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BETWEEN YOU AND ME A friend wrote in recently when I mailed him in a moment of despondence. It was a terse mail. He consoled me gently with recall of Anicius Boethius, the Roman thinker of about Buddha’s times. Boethius wrote of how nothing is permanent, fortune included, barring the essence of thought. He said, only inspiration shall remain.

Over 27   years   of   plodding   through   market   offerings   that   are   ahead   of   their   times,   we   have   often  been  asked  if  it  makes  sense  at  all  to  continue  to  defy  the  basic  MBA  course’s  tenet   of   offering   only   “what   the   market   wants”.   And   we   have   only   offered   a   weak   smile,   not   knowing  how  to  explain  why  we  do  what  we  do  at  BCIL.     Crossover   is   none   such   endeavor   from   the   Zed   stable,   as   the   group   is   now   known   in   the   marketplace.     It  is  a  publication  that  has  sought  to  capture  the  very  best  of  such  distilled  concerns  of  the  planet,  of  the  environment.     It  is  easy  to  be  drowned  by  the  many  voices  of  skepticism,  and  of  unhealthy  dissent.   A   young   architect   recently   chatted   as   up,   “So   why   would   only   some   few   individuals   in   the   minority,   be   as   deeply   concerned  about  these  dire  threats  and  want  to  do  something  about  it?”   We  asked  her  to  reflect  on  it.  She  said,  “Well,  is  it  the  rumble  in  your  own  hungry  guts?”  Yes,  it  is.  You  do  it  because  you   know  it  is  an  imperative.  Even  if,  to  those  who  don’t  even  know  what  education  is,  many  of  these  little  and  big  concerns   simply  don’t  make  any  sense  at  all.   So   who   is   Crossover   meant   for?   Well,   if   you’re   reading   this   now,   there   is   some   deep  chord  that  it  is  touching  in  you.  So   “So why would only it’s   for   anyone   who   resonates   with   our   larger  concerns  on  the  environment  and   some few individuals in public  good.   It  is  most  often  an  impulse.  You  are  not   the minority, be as expected   to   do   anything   about   it.   Worse,   you   often   don’t   know   what   you   deeply concerned about can   do   about   it,   and   with   a   helpless   shrug,   even   if   it   is   disagreeable,   you   these dire threats and accept   it   and   get   on   with   life.   So   you   settle  for  less.   want to do something Some  don’t.  They  do  something  about  it.   They  seek  the  joy  of  responsible  buying.   about it?” Or   like   Sekhar   who’s   featured   in   this   edition,  they  do  more.   Crossover   as   a   publication   in   print   (seems   quaint   today   in   a   world   that   is   so   e-­‐infused!)   went   out   to   about   10,000   There was simply no readers.   That   was   in   2002.   With   no   editorial   help,   and   with   only   our   feedback. No one wrote persistence   for   resource,   we   ran   it   for   over   7   years   as   a   monthly   publication-­‐ writing   the   features,   editing   them,   back. The odd friend formatting   the   magazine,   working   out   the   slugs,   the   straps,   the   blurbs,   the   would occasionally say caption-­‐stories,   captions   and   the   headlines.   There   was   hardly   anyone   to   something encouraging, help.   There   was   simply   no   feedback.   No   one   and I translated it to be wrote   back.   The   odd   friend   would   simple politeness. occasionally  say  something  encouraging.   His   eyes   betrayed   usually,   simple   politeness.   Until   one   day   last   year,   five     years   after   I   had   put   the   magazine   to   a   decent  death,  Sharukh  Mistry,  the  legendary  Indian  architect,  caught  up  with  me  for  some  friendly  banter  at  a  friend’s   place  on  Napean  Sea  Road  in  Bombay.  He  said,  “Wonder  what  happened  to  Crossover?  I  don’t  get  it  these  days.”  So  I   told  him  what  had  happened.  He  looked  surprised,  and  pained.     “Do  you  know?  Some  of  those  editions  that  I  got  then  continue  to  make  for  bedside  reading  for  me.”   I  couldn’t  believe  my  ears.  I  realized  at  once  the  burden  of  all  good  artists.  They  are  rarely  told  of  people’s  appreciation   of  their  work.  It’s  not  that  people  don’t  value  it;  it  is  just  that  they  don’t  bring  themselves  to  make  the  effort  to  speak,   write  and  say  it.   So  Crossover  is  back.  Resurrected  from  the  dead.  Well,  for  those  who  have  the  education  for  it.  From  those  of  us  here   who  have  the  conviction  that  these  stories  need  to  be  told.   As   in   those   years   of   the   last   decade,   crossover   will   continue   to   explore   not   the   grim   side   of   all   that   is   bad   for   the   environment,  but  the  positive  side  of  what  the  world  can  do  about  it.  Of  what  you  and  I  can  do  about  it.   Festive  greetings  and  happy  reading.  


WORKING ON IT FOR A LIFETIME [story title]     Karan Grover is one of the best known architects in India today. His work spans architectural visions executed by him in the Emirates, in India, and in the Far East. He has built homes for some of the best known business & political leaders and in the bargain has not just interpreted client vision, but raised the bar on what clients seek from an architect.  

The m an had written that he could now die in peace. The letter urged Karan to keep his prom ise of working on it for a lifetim e.


Well,   this   story   is   not   about   Karan,   the   architect,   as   you   will   discover.   Karan   started   as   a   national   aquatic   champion   in   his   early   years.   He   wanted   to   go   for   further   training   to   Australia,  but  his  father  couldn’t  afford  it.  About  that  time,   a  young  Karan  was  doing  his  rounds  of  some  of  the  ancient   monuments   close   to   Baroda   which   was   home.   He   met   an   old  man.  Intense  in  demeanour  and  gentle  in  his  ways,  the   old   man   asked   Karan   whether   he   could   help   him   with   the   work  he  was  doing  for  preservation  of  that  monument.  As  a   young   man   at   twenty   one,   Karan   didn’t   realize   the   gravity   of   the   commitment   the   old   conservator   was   asking   him   to   make.  

