Sacred Groves

LOCATION: Auroville, India

SUMMARY: "SacredGroves works to create a true shift in the design and construction of high-density housing projects. Our strategy is to weave forestry, agriculture, community spaces and off-the-grid services (power/water/passive-cooling/bio-gas/eco-sanitation) along-with row housing built using natural & recycled materials.

Eco-Housing with dignified community-living, affordable for all, is our dream!"

PROBLEM SPACE: "India is rapidly urbanizing. While village/ tribal people settle into cities they are forced to live an urban lifestyle often in tightly crammed dwellings with inadequate water, power and sanitation. Their innate skills of farming and forestry slowly atrophy. Their sense of personal worth and dignity erodes away the same way.

The situation of the city-born is no different. They live in concrete mansions with power & money guzzling lifestyles. This further pushes them into the debt-trap set by banks and other money-lenders.

The need to develop ecological but affordable housing with safe sanitation and reliable building services for the urban masses, is very critical.

Construction of buildings devours more than 60% of the world's natural resources. Rivers are mined for sand, mountains downed for stone and wetlands filled in with construction wastes. We have discovered that simply by recycling construction rubble into an earth-based concrete we could potentially save most of our rivers, hills and wetlands.

Working solely with recycled non-toxic building materials and natural materials harvested from the site we could also create buildings with very low embodied energy. Integrating farming and forestry into housing, fresh urban migrants could continue to practice their age-old occupations."

SOLUTION: "SacredGroves is a new holistic approach to city planning synthesizing the most ecological options in housing, forestry, agriculture, agro-forestry, sanitation, rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment/recycling & eco-energy generation/distribution.

SacredGroves is based in Auroville International Township (www.auroville.org) in India- a community aspiring to bring alive the ideal of Human Unity.

SacredGroves houses-gardens are built with natural and safely recyclable materials. All site systems are off-the-grid.

There are large scale rainwater harvesting structures built-in with the houses averaging 150,000 liters water storage per house. Only dry composting toilets are used. Greywater is recycled two times between the house and the attached vegetable garden.

Energy is produced on-site with a Solar/Wind/Biodiesel hybrid system. This would ensure a uninterrupted flow of good quality power to the people. The houses themselves are fitted with locally hand-made data-logging and remote-switching devices (Wattmon-http://www.wattmon.com/) interconnected with a simple micro-grid. This local power grid would allow for energy sharing across the housing estate based on demand and supply.

The affordability of the same is ensured by the use of site-harvested building materials like sub-soil earth, bamboo and other freely available recycled materials like construction rubble. The building technology is kept deliberately simple so that volunteer builders can be employed."

CONTACT: [email protected]

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