Monday, October 19, 2009

Trying to be a "Little green"

In my efforts to reduce my personal carbon foot print, i have tried to adopt few green technologies and initiatives at my place. Below are some of the things that i have tried out and practicing successfully.

Rainwater Harvesting (2008):
Filter and Rain Barrel
Even before BWSSB (The water supply utility company in Bangalore, India) made rainwater harvesting mandatory, i have installed a rainwater harvesting system in my house. Rainwater harvesting is very simple and can be done by anyone very easily. The technical design is very simple. The first few minutes of rain should be allowed to drain away and then the the subsequent runoff must be filtered and can either be stored for later use or can be charged into the ground. In my house, i have directed most of the water into the sump after due filtration. To make sure that there is always some storage space available in the sump, i have lowered the float valve in the sump so that it never gets completely filled by BWSSB water supply. Only one down-take pipe at he back is not connected to the system. Instead, the water from that pipe goes into what is known as a rain barrel. It is nothing but a water tank to store water for secondary purposes like washing and floor swabbing.

With an annual rainfall of 1019 mm in Bangalore city spread over 70 days falling on my roof area of 112 Square meter, i can harvest about 1,02,700 liters of water annually assuming 10% loss. We are two people in the house. So the daily water requirement is about 500 liters. (Far more than Indian standards of 135 liters per person per day) . So by only rainwater, we can manage upto (1,02,700/500)= 205 days or 6 and a half months of water requirement in a year.
So if every house in Bangalore city adopts rainwater harvesting, then the water problem in Bangalore city can be easily solved. May be some incentives by BWSSB or something like "Green your home" loan from the banks can help.

Shower head Kitchen tap (2009):

Installing Low-Flow shower heads is another effective way to conserve water. It is relatively inexpensive and simple to install, and can reduce consumption significantly. Using a low-flow shower in the kitchen sink instead of a tap can bring down water usage by 50 per cent, particularly since we like the water to spread over the dishes while washing. A regular tap will have a foam/stream line flow and we waste plenty of water to spread it over the utensils.
As such these type of taps are not available in the market. One may have to buy the sleeves, nipple and the low flow shower head, assemble and fit it. It is relatively simple and saves lot of water while washing utensils.

Solar Power (2014) : 

I started by using one solar light in 2009 and by summer of 2014 i completely switched over to solar.  

Now, my house and office is completely run on solar power . One blog post is completely dedicated to the design and installation of solar power in my house and office. 

The blog can be accessed HERE

LED Lighting (2013-14-15):

Reading under a 7 W LED light
LED or light emitting diode bulbs are the  new generation luminaries. These are very energy efficient and will soon replace the incandescent bulbs and CFL tubes. These work at full efficiency under DC power supply. However the rectification design is available. Latest rectifiers have made these bulbs adaptable at 220-250 V AC power supply. 

LED lighting has considerably reduced our energy and carbon foot print. This is by far the easiest energy efficient transformation that we have made. 

LED In Office
A 7 W LED bulb can easily illuminate a 180 to 190 soft room easily. It is in fact more comfortable to use a LED light over CFL. 

Earlier , in our office and house put together, we were using 1 CFL tube of 23 W, 8 of 18 W CFL tubes and 8 of 10 W CFL tubes. Now these have been replaced by 7 W, 5 W and 3 W Led bulbs respectively. 

In addition we have table top LED bulbs in our office. With this if there are only one or two people working in the night, they will use the table top LED tubes  (4 W) and not the central lighting . 

Azolla Cultivation (2013):

The Azolla Bed on our roof top 
This is actually a little cumbersome and not very easy to grow. It takes some patience,  maintenance , periodic harvesting and weed control to grow this properly. 

Azolla is a floating aquatic fern. It is very rich in nitrogen (in wet form) and extremely rich in protein (25 to 30% by dry weight) in dry form. Azolla also keeps the mosquitoes away. 

Azolla is unique because it is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet – yet it does not need any soil to grow.
Making the growth media
Unlike almost all other plants, Azolla is able to get its nitrogen fertilizer directly from the atmosphere. That means that it is able to produce biofertilizerlivestock feedfood and biofuel exactly where they are needed and, at the same time, draw down large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and convert twice of that into usable clean oxygen thus helping to reduce the threat of climate change.
More information on this is available on
Our company is in fact is associated with the Azolla foundation to spread awareness about this fantastic fern and help people realise Azolla's full potential.