The   frail   old   man   persisted,   made   Karan   sit   down   and   said   that   he   would   give   him   what   he   needed   as   learning   if   he   only   gave   him   his   word   that   he   would   work   on   it   for   a   lifetime.   Karan   agreed,   without   realizing   what   he   was   saying.   The   next   morning   he   was   to   meet   the   same   old   man   at   ten   in   the   morning   at   his   house,   to   gather   whatever   information   he   could   regarding   the   monument.   When   he   arrived,   he   found   a   crowd   gathered   at   the   house.   And   as   he   wove   through   the   people,  he  realized  that  the  old  man  had  passed  away.  An  hour  later,  the  grieving  wife  handed  Karan  a  note  and  said  the   old  man  had  written  this  letter  specifically  for  Karan.   The  letter  was  terse,  direct.  It  was  long-­‐handed  to  Karan.  He  could  now  die  in  peace,  he  wrote.  The  letter  urged  Karan  to   keep  his  promise  of  working  on  it  for  a  lifetime.   Thirty  years  later  Karan  got  the  monument  certified  as  a  UNESCO  heritage  site.  He  worked  with  the  Prime  Minister  at   the  time,  and  also  managed  to  represent  India  as  an  Ambassador  for  making  representations  for  declaring  it  a  protected   monument.  

Karan has  worked  with  the  finest  of  people  across  the  world.  Karan  built  the  first  platinum  rated  LEED  building  in  India,   the   IGBC   headquarters   in   Hyderabad.   His   presentations   have   drawn   people   by   the   drove–for   the   unique   3   screen   platforms,   but   more   significantly,   for   the   fact   that   every   time   he   speaks   he   shows   deep   conviction   and   passion,   drawing   riveted  attention  from  his  audience  and  leaving  them  enrapt.  

[Tags :  Technology,  Greenovation,  housing,  City  Scape]          




A blanket ban on creation of such borewells is not, of course, a solution. Thousands of farmers across lands suffer incalculable harm.

Supplying clean drinking water can be done well without the bottled water industry.

T   Begur,   just   past   Nelamangala,   to   the   north   of   Bangalore,   enjoys   the   thickest   aquifer   on   the   Bangalore   plateau   at   a   soil   depth  of  a  massive  130  feet.  At  one  time  it  used  to  be  the  largest  vegetable  grower  for  the  city.  That  was  until  Pepsi  Cola   arrived   with   a   bottling   water   unit   about   ten   years   ago.   At   one   point   of   time   this   aquifer   was   at   70   feet   and   over   50   farmer-­‐families  used  to  benefit  from  growing  of  vegetables  in  the  area.   Today,  water  tables  in  the  region  are  at  anywhere  from  600  feet  to  1200  feet   –  that  is,  a  10-­‐  to  20-­‐times  drop  in  the   groundwater  depth.  Marginal  farmers  have  fled  their  lands,  there  is  no  water  for  farming,  and  vegetable  production  has   come  down  to  next  to  nothing.  Pepsi  had  plunged  80  borewells  in  the  area  for  it  Aquafina  bottling  plant,  of  which  about   34   borewells   work   at   present.   There   are   15   of   them   that   are   at   depths   ranging   from   1100   to   1200   feet.   By   their   own   official  declaration  to  the  official  Board  of  the  Government,  the  bottling  plant  draws  up  to  6  million  litres.  After  reverse   osmosis  [RO]  treatment  of  about  6.5  million  litres  per  day  of  water  that  farmers  and  all  local  people  any  way  have  found   safe  to  be  drinking  just  the  way  the  land  offers  it,  the  bottling  water  plant  discharges  a  staggering  3.4  million  litres  of   water  every  day.  RO  discharge  has  twice  the  salts  that  sea  water  contains.   Its  TDS  content  can  be  as  much  as  1500  mg/litre  to  a  high  of  4000  mg/litre,  when  the  norm  for  potable  water  or  water   for   plants   is   up   to   500-­‐700   mg/litre.   Salinity   in   such   discharge   water   can   be   absorbed   by   lands   only   when   they   percolate   down  to  about  half  a  kilometre  with  natural  groundwater  absorption  of  minerals  restoring  normalcy.  But  as  with  most   things   to   do   with   the   Earth,   this   process   takes   far   more   time   than   the   speed   at   which   such   discharge   happens   in   project   contexts.   The   protein   content   in   such   ‘discharge   water’   is   also   a   major   threat   to   all   living   beings,   man   included.   Drinking  

