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Concept of Sustainability – Carrying capacity,
Sustainable development – Bruntland report – Ethics and Visions of sustainability.

The name sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere .Sustain can mean “maintain",
"support", or "endure”.
Since the 1980s sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet
Earth and this has resulted in the most widely quoted definition of sustainability as a part of the
concept sustainable development, that of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations on
March 20, 1987: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable Development:

Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while
preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for
future generations.
Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with
the social challenges facing humanity.


Economic development, Social development and Environmental protection.

integrity, or consideration for the interests of both the local poor and foreign investors, tourists
and academics, etc.
That does not necessarily mean that it is inappropriate to continue efforts to promote sustainable
development in this area, but rather that it is important to keep in mind that the ideals of the
United Nations’ Brundtland Report, and other works like it, often face tremendous challenges to
their realization in practice, despite their respectable intentions. However, this Report remains a
useful starting point for dealing with such circumstances, due to its extensive analysis of obstacles
to sustainability and its concern for integrating ideals into the complexity of the real world.
Eco system and Food chain, Natural cycles – Ecological foot print – Climate change and


The only planet in the solar system that supports life is earth. The portion of the earth which
sustains life is called biosphere. Biosphere is very huge and cannot be studied as a single entity. It
is divided into many distinct functional units called ecosystem.

In nature several communities of organisms live together and interact with each other as well as
with their physical environment as an ecological unit. We call it an ecosystem. The term
‘ecosystem’ was coined by A.G. Tansley in 1935. An ecosystem is a functional unit of nature
encompassing complex interaction between its biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living)
components. For example- a pond is a good example of ecosystem.

Components of ecosystem:

They are broadly grouped into:-

(a) Abiotic and (b) Biotic components

Abiotic components (Nonliving):

The abiotic component can be grouped into following three categories:-

(i) Physical factors: Sun light, temperature, rainfall, humidity and pressure. They sustain and limit
the growth of organisms in an ecosystem.
(ii) Inorganic substances: Carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulphur, water, rock, soil
and other minerals.
During this process of transfer of energy some energy is lost into the system as heat energy and is
not available to the next trophic level. Therefore, the number of steps are limited in a chain to 4 or
5. Following trophic levels can be identified in a food chain.

(1) Autotrophs: They are the producers of food for all other organisms of the ecosystem. They are
largely green plants and convert inorganic material in the presence of solar energy by the process
of photosynthesis into the chemical energy (food). The total rate at which the radiant energy is
stored by the process of photosynthesis in the green plants is called Gross Primary Production
(GPP). This is also known as total photosynthesis or total assimilation. From the gross primary
productivity a part is utilized by the plants for its own metabolism. The remaining amount is
stored by the plant as Net Primary Production (NPP) which is available to consumers.

(2) Herbivores: The animals which eat the plants directly are called primary consumers or
herbivores e.g. insects, birds, rodents and ruminants.

(3) Carnivores: They are secondary consumers if they feed on herbivores and tertiary consumers if
they use carnivores as their food. e.g. frog, dog, cat and tiger.

(4) Omnivores: Animals that eat both plant and animals e.g. pig, bear and man

(5) Decomposers: They take care of the dead remains of organisms at each trophic level and help
in recycling of the nutrients e.g. bacteria and fungi.

There are two types of food chains:

(i) Grazing food chains: which starts from the green plants that make food for herbivores and
herbivores in turn for the carnivores.

(ii) Detritus food chains: start from the dead organic matter to the detrivore organisms which in
turn make food for protozoan to carnivores etc.
In an ecosystem the two chains are interconnected and make y-shaped food chain. These
two types of food chains are:-
(i) Producers ® Herbivores ® Carnivores
(ii) Producers ® Detritus Feeders ® Carnivores

Food web

Trophic levels in an ecosystem are not linear rather they are interconnected and make a food web.
Thus food web is a network interconnected food chains existing in an ecosystem.
One animal may be a member of several different food chains. Food webs are more
realistic models of energy flow through an ecosystem
biomass which is available to various herbivores, heterotrophs, including human beings and
microorganisms as food.

