well @ Ladakh due to its high and consistent exposure to direct sunlight, hence, classrooms get solar power

Ladakh witnesses a very hot summer and is very cold during winter. However, even  during the winter months when the temperature -30° C, the place experiences intense sunlight.

This school has been designed and constructed in such a way that it uses natural resources such as solar radiation, shading and natural ventilation. The school generates its electricity as well contributes to reduced emissions with the use of solar panels.

Also, the classroom buildings are constructed in such a way that the solar panels placed on top of them get heated quickly due to their optimal south-east orientation. That apart, the solar facades are fully-glazed which gathers the sun’s energy and stores heat in high thermal mass walls. Therefore, solar panels work quite well @ Ladakh due to its high and consistent exposure to direct sunlight enabling the classrooms to get solar power

Solar Panels Fixed @ the Druk White Lotus School Premises. wwwImage Courtesy: DWLS Website

Solar Power for Water Pumping

Ladakh experiences little rainfall,therefore, water is a limited resource as far as this region is concerned. The source of water for Ladakh is the snowmelt from the Himalayas.

The water distribution system that is installed in the school reuses water for irrigation and directs any rainfall to planted areas. Groundwater from over 100-foot  deep water table is pumped by solar power to  to two large reservoirs.

One reservoir collects water for irrigating the plants while the other one is used as a drinking water for the school.

Drinking and irrigation water is then gravity fed to gardens and water faucets. When not driving the water pump, the solar panels feed batteries used to power the school’s computers.

Solar Water Heaters @ the DWLS premises.
Image Courtesy- DWLS website.

VIP’s ! – DWLS employs a Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) system toilets that uses no water instead is solar driven.

The advantage of such a system is that it encourages airflow and eliminate odours.  Most importantly, in a place such as this where there is very little water, this system is indeed quite useful. The VIP system is essentially a double-chambered system with an integrated solar flue that allows operation as composting toilets and the humus that is produced is used as a fertilizer. Essentially, the bacteria that is present in the composting toilet eat and digest the waste removing the pathogens and converting the waste to be used as a fertilizer.

Construction of the VIP’s. Image Courtesy’ – The Hindustan Times

 

VIP’s- Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines@ DWLS, Image Courtesy- www.dwls.org

Hats off to the great minds and the architects behind this innovative construction! Let this school be a role model for all those schools and colleges that would like to switch over to renewable energy.

Here are some videos that shows how the DWLS was constructed – Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPjaAcvqmpw ; Video #2- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPjaAcvqmpw; Video #3- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrf2ObXm_sE&feature=relmfu

 Further Reading:

http://www.dwls.org/

http://www.solaripedia.com/files/639.pdf

http://www.designshare.com/index.php/case-studies/druk-white-lotus-school/

 

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Amulakh Amichand High School @ Wadala, Mumbai Goes Practical with Solar

We want to provide first-hand knowledge of renewable energy not only to our students, but other schoolchildren too.We are inviting schools to learn about solar panels,” says Dinesh Shah, member of the managing council.

The school were he works –  Amulakh Amichand High School located @ Wadala in Maharashtra generates electricity in its classrooms using solar panels generating about 10kW of power.

This page summarizes the efforts carried out by this school to set up solar panels in their school as well as the awareness that the management is providing to the teachers and students pertaining to renewable energy.

Name of the School – Amulakh Amichand High School
Founded: Mrs UMA Chaudhary(Principal)
Activities: Use of Solar Power
Highlights: Solar panels on the school rooftop set up in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Nuernberg- Reichswald, Germany.
Location – Wadala, Mumbai, State of Maharashtra

Introduction: Amulakh Amichand High School is  located @ Wadala,  a residential central suburb of the city of Mumbai. This sixty-year old school  is one of the only multipurpose schools in Mumbai (combining technical art and commerce) and has received several eminent visits from people like the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Morarji Desai, V.P Naik & Homi Talyar Khan – Governor of Maharashtra among others.

This school is very popular among the locals for its very encouraging the knowledge of students along with variety of extra curricular activities. It’s not just their co-curricular activities that has made them popular.

Sources reveal that this 60-year-old school had always been very innovative. It offers various activities and optional subjects and  64 hobbies to the 600 students, from kindergarten to S.S.C. who study in the school. Among the activities, students can either choose pottery, drawing, home sciences, creativity or music with traditional and modern instruments as well as a marching band, dance, sports such as basketball, volley ball, cricket.

Solar Panels @ Amulakh Amichand High School, Wadala. Image Courtesy. http://www.afternoondc.in

45 Solar Panels and 10.5KW solar power boost

Very recently, i.e. during the month of March, this school installed about 45 solar panels with the aid of the Rotary Club of Nuernberg-Reichswald, Germany. The cost of the installation was about 25 lakhs. The solar panels have been fixed at their terrace. These 45 panels generate about 10.5 kW of energy that enables the fans and lights to run in more than 50 classrooms.