such RO  discharge  water,  even  if  it  looks  like  plain  clear  water,  can  lead  to  unconsciousness,  seizures,  and  brain  damage.   Just  two  glasses  of  such  water  drunk  direct  can  have  your  kidney  pack  up,  and  cause  death  in  less  than  a  week.   Can   you   imagine   what   it   is   doing   to   plants,   millions   of   earth   worms,   other   floral   and   faunal   species   in   areas   where   there   is   such   massive   RO   water   discharge?   Is   there   a   public   interest   litigation   that   can   bring   a   complete   halt   to   the   indiscriminate  and  excessive  withdrawal  of  ground  water  in  T  Begur  or  in  many  other  such  places  across  India?   Shouldn’t  there  be  a  complete  blanket  ban  on  every  such  Cola  Company  or  bottled  water  company  to  ensure  that  they   do  not  wreak  such  havoc  with  the  borewells  they  plunge?  What  can  farmers  do  apart  from  accepting  it  with  a  shrug  and   moving  on?  I  recall  those  years  of  the  early  1980s  when  the  government  was  at  a  loss  on  how  they  could  help  farmers   secure  cultivation  water  particularly  in  the  dry  districts  that  lay  between  Honnavara  and  Hubli  in  the  rain  shadow  areas   past  the  Western  Ghats.   In  1983  when  Ramakrishna  Hegde  became  the  Chief  Minister,  Abdul  Nazeer  Saab  was  part  of  the  cabinet.  He  came  up   with   what   was   then   considered   a   revolutionary   idea,   of   the   government   funding   money   to   plunge   borewells   across   districts   and   across   many   farm   lands.   In   his   time   Nazeer   Saab   won   accolades   and   praise   for   having   brought   water   to   many   thousand   farmers.   Those  were   the   innocent   years   when   the   Government,   activists   and   lay   people   did   not   still   see   or  understand  the  grim  impact  of  such  indiscriminate  drawing  of  water  from  deep  aquifers.   The  population  in  India  has  risen  from  about  70  crores  then  to  120  crore  people  today.  India’s  thirst  for  water  has  grown   more  than  twice.  Water  availability  per  capita  has  fallen  to  alarming  levels,  and  shows  no  signs  of  improving.  Bangalore   alone  has  about  14,000  borewells  in  the  BBMP  limits  and  beyond.  Karnataka  state  has  as  many  as  five  lakh  borewells.   Nearly  all  of  them  have  been  plunged  in  the  last  30  years  from  about  1980.  Intense  extraction  of  water  by  industries  of   various  types,  and  farming,  is  compounded  by  very  intense  drawing  of  water  that  a  bottling  water  plant  demands.   And   so   we   return   to   our   story   of   the   bottling   plant   at   T   Begur.   A   blanket   ban   on   creation   of   such   borewells   by   such   companies  is  of  course,  not  a  solution,  because  thousands  of  farmers  across  lands  will  suffer  incalculable  harm.  Should   we  then  seek  a  regulation  to  ensure  that  excessive  groundwater  withdrawal  is  not  permitted,  especially  from  industry  of   various  kinds.  How  does  one  define  ‘excessive’  then?   If   you   want   to   address   the   bottling   water   industry’s   predicament   on   where   they   will   get   water   for   them   to   treat   and   sell   in  the  marketplace,  well,  then  you  have  to  look  at  a  specific  regulation  for  bottled  water  industry  to  ensure  that  they  are   allowed  to  draw  from  groundwater  resources  only  up  to  what  the  rainfall  population  of  that  land  is.  For  example,   for   every   hundred   acres   in   areas   where   there   is   about   900   mm   rainfall,   or   about   three   million   litres   per   acre,   withdrawal   of   groundwater  by  any  person  or  company  must  be  defined  to  be  within  this  quantum  of  annual  rainfall.  This  will  mean  300   million   litres   for   every   slab   of   100   acres   that   a   company   or   a   unit   possesses   in   such   areas.   This   is   one   option   if   such   bottled  water  companies  want  proximity  to  their  marketplace.     The  more  ideal  solution  for  the  bottled  water  industry  that  the  government  can  legislate  would  be  that  such  plants  are   asked   to   confine   all   water-­‐harnessing   activity   to   land   pockets   which   receive   over   3000   mm   rainfall,   and   that   such   capturing  of  water  even  in  such  high  rainfall  zones  is  confined  by  law  to  surface  water  harvesting,  with  a  complete  ban   on  borewells  for  such  companies.     For  example,  Agumbe  and  the  rich  water    catchments  of  the  western  ghats  could  be  one  such  zone  where  bottled  water   companies   can   secure   a   reasonable   large   tract   of   land,   build   a   lake,   line   it,   clean   the   water,   filter   and   sell.   They   will   therefore   only   be   harnessing   rainfall   water,   by   and   large,   in   such   high   rainfall   zones   and   will   not   be   actually   drawing   groundwater.     Even  in  Palghat  district  over  15  years  ago,  Coca  Cola  could  have  avoided  the  Plachimada  scandal  and  avoided  the  ire  of   the  local  community,  if  only  the  company  had  chosen  to  set  up  their  water  source  closer  to  the  coast  near  Kozhikode,   which  receives  as  much  as  3500  mm  rainfall.  Palghat  is  one  of  the  least  rainfall  areas  by  Kerala’s  rainfall  patterns.     At  T.Begur,  Pepsi  Cola  has  15  borewells  that  draw  from  depths  of  over  1100  to  1200  feet.  This  accounts  for  something   like  50  times  the  rainfall  capacity  of  the  land.  This  is  not  acceptable.     Indeed  in  the  T.Begur  area  there  are  other  farmers  who,  in  their  greed  to  make  a  little  bit  of  money,  are  selling  water  to   Pepsi  with  borewells  they  have  plunged  in  their  own  lands.  So  technically,  Pepsi  Cola  can  disclaim  any  responsibility  for   excessive  ground  water  withdrawal  thanks  to  such  farmers  who  sell  it  to  the  bottling  water  plant.  If  the  challenge  is  one   of  ensuring  supply  of  clean  drinking  water,  which  is  the  claim  of  most  segments  of  the  bottled  water  industry,  this  can  be   done  without  private  initiatives  such  as  these.  All  they  do  is  take  groundwater,  do  a  one-­‐is-­‐to-­‐one  RO  filter,  bottle  it  and  

sell. If  at  your  home  you  chose  to  have  a  small  RO  unit,  you  will  be  making  that  same  water  at  less  than  20  paisa  per   litre!  You  pay  Rs.  15  per  litre  for  such  bottled  water.     The  market  need  has  risen  thanks  to  consumers  like  us  who  will  buy  bottled  water  for  our  travel  needs  or  because  we   are   afraid   of   drinking   local   water   in   hotels   and   other   public   places.   In   the   next   chat,   we   will   explore   other   unsettling   challenges  of  such  bottled  water  treatment.     [Tags  :  Water,  Health]    