Annually 4-9 x1013 kg of CO2 is fixed by green plants of the entire biosphere. Forests acts as
reservoirs of CO2 as carbon fixed by the trees remain stored in them for long due to their long life
cycles. A very large amount of CO2 is released through forest fires.

Respiration is carried out by all living organisms. It is a metabolic process where food is oxidized
to liberate energy, CO2 and water. The energy released from respiration is used for carrying out
life processes by living organism (plants, animals, decomposers etc.).
Thus CO2 is released into of the atmosphere through this process.

All the food assimilated by animals or synthesized by plant is not metabolized by them
completely. A major part is retained by them as their own biomass which becomes available to
decomposers on their death. The dead organic matter is decomposed by microorganisms and CO2
is released into the atmosphere by decomposers.

Burning of biomass releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Impact of human activities

The global carbon cycle has been increasingly disturbed by human activities particularly since the
beginning of industrial era. Large scale deforestation and ever growing consumption of fossil
fuels by growing numbers of industries, power plants and automobiles are primarily responsible
for increasing emission of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide has been continuously increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities such
as industrialization, urbanization and increasing use and number of automobiles. This is leading to
increase concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is a major cause of global warming.

Nitrogen cycle

Nitrogen is an essential component of protein and required by all living organisms including
human beings.
Our atmosphere contains nearly 79% of nitrogen but it can not be used directly by the majority of
living organisms. Broadly like corbondioxide, nitrogen also cycles from gaseous phase to solid
phase then back to gaseous phase through the activity of a wide variety of organisms. Cycling of
nitrogen is vitally important for all living organisms. There are five main processes which
essential for nitrogen cycle are elaborated below.
Source of energy for all the ecosystems is solar radiations which is absorbed by
autotrophs and passed on to the consumers in the form of food (organic substances). Energy flow
is always down hill and unidirectional.

Gross primary productivity (GPP) is the total amount of solar energy captured and
stored in the form of organic substances by the green plants. Net primary productivity is the
amount of organic substances left in the plant after its own metabolism i.e. GPP = NPP + plant

Trophic relationships of the organisms in an ecosystem can be represented graphically in the form
of ecological pyramids the base of the pyramid represents the producers and successive tiers
represent subsequent higher levels.

The nutrients move from the nonliving to the living and back to the nonliving component of the
ecosystem in a more or less circular manner. These nutrient cycles are known as biogeochemical

The main components of all the biogeochemical cycles are:-

a) the reservoir pool that contains the major bulk of the nutrients soil or atmosphere.
b) cycling pool which are the living organisms (producers, consumers and
decomposers), soil, water and air in which it stays temporarily.

UNIT – 3


Selection of materials- Eco building materials and construction – Low impact

construction, and recyclable products and embodied energy. Life cycle analysis.
Energy sources – Renewable and non-renewable energy.


Phenomenal growth in the construction industry that depends upon depletable resources.
Production of building materials leads to irreversible environ mental impacts.
Using eco-friendly materials is the best way to build an eco-friendly building.
Dictionary describes a product that has been designed to do the least possible damage to the
US EPA – EPP program defines as:
"...products or services that have a lesser or reduces effect on human health and the environment
when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose..."
Sustainable building materials can be defined as materials with overall superior performance in
terms of specified criteria. The following criteria are commonly used:

• Locally produced and sourced materials

• Transport costs and environmental impact
• Thermal efficiency
• Occupant needs and health considerations
• Financial viability
• Recyclability of building materials and the demolished building
• Waste and pollution generated in the manufacturing process
• Energy required in the manufacturing process
• Use of renewable resources
• Toxic emissions generated by the product
• Maintenance costs

Properties of Eco-Friendly Materials?

