Special report from Edge of Seven:
Our work with Earthbag building in Nepal now covers the expanse of nine years. We have completed four dormitory buildings for girls getting an education in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal for both their college and university education. We’ve also built 6 classrooms using the method and all buildings have been successful in a variety of ways.
One, the earthquake resilience was sufficient to withstand the twin earthquakes of 2015 where not only were the buildings still standing after the quakes of April and May, but they were not damaged as many of their standard construction buildings were. Our tour of the area and the community’s sites after the earthquake showed significant damage to other buildings while the earthbag buildings were essentially untouched. Perhaps even more importantly the community leaders relayed to us that these buildings were critical as places where people took shelter after their own homes were destroyed. They told us, “these were the only buildings where we truly felt safe after the earthquake.” And in rural Nepal, many days walk back to a road, much less a town of any type, the feeling of safety and knowledge that there was somewhere safe to go, is the highest order of recommendation and accolade that we could receive.
Green School Bali has won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Global High Schools category, Asia region. The announcement was made at the annual Zayed Future Energy Prize awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday, 16 January, 2017.
Green School Bali won the award for its project proposal to install a 10 kW photovoltaic system and an energy storage bank made from used mobile phone and notebook batteries with a capacity of 32 kWh. The 10 kW photovoltaic system will increase the school’s share of annually self-generated electricity from 26 percent today to 40 percent (Green School Bali already has a 118 panel-photovoltaic system). The new energy storage bank will supplement a 72 kWh lead battery already installed at the school. Furthermore, the collection of 3,250 batteries (3,000 mobile phone batteries and 250 laptop batteries) will help re-use electronic waste from the community.
Sacred Earth Trust (SET) is an NGO based in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India working on sustainable development in Sacred sites, headed by Lillian Sum. The main focus has been on developing environmental education through practical eco solutions.
12 inch wide earthbag walls filled with local sandy soil are braced with rebar
SET has been building an Eco training and plastic up-cycling centre, that introduced hybrid design concepts to demonstrate low cost effective technologies which are also earthquake resilient, insulated and easily accessible for local adaptation.
The Earthbag concept was introduced and modified to suit the local needs. To address issues regarding availability of space the ‘Thin-bag’ was adopted for local use to construct the office and machine rooms on site. Instead of using the original earthbag of 18” inch width, the method was adapted and resulted in 12 inch width wall. This not only contributed towards the reduction of the total cost by using less earth, manual labour and materials resources, cement, rebar, chicken wire netting and plaster work, it resulted in the reduction of embodied energy of the overall carbon footprint of the construction process, whilst still providing the earthquake resilient and insulation properties required. SET has been working in partnership with UNDP, MEFC, CEE, GEF on the eco and plastic up-cycling centre infrastructure development.