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 In cities like Bangalore, numerous multistoreyed buildings exist. How does one go about converting them into ‘green buildings’?       There  are  ‘retrofit’  solutions  that  one  can  look  at.  Keep  in  focus  the  three  key  elements  –  energy,  water  and  waste.  If  it  is   a   residential   building,   get   the   occupants/owners   to   replace   all   water   fixtures   (taps,   showers,   water   closets)   with   new   systems  that  run  at  less  than  7  to  11  liters  per  minute  against  the  old  versions  that  exceed  12  to  20  litres  per  minute.   Look  at  installing  rainwater  harvest  systems.  Get  the  community  to  invest  in  a  water  treatment  plan  and  to  reloop  the   treated   water   for   gardens,   car   wash   and   even   for   floor   swabbing.     Create  an  additional  network  of  water  distribution  pipes  that   enables   the   occupants   to   have   a   tap   that   is   exclusively   for   these  purposes.     This  will  be  a  game-­‐changer  in  terms  of  the  quantum  of  fresh   water   that   you   demand   from   the   grid   outside,   or   from   deep   borewells.     You   will   increase   water   security   for   the   campus   and   will   also   reduce  on  energy  bills  for  pumps  at  the  campus  maintenance   levels.     Similarly  on  energy,  get  the  building  to  dump  all  old  energy-­‐inefficient  pumps.  Install  5-­‐star  rated  pumps  instead.  You   will   recover   the   additional   capital   cost   in   less   than   two   to   four   years,   and   until   the   equipment   runs   the   course   of   its   life-­‐ cycle,  you  will  continue  to  save  energy.     On  waste  management,  ensure  that  no  wet  waste  is  exported  out  of  the  apartment  or  the  office  block.     Treat  such  waste  and  convert  in  into  compost  that  can  be  sold,  in  the  case  that  you’re  not  using  it  for  your  own  gardens.   Grow  vegetables  on  the  terrace  and  other  balcony  patches  in  your  homes.     That  will  make  for  effective  use  of  the  compost  that  you  generate.  You  could  do  many  more  such  things.     Like  with  politics  in  this  country,  you  need  a  community  mindset  shift!   That’s  all  you  need.  And  the  help  of  a  few  experts.  Google  for  more  info  on  such  green  service  providers.  You  will  find   many  in  your  own  city  and  neighborhood!  

[Tags :  Energy,  Water,  City  Scape]  

CITY SMART GROWING YOUR OWN WATER     People have often asked what we do about growing our own water. It seems intriguing as to how you could ‘manufacture’ a liquid that is natural? Well, that’s a phrase that actually captures a whole range of things that we do which are essentially inspired by traditional systems, the timeless architecture of water in India, and by our experience in the practice of watershed development in districts across India.  


Typically most parts of India get about 1000 mm of annual rainfall.

Essentially   a   watershed   has   a   natural   catchment,   a   field   catchment,   and   a   settlement   catchment.   The   question   is   how   you   essentially   look   at   these   areas   and   work   toward   enhancing   water   retention-­‐   to   meet   your   need   for   water   while  the  natural  resource  is  in  itself  protected.     Take   an   apartment.   When   you   have   about   three   acres   of   land   you   first   ask   yourself   how   many   houses   you   want   to   put   into   this   place.   You   do   some   mental   math   on   the   number  of  litres  of  water  that  can  populate  as  rainwater  in   this  land.  Typically  in  most  parts  of  India  at  about  1000  mm   of  annual  rainfall,  this  comes  to  about  3  million  litre  an  acre.  So  you  are  talking  of  about  9  to  10  million  litres  of  water   that  can  fall  as  rain  water  on  this  land.  Then  you  figure  out  what  you  need  to  do  for  building  in  this  space,  which  takes   away,  of  course,  the  land  that  is  open  for  rainwater  to  fall  on.     In  the  process  you  also  come  to  some  math  on  the  density  of  the  settlement.  If  you  have,  say,  40  houses  to  one  acre  in   terms  of  apartments,  you  will  find  that  you  have  120  houses.  If  you  had,  say,  60  houses  as  density  to  an  acre  of  such  a   housing  plan,  it  will  then  be  180  houses.  If  you  were  to  assume  that  there  is  about  800  litres  that  a  family  demands  a   day,   you   know   the   need   is   1.5   lac   litres   a   day.   The   Zed   plans   bring   this   down   to   50,000   litres   a   day-­‐   this,   without   compromising  on  the  convenience,  even  luxury,  of  the  home-­‐dweller.       [Tags  :  Water,  Housing]                        





Benton MacKaye. ‘Urban workers in the thousands would come and engage in healthful toil in a selfless spirit, and refresh themselves on nature’.



If you have to discover America, you must do the Appalachian Trail, the long-distance hiking path that has become part of American character. It’s the ‘longest footpath’ in the world at over 2000 miles, and is home to some of the most breath-taking mountain wilderness.

The  idea  for  the  trail  came  about  in  April  1921  from  a  man  called  Benton   MacKaye.   It   was   published   in   something   called   the   Whitaker’s   Journal   of   the  American  Institute  of  Architects.  That  was  in  October  that  year.   Benton   MacKaye   was   a   mild,   kindly,   infinitely   well-­‐meaning   visionary.   His   plan   for   a   hiking   trail   was   one   of   the   very   few   things   that   he   actually   got   right.  At  the  time  he  wrote  the  proposal  in  1921,  his  life  was  not  going  well   at  all.  In  the  previous  decade  he  had  been  let  go  from  jobs  at  Harvard  and   the  National  Forest  Service  and  eventually  for  want  of  a  better  place  to  stick  him,  he  was  given  a  desk  at  the  US  Labour   Department   with   a   vague   assignment   to   come   up   with   ideas   to   improve   efficiency   and   morale.   He   dutifully   produced   ambitious,  unworkable  proposals  that  were  read  with  amused  tolerance  and  promptly  trashed.   In   April   1921,   his   wife,   a   well-­‐known   pacifist   and   suffragette   named   Jessie   Hardy,   flung   herself   off   a   bridge   over   the   East   River  in  New  York  and  drowned.  It  was  ten  weeks  after  this  incident  that  MacKaye  offered  this  idea  for  an  Appalachian   Trial.   It   was   only   part   of   MacKaye’s   grand   vision.   He   saw   the   trail   as   a   thread   connecting   a   network   of   mountaintop   work   camps  where  urban  workers  in  the  thousands  would  come  and  engage  in  ‘healthful  toil  in  a  selfless  spirit,  and  refresh   themselves  on  nature’.  He  saw  hostels  and  inns  and  seasonal  study  centers  and  woodland  villages,  where  self-­‐owning   communities   would   support   themselves   with   cooperative   ‘non-­‐industrial’   activity   that   would   be   based   on   forestry,   farming  and  crops.  He  saw  it  as  a  ‘retreat  from  profit’.     If   MacKaye   envisioned   the   trail,   ten   years   later,   well   into   the   1930s,   there   came   along   another   man   who   is   even   less   heard  of,  or  honoured.  A  keen  hiker  by  the  name  of  Myron  Avery.  Look  out  for  more  about  such  remarkable  people  in   the  next  Crossover  edition.  

