A Green Township can reduce energy consumption in infrastructural equipment by 20-30%, which only formulates one pillar of sustainable development. Imagine putting all the pillars of sustainability into practice.
Sustainable Township is built on sustainable development, which focuses on self-sustainability to meet the current and future development goals while consciously reinforcing natural resources regeneration to give back to the environment.
Sustainable development is the process of meeting present development goals without needing to limit the demands of the future generation.
It revolves around three principles, i.e., the economy, society, and the environment. Alternatively referred to as profit, people, and the planet, these principles aim to address global issues by:
- improving economic growth,
- reducing poverty through better healthcare, food, and education,
- minimising inequality through a more inclusive and diverse approach
- and most importantly, tackling environmental issues such as pollution, natural resource exploitation and climate change.
A sustainable township can be broadly defined as a livable area of space larger than a cluster of a residential society yet smaller than a city. It is formed by bringing a larger cluster of communities together in a city.
Unlike Japan’s Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (FSST), India has yet to mainstream sustainable smart townships. However, India has many notable ecovillages we could take inspiration from:
1. Piplantri Rajasthan
Piplantri is a small village in the Rajsamand district in Rajasthan, India.
Sh Shyam Sundar Paliwal, the former village head, in memory of his deceased daughter, started planting 111 trees whenever a girl child was born. To date, the villagers have planted more than 2.5 million Aloe vera plants and have been utilising the effort to commercialise aloe vera-based products such as juice and creams.
- Challenges gender inequality and creates an inclusive outlook toward a female child.
- Greener landscapes contribute to a better livelihood for humans and the environment.
- Help boost the village economy.
2. Khonoma, Nagaland
Not much is heard of this village, but you will be surprised to know that it is recognised as the first green village in Asia.
It is situated 20km from its capital Kohima in Nagaland. This village once depended on hunting for their daily food requirement, completely banned hunting activities and resorted to crop cultivation and local craftsmanship.
- Preservation of wildlife and natural habitat.
- Self-sufficient in food resources.
- Promote local businesses and distribution networks.
3. Odanthurai, Tamil Nadu
Odanthurai village is about 40km from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India.
It is famously known as the smart village of India. Under the leadership of the former panchayat president R Shanmugam, Odanthuri bloomed as a modern green village.
The village relies on its electricity and generates income from the surplus.
Every house in Odanthuri has a solar panel installed on its roof. Windmills that are set up in the village generate sufficient electricity for the village, of which about 2 lakh units of electricity in the form of the surplus is sold to the state electricity board earning the village 2 million worth of revenue every year.
- Energy conservation.
- Self-sustained on electricity.
- Income generation for the village.
4. Govardhan ecovillage, Uttrakhand
This beautiful village, spread over 100 acres, is in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. Many refer to Govardhan as a wellness retreat or ashram, but the Govardhans pride themselves on calling it an ecovillage that religiously believes in taking care of the environment. The project is owned and managed by ISKCON Wada. The ecovillage focuses on the reunion of environmentalism, spirituality, and animal.
Goverdhan practices a symbiotic recycling model where no waste goes unused. Some of the notable practices of the Govardhan is using cow dung as biogas and construction material for eco residences. In addition, treated sewage water is utilised in Govardhan’s self-sustained zero-pesticides vegetables and fruit farms.
- Sustainable impact on water and energy savings
- Self-sustained on food.
- Income generation for the village through farming.
5. Auroville, Tamil Nadu
Auroville is an experimental township in the Viluppuram district in India. It is the first and only internationally endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness and sustainable living. The community believes in coming together and living in harmony above all races, cultures, religions, and politics.
Since 1968 Auroville community has planted about 3 million trees forming a green belt of 1,380 acres around Auroville today.
It is known worldwide for its sustainable practices, from conserving energy, saving water, and practising organic farming. Auroville community is also a world leader in compressed-earth building techniques.
- Conservation of water, energy, wildlife, flora & fauna.
- Self-sustained on food.
- Empowering inclusive culture by living in harmony with people, earth, and nature.
Why should we care?
- About 60 to 70% of the world’s ecosystems are degrading faster than they can recover. Worldbank.org also reported that environmental and natural resources mismanagement has resulted in an estimated economic loss of €80.76 billion yearly.
Another report by United Nations identified water scarcity could displace 700 million people by 2030.
Start with Something Small
These consultants offer expertise in building sustainable townships, resorts, eco farms, houses and villas:
1. Satavic provides training and consultation in organic farming. The company also assists with planning and designing organic landscapes.
2. Viva construction provides bespoke construction services on eco-friendly farmhouses, bungalows, and resorts.
3. Auroma Architecture offers sustainable homes using natural materials and eco-friendly construction principles of rainwater harvesting, biodiversity, waste recycling, and solar power.
4. Based in Chennai, Benny Kuriakose and Associates have built sustainable homes, resorts, and commercial spaces for the last three decades.
5. Established in 1987 in Kerala, the Habitat Technology Group has built more than 100,000 Green buildings in India and overseas, which includes townships, disaster mitigation projects, rehabilitation, public offices, schools, and hospitals.
6. Organo co-creates spaces with its stakeholders to develop all-inclusive, sustainable, environment-friendly communities/eco-habitats.
Several such agencies/consultants are available (or are starting up) across India; we must search for them before investing in real estate.
Sustainable communities indicate that implementing sustainable development in the township can be as little as welcoming an inclusive culture, planting trees, and conserving nature, wildlife, energy, and water. Still, its positive impact is significant enough to accomplish the three pillars of sustainable development in a township – the economy, society, and the environment, also referred to as profit, people, and the planet.
It is time we acknowledge how a community’s collective effort can help people become self-sustainable on electricity, energy, and food. Such communal efforts also help in building better human relationships, restoring the wildlife and environment as well as boosting the economy.
The article is conceptualised and edited by Deepa Sai, the founder of ecoHQ.
The article is authored by Rumi, a B2B content marketer. With an educational background in Construction Project Management, her niches are Construction, Real Estate, Technology and Healthcare. In addition, she has a keen interest in Sustainability, Minimalism, and Animal Rights.