Case Study 3:

Lynedoch Ecovillage, near Stellenbosch

A number of adobe brick homes have been erected for staff members of the Sustainability
Institute and the Lynedoch community. Adobe bricks were made on site using a single hand hold
form and then cured for a few weeks on the premises. Adobe soils contain a mixture of clay, silt,
sand and aggregate. Clay provides the glue which holds the bricks together. It is important that
they should be dry, hard and crack-free.
Adobe bricks have the capacity to absorb, store and release solar heat, i.e. thermal mass, though
their thermal capacity is much lower than that of clay-fi red bricks or concrete. The walls were
built on a concrete foundation and set on a two-brick pre-wall to protect the adobe bricks from
moisture damage (damp). The external walls were also protected by a lime and clay mix plaster.
Insulated wooden ceiling were installed, and corrugated roof cladding. Vines and trees can be
grown to protect
them from driving rains. Vine overhangs also provide shading from the sun on north-facing
windows during the summer months.
Insulation can include building cavity walls fi lled in with materials such as mineral wools,
strawboard, wood, glass fi bre, and cellulose fi bre or recycled carpet under felt as used in the
Stonehouse project.
However, insulation is only really necessary in the colder climate regions of Northern Europe and


Sustainable building materials by definition are materials that are locally produced and sourced
(which reduces transportation costs and CO2 emissions), they can include recycled materials, they
have a lower environmental impact, they are thermally efficient, they require less energy than
more modern,
conventional materials, they make use of renewable resources, they are lower in toxic emissions
and they are financially viable.

Sustainable building materials should be utilised appropriately and contextually in each

neighbourhood development. The use of sustainable building materials not only reduces transport
costs , carbon emissions, and in most cases materials costs, it also provides employment and skills
development opportunities for community members.

Embodied energy

Embodied Energy is the sum of all the energy required to produce any goods or services,
considered as if that energy was incorporated or 'embodied' in the product itself.
Embodied energy is one part of a building material’s overall environmental impact.
Embodied energy is defined as the available energy that was used in the work of making a
It can be taken as the total primary energy consumed (carbon released over its life cycle).
This would normally include (at least) extraction, manufacturing and transportation.
Ideally the boundaries would be set from the extraction of raw materials (including fuels) until the
end of the products lifetime (including energy from manufacturing, transport, energy to
manufacture capital equipment, heating and lighting of factory, maintenance, disposal etc.),
Because the term “life cycle analysis” is becoming a more frequently used phrase in multiple
industries, it is important to understand the process. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is the systematic
approach of looking at a product’s complete life cycle, from raw materials to final disposal of the
product. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is the systematic approach of looking at a product’s complete
life cycle, from raw materials to final disposal of the product. It offers a “cradle to grave” look at
a product or process, considering environmental aspects and potential impacts
How does it work
Life cycle analysis examines the environmental impacts of a product by considering the major
stages of a product’s life, which are:
• Raw material acquisition,
which includes material harvesting and transportation to manufacturing sites;
• Processing,
which involves materials processing and transportation to production sites;
• Manufacturing
which includes product manufacture and assembly, packaging, and transportation to final
• Product life
which includes energy and emissions during normal product life, required maintenance, and
product reuse (refurbishing, material reuse);
• Waste management/end of life
which includes recycling, landfills, liquid waste, gas emissions, etc.
Four Main steps
LCA technique can be narrowed down to four main steps which address one or more of the
product’s life stages at a time:
1. The definition and scope is determined along with information needs, data specificity,
collection methods and data presentation.
2. The life cycle inventory (LCI) is completed through process diagrams, data collection,
and evaluation of the data.
3. The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is determined with impact categories and their
weights, as well as any subsequent results.
4. The final report should include significant data, data evaluation and interpretation, final
conclusions, and recommendations.
Power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light
and heat or to work machines.
Sustainable energy is the sustainable provision of energy that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that comes from resources which are naturally
replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat.

The sun,wind and biomass are the three renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy replaces conventional fuels in four distinct areas:
Electricity generation.
hot water/space heating.
motor fuels.
Rural (off-grid) energy services.
Renewable energy sources:
Solar energy.
Wind energy.
Wave power.
Geothermal energy.
Artificial photosynthesis.
Tidal power.
Technologies designed to improve energy efficiency.