[Tags  :  Urban  Ecology,  Agriculture]  


‘GREEN’S NOT JUST A NICE-TO-HAVE FOCUS!’ This series tells the story of other innovators in the green world. We start with Srinivasan Sekhar who, happily, is a ZED resident—one who found his life transforming after he chose to make home at TZED some years ago. Excerpts from a chat. He bought  a  house  to  live  in,  back  in  the  mid-­‐2000s.  That  latent  bug  in  him  to  ‘buy  responsible’  urged  him  to  look  for  a   place   that   echoed   his   own   deep-­‐seated   sensibility.   He   found   a   powerful   echo   in   what   TZed   Homes   was   offering.   He   and   wife   Latha   bore   silently,   and   with   dignity,   man   challenges   that   the   initial   years   of   living   with   a   powerful   set   of   innovations  at  TZed  offered.   After   nearly   seven   years   Sekhar   discovered,   with   gratitude,   that   TZed   had   changed   his   life.   It   opened   up   a   new   world   of   concerns   of   the   ecology   and   environment.  He  gave  up  a  forgettable  job  that  paid  reasonably  well,  to  become   an  eco-­‐tech  entrepreneur  with  a  company  he  promoted,  Ecoserve  Solutions.  He   devised   on   his   own   a   system   for   treating   ‘dirty   water’   into   clean,   drinking   water.   He  offered  the  idea  to  the  TZed  community.  They  listened  to  him.  They  trusted   him  and  shared  the  common  cost  of  creating  such  a  system.   Today,   TZed   Homes   residents   drink   water   that   is   treated   to   a   level   of   hygiene   that  it  is  cleaner  than  the  normal  drinking  water  that  you  will  get  off  taps!  It  is   the   first   time   in   any   such   gated   community   in   the   world.   TZed   already   has   many   firsts  in  the  world  to  its  credit.  As  a  resident,  he  fulfilled  a  far  deeper  objective-­‐ that  of  a  consumer  being  the  creator.   Shekhar   acknowledges   graciously   that   his   intent   and   his   ideas   that   are   now   transforming   into   more   solutions   for   energy,   water   and   waste   management   systems  grew  on  the  fertile  bed  of  ideas  that  Zed  had  offered  with  the  wide  array  of  game-­‐changing  (at  that  point  of   time  in  2005)  solutions  that  the  apartment  and  single-­‐family  home  campus  offered.  Excerpts  from  a  conversation.     What  is  the  importance  of  TZed  for  you?     Personally,  TZed  is  where  eco-­‐friendly  living  shifted  from   being  just  a  sense  of  awareness  to  active  consciousness,   which   then   provoked   the   mind   to   think   of   eco-­‐friendly   ways  for  everything  we  do.  The  community  here  is  also  a   very   cohesive   community   with   lots   of   champions   for   ‘green   living’   causes,   starting   from   reducing   waste   to   recycling,   and   adopting   eco-­‐friendly   solutions   within   the   campus.        

‘We’re looking at sun and wind solutions that are viable alternatives to grid energy’.


Tell  us  something  about  your  unique  water  innovation.     The   only   innovation   was   to   apply   what   is   public   knowledge   to   a   problem   that   we   all   had  –   water   scarcity   in   the   summer   months.  Water  consciousness  already  existed  in  the  community,  and  the  use  of  RO  water  for  everything  made  it  even   more  imperative  that  we  save  and  use  minimal  water.  All  these  initiatives  had  already  been  going  on  in  the  general  body   and   the   council   when   I   further   pushed   the   envelope   in   creating   a   ‘closed   loop’   water   system.   In   this   system,   water   from   the  RO  plant  comes  to  homes,  goes  through  drains  into  the  STP  plant,  gets  purified  to  PCB  norms,  and  then  goes  through   a  further  series  of  filters  and  purification  methods,  and  gets  back  to  the  RO.  (Thus,  no  water  is  wasted,  either  by  draining   into  recharge  wells  or  storm  water  drains).     What,  according  to  you,  is  the  future  of  business  for  sustainability?   Sustainability  is  going  to  be  essential  and  not  just  a  nice-­‐to-­‐have  focus  going  forward.  Energy,  water  and  urban  waste   management  are  all  becoming  problems  around  the  world  (and  all  three  are  definitely  issues  in  Bangalore).  So,  while  the   Earth   has   66%   water   on   its   surface,   potable   water   is   much   less,   and   we   need   to   have   sustainable   mechanisms   to   use   water  as  the  population  keeps  increasing  along  with  which  the  demand  for  potable  water  keeps  increasing  as  well.  Same   goes  for  energy  and  on  how  we  create  local  in-­‐house  solutions  to  manage  waste.  So,  according  to  me,  there  are  plenty   of  opportunities  in  the  form  of  inexpensive  and  renewable  solutions  to  manage  all  three  issues.     What  are  the  focus  areas  of  business  for  you?   Ecoserv  Solutions  Private  Limited  is  in  the  business  of  providing  high  quality,  sustainable  and  eco-­‐friendly  solutions  for   energy,   water   and   waste   management.   As   far   as   energy   is   concerned,   solar   and   wind   energy   solutions   are   being   formulated  where  these  are  viable  alternatives  to  grid  energy  (which  is  predominantly  based  on  coal,  with  hydel,  nuclear   and   oil   supplementing   in   small   ways).   For   water,   we   provide   design   and   EPC           solutions   for   rainwater   harvesting,   waste   water   management   and   water   harvesting   to   communities,   to   reduce   their   dependence   on   bore   wells   and   water   tankers   (Cauvery   is   being   over-­‐harnessed   by   everyone   as   a   panacea   for   water,   which   it   is   not).   Finally,   in   relation   to   waste   management,  we  are  working  on  solutions  to  manage  plastic,  waste  tyres,  municipal  urban  waste  and  such,  to  convert   them  in  a  pollution-­‐free  manner  into  useful  products.     What  is  your  single  motivational  driver  in  your  green  endeavor?   Our   Prime   Minister   declared   2010-­‐2020   as   ‘The   Decade   of   Innovation’.   Several   new   companies   are   being   formed   to   encash   on   the   consumer   economy   in   a   variety   of   ways.   Yet,   very   few   innovations   are   being   made   to   contain   and   reduce   urban   challenges   which   are   more   fundamental   than   credit-­‐based   consuming,   shopping   malls   on   the   internet,   etc.   Energy,   water   and   waste   management   are   fundamental   for   improving   quality   of   life   for   billions   of   people   on   the   planet,   and   yet   our   innovations   are   focused   on   everything   but   these.   This   is   what   motivated   me   to   give   up   a   career   in   the   IT   world  and  to  move  to  much  more  basic  innovations  for  eco-­‐friendly  living,  which  will  make  a  big  difference  to  a  large   number  of  people,  by  improving  their  quality  of  life  inexpensively.  