Saves about Rs.20-30K per month for electricity

The schools harnesses solar energy to power some of its classrooms. Before the installation of the solar panels, the school used to pay around a lakh of rupees towards electricity charges. Upon installation of these panels, the school expects to save atleast  Rs.20,000 – 30,000 every month.  o further reduce power consumption, the school has switched from CFL to LED lights. The school eventually aims to  reduce power consumption by 40%. as against the 10% of energy savings they have @ present. The school is also carrying our efforts to shift to LED’s so as to reduce the carbon footprint.

Solar Panels Work on Holidays too!

During the times the classrooms are vacant and during times when there are holidays and vacation ,the school plans to divert its power harnessed from the panels to its  gym, hobby classes, offices and canteen etc…

The school has also included  a concept in their curriculum wherein each teacher will take 20 students to the terrace to study the system.

100% Solar in Future

In the future, school authorities want to switch to solar energy completely. The school will study a month’s electricity bill to evaluate solar energy usage and figure out what capacity they need in the future. “We will then slowly increase the solar panel installation. Disconnecting from conventional power is the final aim,” said Chaudhary.

The concept of using photovoltaic cell, for harvesting solar energy was envisaged two years ago by the management.

Rainwater Harvesting for use in Toilets

Apart from using solar panels for power generation @ the campus the School has carried out  a number of efforts in water conservation as well. They have a big water storage tank is kept on the playground to catch rainwater, which is then used in the school toilets.  This was started in 2009.Work is underway to use the water that comes out of the air-conditioners  towards watering plants and for other uses

Further Reading:

#1-  http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_mumbai-school-gets-10-5kw-solar-power-boost_1676858
#2- http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/news/mumbai-school-gets-105kw-solar-power-boost
#3- http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Shut-that-tap-save-every-drop/Article1-849274.aspx
#4- http://www.solarpowerheadlines.com/matunga-school-gets-10-5kw-solar-power-boost-amulakh-amichand-high-school-has/
 #5- http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Schools-lead-the-green-brigade/Article1-832835.aspx
Source #6- http://www.afternoondc.in/education-careers/a-step-towards-saving-ecology/article_49621

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Ecotoilets @ Pathashala – A School for Learners @ Vallipuram, TamilNadu

If the urine from every member of the Indian population is used for agriculture with appropriate technology, we will save thousands of crores of rupees worth of fertilizer, exclaims Gautam, the Director of Pathashala, a school located about 80 kms away from Chennai. This school has been started with a vision of educating its students and teachers to live a sustainable life. One of the hightlights of this school is the eco toilets they have.

Name of the School – Pathashaala
Founded by Padmaji, Krishnamurti Foundation of India  (KFI)
Activities– A whole lot of sustainable activities such as solar, wind mills, biogas, eco toilets etc
Highlights – Have developed eco toilets that collect urine and faecus separately and use them as fertilizer and compost respectively. They are have an organic farm that provides food to all the residents of Paathashaala as well as The School, located @ Adyar, Chennai

Location: Vallipuram, about 80kms from Chennai
Website: 
http://pathashaala.tcec-kfi.org/

Pathashaala, located at a place called Vallipuram located @ the outskirts of Chennai  has been set up by the Chnenai Education Centre of the Krishnamurthi Foundation of India.  Even before its inception in 2010, the founders wanted the school to emerge as an eco school  carrying out different sustainable acts. Pathashaala got off to a small start on 19 August 2010 in a mixed age classroom with 14  students and 3 teachers.

Sources reveal that the the staff and the students of the school teach and learn the sustainable way of life in the school. For instance, the school has its own organic farm and grows all the food that is  required for the students and the staff. They also supply their extra food to their sister concern- “ The School” that is located @ Adyar, Chennai..

The campus is huge and has been designed in such a way that it can harness natural resources such as solar and wind.

One of the unique concept of this school is that they have dry composting toilets.

The toilets here have specialized closets  that collects urine and this urine is diluted with  water and  used as a plant fertiliser. The urine is pathogen-free and also contains  Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium ( NPK) that is required for plant growth. Similarily, the excreta from these eco toilets are collected separately dried and used as a compost.

 

Rooftops of Pathashala with Solar Panels. Image Courtesy: Pathashala

Sources reveal that the school  also has roof-top solar panels, wind mills and is also producing biogas. However, more information about the same is not available to EAI at this point.

Summary

  • A school called  Pathashaala  located @ the outskirts of Chennai, TamilNadu has only dry composting toilets for use by all students and visitors.
  • The school is also into a whole lot of sustainable activities such as composting, generating solar power, producing biogas, generating electricity through wind, practicing organic farming and so forth.
  • The  organic fruits and vegetables grown in the school garden is used to prepare food for all the students and residents of Pathashaala.

Further Reading:

http://pathashaala.tcec-kfi.org/

http://bhoomimagazine.org/component/k2/item/174-schools-and-colleges-focus-on-eco-projects/174-schools-and-colleges-focus-on-eco-projects

http://www.ripeducation.com/alternative-schools-india/alternative-education-schooling-and-living/

http://www.kfa.org/enews/feb10/India.html

http://www.kfionline.org/newsletters/english/VVNL-Mar-2010.pdf

 

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