Benefits of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has a host of social, environmental, and economic benefits. To be truly
sustainable, an energy source must meet these criteria:
Have minimal or no negative environmental or social impact.
No depletion of natural resources.
Meet the needs of people today and in the future in an accessible, equitable and efficient manner.
Protect air, land and water.
Have little or no net carbon or other greenhouse gas emissions.
Be safe today and not burden future generations with unnecessary risk.
The facilities used to create renewable energy require less maintenance.
In regions that produce renewable energy, economic growth is seen with the creation of high
paying jobs.
A black absorbing surface (absorber) inside the flat plate collectors absorbs solar radiation and
transfers the energy to water flowing through it. Heated water is collected in the tank which is
insulated to prevent heat loss.
Circulation of water from the tank through the collectors and back to the tank continues
automatically due to density difference between hot and cold water

Flat plate collectors:

It consists of an absorber plate which is coated on its sun facing surface with an absorbent coating,
also called selective coating.
The absorber consists of a grid of metallic tubes and sheets. Water flows through the tubes.
Sheet absorbs the solar radiation falling on it and transfers it to water.
The absorber plate is placed in a top open box to protect it from weather.
The space between back and sides of the absorber and the box is filled with insulation to reduce
heat losses.
The front of the box is covered with a high transmittance glass plate.
Flat plate collectors are specified on the basis of their area and are of commonly 1x2 m size.

Hot water storage tank

The hot water storage tank in domestic solar water heating systems is typically a double walled
The space between the inner and the outer tanks is filled with insulation to prevent heat losses.
The inner tank is generally made of copper or stainless steel to ensure long life.
The outer tank could be made of stainless steel sheet, painted steel sheet or aluminum.
Electrical heating elements controlled by thermostats can be provided as an option in the tank
itself to take care of those days when sun is not there or demand of water has gone up.
The capacity of the tank should be in proportion to the collector area used in the system.
A commonly used thumb rule is to provide 50 litres of storage for every sq. m of collector area.
Too large or too small tanks are both detrimental to efficiency.

Multiple modules can be wired together to form an array.

In general, the larger the area of a module or array, the more electricity that will be produced.
Photovoltaic modules and arrays produce direct-current (dc) electricity.
They can be connected in both series and parallel electrical arrangements to produce any required
voltage and current combination.
Energy from the solar louvres, complemented by the energy efficient design of the building, will
meet around 20% of the building’s annual demand for electricity.
The solar louvres also reduce solar glare to the offices, which helps to keep the building cool
during summer months by minimising thermal gain. This application therefore minimises the
buildings cooling load to further reduce overhead energy costs.

It is a form of solar energy and is a result of the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the
irregularities of the earth's surface, and the rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns and speeds
vary greatly across the United States and are modified by bodies of water, vegetation, and
differences in terrain. Humans use this wind flow, or motion energy, for many purposes: sailing,
flying a kite, and even generating electricity.
The terms wind energy or wind power describe the process by which the wind is used to generate
mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into
mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain
or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity.

Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind
turbines to make electrical power, windmills for mechanical power, wind pumps for water
pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships.
Geothermal heat pumps, which tap into heat close to the Earth's surface to heat water or provide
heat for buildings.
Geothermal Power Plants
At a geothermal power plant, wells are drilled 1 or 2 miles deep into the Earth to pump steam or
hot water to the surface. You're most likely to find one of these power plants in an area that has a
lot of hot springs, geysers, or volcanic activity, because these are places where the Earth is
particularly hot just below the surface.

Hot water is pumped from deep underground through a well under high pressure.
When the water reaches the surface, the pressure is dropped, which causes the water to turn into
The steam spins a turbine, which is connected to a generator that produces electricity.
The steam cools off in a cooling tower and condenses back to water.
The cooled water is pumped back into the Earth to begin the process again.

Geothermal heat pumps can do all sorts of things—from heating and cooling homes to warming
swimming pools. These systems transfer heat by pumping water or a refrigerant (a special type of
fluid) through pipes just below the Earth's surface, where the temperature is a constant 50 to 60°F.
During the winter, the water or refrigerant absorbs warmth from the Earth, and the pump brings
this heat to the building above. In the summer, some heat pumps can run in reverse and help cool

Water or a refrigerant moves through a loop of pipes.