[Tags  :  Equity,  Technology,  Greenovation,  Housing,  Energy]                                



Air conditioners  can’t  be  environmental  friendly,  right?  Wrong.  Not   with  this  exciting  new  range  of  Zed  ACs  that  is  set  to  debunk  the  myth…     The   ZED   Group   offers   three   different   kinds   of   Air   Conditioners.   Each   tailored   to   offer   you   variety,   and   to   suit   your   personal  needs.   So   if   it’s   not   just   the   environment   but   aesthetics   as   well,   that   you’re   worried   about,   have   no   fear.   Zed   ACs   offer   you   the   joy  of  responsible  buying  of  some  of  the  finest  systems  that  can  work  for  you  at  home  or  office.   The  Zed  Portable   These  are  designed  to  provide  you  with  the  best  of  cooling  at  a  third  of  the  energy  bill  that  a  regular  AC  demands.   You  can  move  away  from  those  inefficient,  energy-­‐guzzling  water  coolers,  and  have  ACs  that  you  can  move  to  where  it   suits  you  most.  ZED  Portables  use  as  little  power  as  any  water  cooler  would  use.  Conventional  water  coolers  use  a  0.5   horse   power   or   a   1HP   motor.   These   ACs   work   at   0.7   tons   which   is   almost   the   same   power   rating   to   run   as   the   water   cooler.   If   that   isn’t   stunning   enough,   ZED   Portables   also   feature   an   ionizer   that   freshens   the   air,   makes   it   pollen-­‐free,   and   is   great  for  asthmatics.   The  remote  control  also  offers  a  game-­‐changing  ‘Fresh  Air’  toggle  that  helps  you  switch  to  fresh  air  when  the  external   ambient  is  cool  enough  for  you  to  not  want  air-­‐conditioning,  but  need  to  improve  air  circulation  in  the  room.   And  what’s  more,  it  doesn’t  need  the  monstrous  ‘box’  called  the  ‘air  handling  unit’  that  spews  hot  air  at  7  deg  C  delta  as   your   room   is   cooled   inside,   to   be   fitted   outside.   Do   you   want   to   carry   the   guilt   of   warming   the   outside   of   your   home   while  you  get  the  luxury  of  cooling?  The  Zed  Portable  has  a  unique  heat-­‐plate  exchanger  that  cools  to  infinity  the  hot  air   that  is  exchanged  with  the  cooling  of  the  room.   As  the  model  suggests,  the  Zed  Portable  can  be  moved  around  so  you  can  have  just  one  unit  and  move  it  according  to   your  convenience.  Or  buy  one-­‐half  your  requirement  for  your  office,  and  plan  the  use  of  the  AC  depending  on  occupancy   of  the  cabins  or  office  rooms.  Can  you  see  the  immense  advantages  for  a  set  of  hotel  rooms?  It  reduces  your  capital  cost,   and  brings  energy  bill  dramatically,  month  on  month.   Well,   the   Zed   Portable   is   not   just   about   cooling.   These   ACs   also   have   a   wide-­‐band   heater   built-­‐in,   so   in   the   winter   months  when  it  gets  freezing  cold,  it  can  work  as  a  heater  and  air-­‐conditioner  simultaneously.    

ZED Portables  also  feature  an  ionizer  that   freshens  the  air,  makes  it  pollen-­‐free,  and  is  great   for  asthmatics.  

• • •

Runs on  5  amps  not  15   Runs  at  350W  not  900W   Saves  up  to  70%  on  running  cost  

The  Zed-­‐Tower  AC     This  product  from  the  Zed  stable  stands  apart,  quite  literally.  It  is  an  air-­‐conditioner  that  is  floor  mounted,  and  has  a  1   hertz  inverter  built  into  the  system.  It  has  an  ionizer,  a  dehumidifier,  and  a  carbon  nanofilter.  As  with  the  Zed  Portable,   this  product  not  only  cools  the  air,  but  thanks  to  the  nanofilter,  cleans  the  air  as  well.   The  ZED  Tower  AC  uses  37  per  cent  less  power  than  any  comparable  product  in  the  market.  Like  with  all  Zed  ACs,  the   Zed  Tower  also  uses  410a  as  refrigerant—it  is  clean  and  green,  and  meets  the  world’s  environment  standards.   It  cools  instantly  on  an  eco-­‐power   mode,   saves   you   substantially   on   your   power   bills   and   offers   cleaner,   ‘greener’   air.   You  not  only  get  cooler  air  within  your  rooms,  but  also  gives  you  the  joy  of  being  environmentally  responsible  over  the  