We have put two Azolla beds on our rooftop each of 2.6 Sq Mtrs. The azolla gives us ready bio-fertiliser.

Solar Heating (2009):

Solar heating is very common in many tropical countries. It is an economical and Eco friendly way of heating water. An evacuated natural flow tube collector system is cheaper and slightly more efficient.
In our house we use this round the year for heating water.

Composting (2008):

The "Kambha" Composter. 
Composting is another simple thing to do at the household level. All that one has to do is to segregate the organic waste and inorganic waste and put the organic waste into the earth or into a composter.

In my house, if there is a lot of organic waste say too much spoiled food or plenty of vegetable peels during functions, i just make a hole in the my garden and put all the waste into it.
For daily organic waste, i use a simple device called composter . This is nothing but a simulation of the earth. It consists of three pots one over the other. We have to fill the top one with organic waste till its 3/4 full. Then it is transferred to the middle and the middle one goes on top. Then once the top one gets full ,the middle one goes to the last and the top comes to the middle. By the time the top one now becomes full, the bottom most one would have got decomposed and turned into rich nutrient. This can be used for the plants or just thrown out. It will only add to the nutrient of the soil.
Thanks to the composter, we hardly give any waste to the BBMP push cart chap who comes everyday morning to collect the waste. Apart from the milk plastic covers and rarely some plastic items, i don't give anything to the waste collector.
Composter is very effective and if at least 50 percent bangaloreans adopt this, we can easily solve the garbage problem of Bangalore city and bring back its old name of Garden city from the current Garbage city.

Organic Vegetable Garden (2011):
The little organic garden

A waterproof sheet is laid on a wooden box of 6 sft and 6 inches deep. I have got 4 of such boxes totaling to 24 sft.    Filler media mainly comprising of vermicompost and coco-peat is filled into these wooden boxes . This media is carefully chosen such that nutrient content is high.This can also retain moisture for a longer time .  

This 24 sft is divided into 24 grids of 1 sft each. 
Its been about 60 days since this garden has been in place. I have already got one harvest of spinach and one harvest of dhantu. The carrot is almost ready for harvesting. Brinjal is in the growth stage. Lettuce is growing well. Beans and radish are coming up well.   
Apart from being a low carbon initiative, its a very enjoyable and satisfying experience having my own small vegetable garden. Moreover, though little, i have been able to grow and eat organically grown, fresh and pesticide free vegetables. 

This was very professionally designed and executed by Purna organics (

Cycling (2011):

I have recently started cycling. This is more to reduce weight than anything to do with ecology. But nevertheless, since i started cycling my usage of the car and the bike has come down significantly. Not only its good for the environment but also to the pocket. These days i realize that my fuel bills have come down appreciably.

With a good geared bicycle its quite easy to negotiate the Bangalore's sick traffic. Many times i feel that its faster to cycle short distances (less than 6 Km). Its a delightful feeling when   i  overtake an expensive luxury car or a SUV stuck in the traffic jam by my bicycle.

Mapping Bio-Diversity (ongoing):

External and Internal Conflict
This has nothing to do with "Going green". But this is definitely a spin off of the baby steps that i am taking to care for my surroundings. 

Since i started spending some time with my environment and started developing a relationship to it, i started noticing the other species which are in the same environment. I started observing the nuances of little life. I started documenting these in form of pictures. I started to enjoy observing these little creatures. At times i got philosophical seeing an insect caught in the spider web. Sometimes i felt smaller than them. 

pandorus sphinx moth
These little lives around me has brought me closer to nature and the divinity in that. Not only at home but everywhere else i feel a strange connect with my environment. 

Nevertheless, all my pictures were later documented under the caption "Tiny world". I have published it only for myself. 

These are just a few baby steps that i am taking to reduce my personal carbon footprint. Personally there is a long way to go. I wish the global leaders become more sensitive to the grave environment problem that is engulfing us. I hope the right people take the right decision at the right time and avoid inconvenient truth turning inevitable.

[My Take on climate change and India published in the Hindu Businessline]

1 comment:

  1. Dude u r amazing, feeling proud to be your fren, fully charged to GO GREEN now..... cheers