When the weather is cold, the water or refrigerant heats up as it travels through the part of the
loop that's buried underground.
Once it gets back above ground, the warmed water or refrigerant transfers heat into the building.
The water or refrigerant cools down after its heat is transferred. It is pumped back underground
where it heats up once more, starting the process again.
On a hot day, the system can run in reverse. The water or refrigerant cools the building and then is
pumped underground where extra heat is transferred to the ground around the pipes.
Forms of geothermal energy
Geothermal energy comes in either vapor-dominated or liquid-
dominated forms. Larderello and The Geysers are vapor-dominated. Vapor-dominated sites offer
temperatures from 240-300 C that produce superheated steam.
Advantages of Geothermal Energy
There are two primary methods of recovering biogas for use as energy. The first process is to
create an anaerobic digestion system to process waste, most commonly manure or other wet
biomass. The second process is to recover natural biogas production formed in existing landfills.
Once recovered, biogas can be converted to energy in a number of methods.
Anaerobic Digestion
An anaerobic digestion system is made up of several key components, including:
Manure collection systems
Anaerobic digesters
Biogas handling systems
Gas use devices.
A manure collection system is needed to gather manure and transport it to the digester. Existing
liquid/slurry manure management systems can readily be adapted to deliver manure to the
anaerobic digester. Anaerobic digesters, commonly in the form of covered lagoons or tanks, are
designed to stabilize manure and optimize the production of methane. A storage facility for
digester effluent, or waste matter, is also required. In the biogas handling system, biogas—a
product of the decomposition of the manure, typically comprising about 60% methane and 40%
carbon dioxide—is collected, treated, and piped to a gas use device. Biogas can then be used to
generate electricity, as a boiler fuel for space or water heating, upgraded to natural gas pipeline
quality, or for a variety of other uses. Flares are also installed to destroy extra gas and as a back-
up mechanism for the primary gas use device.

The stages of the anaerobic digestion process.

Anaerobic digesters are made out of concrete, steel, brick, or plastic. All anaerobic digestion
system designs incorporate the following same basic components:
A pre-mixing area or tank
A digester vessel
A system for using the biogas
A system for distributing or spreading the effluent.
Batch digesters and continuous digesters are the two basic types of anaerobic digesters. Batch-
type digesters are the simplest to build. Their operation consists of loading the digester with
organic materials and allowing it to digest. The retention time depends on temperature and other
Source: Environment Agency (2009): 'Minimising greenhouse gas emissions from biomass energy
However this carbon is part of the current carbon cycle: it was absorbed during the growth of the
plant over the previous few months or years and, provided the land continues to support growing
plant material, a sustainable balance is maintained between carbon emitted and absorbed.

4 Good reasons to use biomass as a sustainable fuel:

Correctly managed, biomass is a sustainable fuel that can both offer a significant reduction in net
carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels.
Biomass can be sourced locally, contributing to security of supply.
Biomass can offer local business opportunities and support the rural economy.
Woodlands, forestry and agriculture are generally perceived to be an environmentally and socially
attractive amenity by the population, providing opportunities for recreation and leisure activities.

System Management: Identify the level of involvement in the development, funding, and
management of the rating system by Government, Private Industry, Non-Governmental
Organizations, and others.

Development Approach: Identify if system was developed using a consensus-based approach, life
cycle analysis, expert opinion approach, or other.

Openness of Operations: Ability to gather information on the rating system membership and
represented organizations.

Transparency of Rating System: Ability to access relevant information either from the internet or
other sources.


Cost: Identify the cost of using a system, including cost for use or rating system materials, cost of
project registration, fees associated with certification, and time typically needed to complete an

Ease of Use: Complexity of the tools and technical knowledge needed to complete rating system
process, especially for the optimization of energy use, environmentally preferable products use,
and indoor environmental quality enhancement.

Product support: Availability and responsiveness of direct requests for assistance, availability of
training, and usability of information available on the website, through case studies, documented
inquiries, and frequently asked questions.

System Maturity

System Age: Identify when the rating system was developed, first used, first available for public
use, and when the most recent revision was completed.

Number of Buildings: Identify the number of buildings participating in the rating system and the
number of buildings that have completed the process for denotation as a green building.

Stability of system: Identify the processes that allow for full implementation of a rating system,
including development, testing, and review process, systems for upgrades, process for
modifications, and expected frequency of modifications.