lifetime of   the   AC,   which   is   over   10   years.   They   come   with   service   guarantees,   and   a   professional   network   of   service   technicians.  Sounds  too  good  to  be  true?  Only  seeing  is  believing,  as  they  say.  It  is  best  that  you  check  out  the  ACs  at  the   Zed  ForestFree  store.       The  Zed-­‐Split  AC       Did  you  know  that  most  air-­‐conditioning  units  in  India  consume  over  900  to  1200  watts  an  hour  of  use?  Worse,  that  all   the  time  that  the  split  AC  on  the  wall  and  plugged  onto  the  mains,  it  is  using  about  400  watts  of  power,  even  if  you  are   not  using  the  AC!   Most   of   these   regular   ACs   in   India   run   on   ‘eco-­‐hostile’   refrigerants,   that   raise   carbon   levels   in   your   city   vastly—28   times   of  what  a  petrol-­‐engine  does.  There  is  more  bad  news  with  such  ACs  that  need  additional  ancillary  items  to  get  them   installed  and  running.   While  the  ZED-­‐Split  AC  uses  5amp  sockets  as  primary  power  input,  it  has  a  series  of  electromagnetic  and  electric  filters   that  are  built  in.  And  it  doesn’t  need  a  stabiliser.  That’s  the  promise  of  convenience  right  there.  The  inverter  handles  the   power  and  410a  refrigerant  gas,  which  is  three  times  ‘cleaner’  (in  terms  of  carbon  emission  levels)  than  the  regular  R22.   Well,  the  message  we  are  getting  across  with  every  Zed  product  is  essentially  this:  being  eco-­‐friendly  doesn’t  require  a   compromise  in  your  lifestyle,  or  in  the  comfort  and  convenience  you  seek.  It  only  needs  you  to  be  smart.  

[Tags  :  Energy,  Technology,  Greenovation]  

Video of  the  day     It  will  be  not  soon  that  we  will  run  out  of  energy  sources  and  the  human  race  will  be  left  to  peril.  India,  with  its   fast  growing  population,  is  going  to  be  left  in  despair  if  we,  the  people  don’t  take  a  step  now.  Things  are  not  so   easy,  but  the  road  less  trodden  will  help  us  to  rediscover  new  and  sustainable  ways  of  living.   [Link(­‐4O0ThdEYt5WKJQ&index=1)]  


REGULARS Zediquette   Clear  the  air   We  all  see  our  homes  as  a  refuge  from  the  pollution  and  smog  of  the  city.  Have  you  noticed  how  often  you   turn  on  your  car’s  AC  not  for  cooling  the  air  as  much  as  to  shut  out  smog  and  noise?   The  air  within  homes  can  be  more  polluted  than  the  air  outdoors  in  a  conventional  home  which  is  not  treated   for   air   quality.   Synthetic   building   materials,   finishes   and   furnishings   release   pollutants   that   can   harm   your   living   areas.   That   sofa   you   sit   on   might   be   more   detrimental   to   your   health   than   running   along   the   city’s   largest  street  in  rush-­‐hour  traffic!  So,  do  some  homework  on  the  materials  you  plan  to  use  in  your  home  and   those  present  in  furnishings  such  as  your  old  carpet  or  that  old  couch  or  cabinet.    

You’ve Got  It  Coming   A  return  to  old  skills   The   compound   wall   that   greets   you   at   the   entrance   and   flanks   the   sides   of   the   apartment   has   been   made   using  local  quarried  stone.  This,  when  compared  to  regular  carbonemitting  conventional  ones,  has  saved  22   tons  of  carbon  and  yet,  is  aesthetically  pleasing.   As   you   enter,   you   see   to   your   right   an   innocuous   but   pleasant   garden   for   children.   But   this   small   patch   of   green  serves  a  set  of  vital  functions  on  water  management  for  ZED  Communities.   Here's  an  open  well  which  will  absorb  rainwater  falling  on  the  hard  surfaces  of  the  roads  and  other  open  areas   at  the  ground  level.  The  surface  water  is  directed  to  this  percolation  tank  to  strengthen  groundwater  recharge   of  the  land.  This  tank  will  take  in  about  300,000  litres  of  water  over  seven  rain  months  every  year.  The  open   well  is  a  reflection  of  traditional  knowledge  on  recharging  land  with  the  depth  of  the  well,  being  no  more  than   10-­‐12  metres.  

Gandhigiri What   was   the   DNA   of   Gandhi’s   thinking?   Does   he   have   any   relevance   for   the   future   that's   before   us?   Gandhigiri  presents  a  column  every  edition  that  revisits  his  thoughts…   Gandhi.   The   creation   of   wealth   is   important,   and   not   the   making   of   money   for   oneself.   A   capitalist   has   to   regard   himself   as   a   trustee   for   those   on   who   he   depends   for   the   making,   the   retention   and   the   increase   of   his   capital.   No   worker   should   wait   for   its   conversion.   If   capital   is   power,   so   is   work.   Both   powers   can   be   used   destructively,   or   creatively.   Each   is   dependent   on   the   other.   If   a   capitalist   aims   at   becoming   the   sole   owner,   he   will   most   likely   be   killing   the   hen   that   lays   the   golden   eggs.   Of   course,   inequalities   in   intelligence   and   even   opportunity   will   last   till   the   end   of   time,   but   that   does   not   mean  we  exploit.  

This he  called  the  spirit  of  aparigraha,  or  non-­‐possession.  You  hold  whatever  assets  you  possess  in  trust  for  the   good   of   society,   and   of   those   who   create   the   wealth.   Owners   and   managers   should   not   take   more   than   is   needed  for  a  comfortable,  but  not  extravagant,  life.  Provision  has  to  be  made  without  exception  for  healthy   working  and  living  conditions  and  general  welfare.    

Daadima says   Here  is  another  one  of  your  Daadima’s  cure  from  the  kitchen.   Butter   tree   (Janglimoha).   The   decoction   of   the   bark   is   used   as   a   dewormer.   The   milky   latex   of   the   tree   is   used   to   externally   relieve   rheumatic   pains.   The   decoction   of   the   flower   helps   in   curing   heart   diseases.   A   dose   every   morning  can  keep  you  from  fretting  over  the  dreaded  stroke.  Flowers  fried  in  ghee  act  against  plies.  

Eco-­‐moment You  are  among  the  lucky  few…   1,200  million  people  do  not  get  clean  drinking  water.  2,400  million  live  without  sanitation.  Ten  years  ago,  the   UN   said   it   aims   at   halving   these   figures   by   2015.   They   called   it   the   Millennium   Development   Goals,   or   the   MDG.  This  is  now  impossible,  we  know  in  2011.  It  requires  more  than  100,000  people  to  be  connected  every   day  to  clean  water  supplies.   Five  million  people  will  die  this  year  from  water-­‐related  diseases—2.2  million  of  them  will  be  children  under   the  age  of  five.  Half  the  people  in  developing  countries  are  suffering  from  diseases  caused  either  directly  or   indirectly  by  contaminated  water.   Take  a  sip  of  the  water  on  your  table,  savour  it.  You  are  among  the  rare  few  lucky  ones  to  have  access  to  clean,   safe  water.   Have  a  nice  day.    

Your day  to  celebrate   In  India,  Republic  Day  honours  the  date  on  which  the  Constitution  of  India  came  into  force  on  26  January  1950   replacing  the  Government  of  India  Act  (1935)  as  the  governing  document  of  India.     The   Constitution   was   passed   by   the  Constituent   Assembly   of   India  on   26   November   1949   but   was   adopted   on   26   January   1950   with   a   democratic   government   system,   completing   the   country's   transition   toward   becoming   an  independent  republic.  26  January  was  selected  for  this  purpose  because  it  was  this  day  in  1930  when  the   Declaration  of  Indian  Independence  (Purna  Swaraj)  was  proclaimed  by  the  Indian  National  Congress.     It  is  one  of  three  national  holidays  in  India,  other  two  being  Independence  Day  and  Gandhi  Jayanti.    

Deep Eco   Deep  Eco  is  a  space  dedicated  to  those  people  or  communities  which  are  much  beyond  the  commercial  and   materialistic   realms   of   life   and   represent   the   true   spirit   of   humanity   and   deep   understanding   of   ourselves   and   the  world  around  us.  

A CITY  OF  HUMANITY   Auroville  is  a  planned  city  for  up  to  50,000  people  from  around  the  world  under  development  in  south-­‐east   India,  located  close  to  the  Coromandel  Coast  some  10  kms  north  of  Puducherry  and  150  kms  south  of  Chennai.     Aspects   of   Auroville   can   be   found   in   other   communities   and   projects   around   the   world,   but   Auroville   is   the   world's  first  and  only  internationally-­‐recognised  centre  for  research  in  human  unity,  which  is  also  concerned   with   –   and   practically   researching   into   –   humanity’s   future   cultural,   environmental,   social   and   spiritual   needs.   Its   global   importance   is   emphasised   by   the   fact   that   it   has   been   endorsed   by   UNESCO,   and   enjoys   the   full   support  and  encouragement  of  the  Government  of  India,  its  host  nation,  which  has  approved  its  Master  Plan.     History     The  concept  of  an  international-­‐universal  city  devoted  to  an  experiment  in  human  unity  originally  sprang  from   the   writings   of   India's   great   philosopher-­‐yogi   Sri   Aurobindo.   However,   it   was   his   French-­‐born   spiritual   collaborator   and   co-­‐worker   Mirra   Alfassa,   known   as   The   Mother,   who   first   gave   it   more   concrete   form,   by   naming  it  'Auroville'  and  stating:     "Auroville  wants  to  be  a  universal  town  where  men  and  women  of  all  countries  are  able  to  live  in  peace  and   progressive  harmony,  above  all  creeds,  all  politics  and  all  nationalities.  The  purpose  of  Auroville  is  to  realise   human  unity."    

The  site  chosen  for  Auroville  was  a  severely  eroded  plateau  extending  eastwards  to  the  sea.  An  early  priority   for  the  project  was  the  environmental  regeneration  and  reafforestation  of  the  area,  which  in  the  late  1960s   had  been  officially  described  in  a  Government  report  as  being  in  "an  advanced  state  of  desertification."  Tens   of  thousands  of  trees  and  shrubs  were  planted  (to  date  over  2  million)  and  erosion  control  begun,  with  the   result  that  the  area  now  has  a  green  and  widely  forested  landscape.  Alongside  this  work,  emphasis  has  always   been   placed   on   development   of   the   city   using   non-­‐polluting   appropriate   technology   and   sustainable   energy   generating  systems.    

Auroville's significance  and  outreach     Auroville   has   already   gained   national   and   international   acclaim   for   its   environmental   work.   Many   hundreds   of   acres  of  forest  cover  have  been  created;  indigenous  flora  and  fauna  have  been  re-­‐introduced  or  have  returned   naturally;   tree   seedling   nurseries   have   been   established;   and   comprehensive   soil   and   water   conservation   practices   have   been   introduced.   The   development   of   ecologically-­‐sound   agriculture   without   the   use   of   pesticides   and   detrimental   chemicals,   plus   application   of   up-­‐to-­‐date   agro-­‐forestry   techniques,   is   also   being   actively  pursued.     Auroville   has   a   well-­‐organised   waste   recycling   system,   and   is   actively   trying   to   raise   awareness   of   the   need   to   reduce  and  recycle  waste  throughout  the  whole  Auroville  area.     Alongside  all  this,  Auroville’s  coordination  of  a  major  project  to  desilt  and  renovate  the  complex  of  artificial   lakes  (known  locally  as  tanks)  associated  with  the  villages  in  the  area,  with  the  aim  of  improving  their  water   holding   capacity   and   helping   to   stabilise   water   tables,   won   a   National   Groundwater   Augmentation   Award.   Auroville  is  also  involved  in  raising  awareness  of  the  dangers  of  salt  intrusion  in  the  immediate  coastal  zone   caused  by  over-­‐pumping  of  ground  water;  is  working  with  farmers’  associations  to  identify  and  introduce  less   water-­‐dependent   agricultural   practices;   and   is   advising   on   and   promoting   the   use   of   effective   micro-­‐organism   (EM)  technology.     (Source:      

Crossover September 2013  

ZED Life E-Magazine

Crossover September 2013  

ZED Life E-Magazine