Technical Content

Relevance to Sustainability: Representative of sustainable design needs of the Federal government

as identified in the Whole Building Design Guide.

Thoroughness: Detailed review of how rating system addresses key sustainable design
characteristics such as optimizing Energy Use, using Environmentally Preferable Products, and
enhancing Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).

Measurement comparison: Identify the mechanism used as the baseline for comparison, such as
industry benchmark or checklist.

Measurability & Verification

Standardization: Established collection procedures exist.

Quantification: Numeric measurements facilitate absolute and relative performance evaluation.

Certification/Verification Process: Define system for verifying sustainable design practices for a
Long-term ecological research (LTER) sites are research sites funded by the government that have
collected reliable long-term data over an extended period of time in order to identify long-term
climatic or ecological trends. These sites provide long-term temporal and spatial data such as
average temperature, rainfall and other ecological processes. The main purpose of LTERs for
urban ecologists is the collection of vast amounts of data over long periods of time. These long-
term data sets can then be analyzed to find trends relating to the effects of the urban environment
on various ecological processes, such as species diversity and abundance over time.Another
example is the examination of temperature trends that are accompanied with the growth of urban
Urban effects on the environment
Humans are the driving force behind urban ecology and influence the environment in a variety of
ways, such as modifying land surfaces and waterways, introducing foreign species, and altering
biogeochemical cycles. Some of these effects are more apparent, such as the reversal of
the Chicago River to accommodate the growing pollution levels and trade on the river. Other
effects can be more gradual such as the change in global climate due to urbanization.
Modification of land and water ways
Humans place high demand on land not only to build urban centers, but also to build surrounding
suburban areas for housing. Land is also allocated for agriculture to sustain the growing
population of the city. Expanding cities and suburban areas necessitate corresponding
deforestation to meet the land-use and resource requirements of urbanization. Key examples of
this are deforestation in the United States and Brazil.
Along with manipulation of land to suit human needs, natural water resources such as rivers and
streams are also modified in urban establishments. Modification can come in the form of dams,
artificial canals, and even the reversal of rivers. Reversing the flow of the Chicago River is a
major example of urban environmental modification. Urban areas in natural desert settings often
bring in water from far areas to maintain the human population and will likely have effects on the
local desert climate.Modification of aquatic systems in urban areas also results in decreased
stream diversity and increased pollution.

Trade, shipping, and spread of invasive species

Both local shipping and long-distance trade are required to meet the resource demands important
in maintaining urban areas. Carbon dioxide emissions from the transport of goods also contribute
to accumulating greenhouse gases and nutrient deposits in the soil and air of urban
environments. In addition, shipping facilitates the unintentional spread of living organisms, and
introduces them to environments that they would not naturally inhabit. Introduced or alien
species are populations of organisms living in a range in which they did not naturally evolve due
to intentional or inadvertent human activity. Increased transportation between urban centres
furthers the incidental movement of animal and plant species. Alien species often have no natural
predators and pose a substantial threat to the dynamics of existing ecological populations in the
new environment where they are introduced. Such invasive species are numerous and
include house sparrows, ring-necked pheasants,European starlings, brown rats, Asian
carp, American bullfrogs, emerald ash borer, kudzu vines, and zebra mussels among numerous
others, most notably domesticated animals
Human effects on biogeochemical pathways
Urbanization results in a large demand for chemical use by industry, construction, agriculture, and
energy providing services. Such demands have a substantial impact on biogeochemical cycles,
resulting in phenomena such as acid rain, eutrophication, and global warming. Furthermore,
natural biogeochemical cycles in the urban environment can be impeded due to impermeable
surfaces that prevent nutrients from returning to the soil, water, and atmosphere.
Demand for fertilizers to meet agricultural needs exerted by expanding urban centers can alter
chemical composition of soil. Such effects often result in abnormally high concentrations of
compounds including sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, and heavy metals. In addition, nitrogen and
phosphorus used in fertilizers have caused severe problems in the form of agricultural runoff,
which alters the concentration of these compounds in local rivers and streams, often resulting in
adverse effects on native species. A well-known effect of agricultural runoff is the phenomenon of
eutrophication. When the fertilizer chemicals from agricultural runoff reach the ocean, an algal
bloom results, then rapidly dies off. The dead algae biomass is decomposed by bacteria that also
consume large quantities of oxygen, which they obtain from the water, creating a "dead zone"
without oxygen for fish or other organisms. A classic example is the dead zone in the Gulf of
Mexico due to agricultural runoff into the Mississippi River.
New Delhi and distribution capabilities throughout India, and South Orissa Voluntary Action
(SOVA), a registered non-government organization (NGO) of Orissa.
The solar lantern that the village is presently using has a back-up of 40 hours on a single charge.

Earlier, each family was consuming 11 litres of kerosene spending around Rs.150 per month
(USD $3). Now they are not only saving their money that was earlier spent on kerosene, they also
save 9 hours/week that was earlier spent on commuting to bring the kerosene to the village.

The lives of the villagers have changed dramatically and each house has been provided with solar
lamps. The average monthly salary of the villagers went up by 50%. The villagers are also able to
work at night using their solar lamps. The children in the village are now using their solar lamps
and are able to study at night.

Entities Empowering Rural Communities – Biomass

Case Study 1 : Smokeless Chulas @ Nandal Village, Maharashtra

Location: Satara District, Maharasthra

Community Population: 500 households.
Activities: Smokeless Chulas Running on Biomass

Nandal is a Village in Phaltan Taluk in Satara District in Maharashtra State. It is located about
200 kms from Mumbai .
Every family in this village is now an owner of a Bharatlaxmi Stove, which is reducing their fuel
consumption by 30% and smoke emissions by 80% as compared to their traditional stoves.
The women also report 30% reduction in cooking time, which is a bonus on top of the health
benefits of reduced indoor air pollution.
Smokes free Village Nandal has been made possible through financial assistance of Cummins
Diesel Foundation and technical know-how of ARTI.
The stoves have been supplied by SamuchitEnviro Tech Pvt Ltd. Each family has contributed just
about INR 100 (approx USD 2.5) worth of materials for stove installation.
The total cost for installing each Bharatlaxmi Stove was not more than INR 700 (approx USD 15).

Case Study 2: First village in India to sell power to grid

Location: Kabbigere village in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka

Community Population: 1000 +
Activity: Biomass Powered Village with self-run biomass power plants.

Kabbigere is a tiny hamlet and a semi-arid village tucked deep inside the Tumkur district of
Karnataka in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka, 2 hours north of Bengaluru.

The households of this village mostly earn their living through agriculture or work at farms.

Since 2007, this village has been generating power and selling it to the grid through biomass. The
gram panchayat sells the biomass generated power @ Rs. 2.85 kWhto BESCOM (Bengaluru
Electricity Supply Company)

This project is a joint initiative between UNDP- BERI along with the GEF, ICEF and Government
of Karnataka’s Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

The biomass gasification plant @ Kabbigere is designed to operate on woody biomass with a
maximum ash content of 6%. The feedstock required for the plant operation is supplied from the
captive plantation being developed over 3000 ha of land growing fast growing species trees.
Kabbigere has a lot of eucalyptus trees and this is commonly used as a biomass source to generate
power. The village also has other trees. Therefore, eucalyptus is one such feedstock that is
commonly used.
The seeds are readily available and considered a renewable (green) fuel as well. The emission by
products are equally innocuous. The energy produced powers the village’s new electric de-husker
and other needs—making the village much more self-sufficient. Now, the entire harvest process is
conducted efficiently and more cost-effectively in Padarwadi.
The company as a part of its corporate sustainability program provided a Cummins generator that
run on vegetable oil using 3 edible seeds from the village thereby providing power to the village.

This village is located in a rocky mountain and can be reached by foot. Cummin team visited this
place and helped them to carry all the equipments along with the village residents, including the
engine which weighed 250kgs.

Once all the equipments’ where brought to the village it was assembled and set for work. They
had power and the rice mill was set to work.

Thanks to the new generator, they are selling hulled rice, rick husks and oil and cake from
harvesting and milling Pongomia seeds. The oil and can be used for medicinal purposes and the
cake can be used as fertilizer. This has resulted in significantly more revenue that’s helping to
improve the quality of life in the village.