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Sustainable Business – The Genesis lies in understanding the basics of livelihood.


Modern society is disconnecting from Nature. Where the processed has become more important than the produce, chances of building a Smart society, which is essential step towards building a Smart City, is difficult.

And by not building towards a Smart City the Modern Business Houses are heading more and more towards extinction, due to acute resource depletion which is already manifest in certain sectors.While the top of the ladder corporate, either by omission or commission are realizing the benefits of Sustainable Business practice. The mindset of the modern manager is too stuffed in old style economics to understand the changes in the ground rules for making a perfect profit making business.

We need Business to evolve or it would perish as is the Darwinian law.

The reason for this is our mindset; we love to remain within familiar comfort zones. Essentially we are still an Agrarian Society, although we have wrapped ourselves in the modern avatar of an industrialized state.

FOOD – CLOTH – SHELTER are the three main things around which all the modern societies revolve. Everything modern human does is essentially to satisfy the three fundamental needs highlighted. The birth of Industrial revolution or modern business as we know today was essentially to speed up and increase in production of the three basic needs of human. And the final goal of Business even now is to attain just these three things. Therefore the word “business-man can be replaced by “human”.

We invented the modern mills which could churn more flour from the wheat, to provide for the ever growing population of human. To produce more wheat which is primarily the ingredient for flour, one needed to have better harvesting and tilling method; thus grew an industry which starting producing the basic tools. To have more tools in the hands of farmers, one needed more Metal Ore to be mined and to mine more efficiently an industry spawned to cater to that need.

As the demand and supply graph multiplied so did the specialization in the fields, which slowly drifted so far apart that the basic….the farmlands became far and distant from the precincts of modern Industry.

For Representation Purpose only.

The fruits now grow on a super-market shelf. That is the notion many a modern child, never having seen a mango tree, carry. Haute couture usually showcases the most non-wearable clothing. But is a billion dollar industry!

Building no more reflects the spirit of human triumph over nature’s vagaries, to provide comfort & safety and most importantly a home to live in. But as a reflection of the human ego. So, we built tall buildings, shrouded in Glass & Steel, with no thought to the vernacular design & climatic conditions.

When there is so much disconnect from the original needs of a vibrant and organic society. How could we have not ruptured the skin of sustainability? Global Warming and Climate Change are nothing but by-products of unsustainable living. But, the World today can see the dangers, which manifests itself with increasing intensity & periodicity of storms and unpredictable drought & flood cycle.

And how does it affect Business?

“What we’re finding all over the world is that when people are having trouble with the weather, it affects food and income,” said Koko Warner, an expert on environmental migration based at the United Nations University. Climate change doesn’t just mean stronger typhoons. It also means sea-level rise, desertification, unpredictability of rain for crops, drought and other problems that tend to result in fewer news reports than a crushing storm like Haiyan. Many of the resulting losses are difficult to categorize and count in terms of money. It’s the emotional burden of leaving a family grave behind, of moving from ancestral lands, of kids giving up the ability to go to school. But global financial losses, even just those tabulated from major disasters, have also been rising through the last few decades. Annual estimates are now at just under $200 billion (€146 billion), according to a report released by the World Bank . That’s up from about $50 billion each year through the 1980s. (Excerpts from – Warsaw Mechanism: A Move Forward in Climate Change Debate; Der Spiegel. November 27, 2013) The above paragraphs sum up beautifully the moot reason as to why Business must adopt the sustainable approach. The Building & Construction Sector is perhaps the single largest sector which is the consumer of almost all the Industrial sector known to modern business. Be it Agri-product, Minerals, Forest or Animal Husbandry, Iron & Steel, Cement or Textile, Chemical & Fertilizers some or other form of the product is utilized in the building industry. And many buildings built within the same geographical area is called – A City.

Which also houses the Business Barons.

Thus, if we take care of a city and make them Climate Resilient. We would be able to change the mind-set of the people, which in turn would make the world believe in Sustainable Business a bit more.

So how does one approach this? As per The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, below are some interesting thoughts –

THE BUILDING SECTOR

The building sector can be viewed as being comprised of two broad elements: Residential buildings — housing the population; and Commercial buildings — housing a range of activities including retail trade, accommodation, business services, government and government agencies, recreation and cultural services and industry, which represents around two thirds of national employment. The estimate of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption in the building sector takes account of:

1. The amount of energy consumed; [inclusive of embodied energy in materials] 2. The mix of fuels used; 3. The average greenhouse gas emissions from the different fuels (electricity is treated as a fuel); and 4. Upstream emissions from transmission and other activities.

The electricity consumed within a building is only a part of the energy used to support that demand. A large amount of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions is also involved in distribution, transmission and generation. When reducing demand for electricity it is practical to eliminate the need for this upstream energy use and GHG emissions. The building sector could reduce its GHG emissions by 30–35 per cent by 2050 on an economic basis. Economic in this context means that the initial costs would be offset — and in many cases be more than offset — by subsequent energy savings over time.

In the residential sector changes can be achieved through: 1. Substitution for more energy efficient light fittings; 2. Greater use of natural light; 3. Substitution for more efficient refrigeration; 4. Adoption of more efficient hot water appliances with solar where possible; 5. Adoption of appliances with a low standby energy use; 6. The introduction of more efficient heating and cooling mechanical systems; and better insulation. 7. Where possible use of Renewable Energy solutions as feasible.

In commercial buildings substantial savings to both costs and greenhouse gas emissions could be generated by: 1. Improving air conditioning systems efficiency and including ‘economy’ cycles; 2. Use of natural ventilation where possible; 3. The use of more efficient office appliances; 4. Better insulation; 5. Improved heating and ventilation; 6. The use of efficient light fixtures; 7. Upgrading to more efficient water heating systems;

There are already many consultancy firms which are advising on energy efficiency. The one which are on the top of the ladder are doing the following three elements: 1. Use less energy – cut buildings’ energy demand by improved design, using insulation and equipment that is more energy efficient.

2. Make more energy locally – produce energy locally from renewable and otherwise wasted energy resources.

3. Share energy – create buildings that can generate surplus energy and feed it into an intelligent grid infrastructure to balance the energy needs of other buildings.

And those which excel in the above are also taking up the challenge of creating a low water use facility. As without water there is no food and thus no life.

The IPCC – the United Nations Body which is headed by Dr. Pachauri and is under the UNFCCC has warned that unless we are able to completely abolish use of fossil fuel for generation of electricity the world would be facing much more severe storms, the likes of Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Hudhud, devastating Nations economy and putting enormous strain in its recovery.

Innovations for smart cities are already happening all around the World. From creating Solar Roads, as indicated in the image to having tiles which produce their own power when one steps on it are already ready for commercial applications. It is opening up new job opportunities and at the same time instilling the practice of clean living.

Real Project

The world is waking up to the fact that we have to create Sustainable Business.

And in order to achieve that India too must join with its resource pool of young and brilliant minds. Lest the opportunity, to become an advanced and progressive Business Nation is lost. While innovative products are good and it would be some time for them to become main-stream. India has the unique distinction of already possessing the vernacular knowledge of building with an extremely low carbon-foot print. A visit to any turn of the century residence would prove that.

Add to that the restless energy of the young entrepreneurs, who are willing to take the risk of bucking the conventional business model, while at the same time ushering in the high-technology Renewable Energy at the door steps of common persons.

The idea is to provide Roof-top solar at zero capital cost to the end-user while the recovery of the investments comes via the novel way of collecting the electrical tariff, over a period of time. As all are used to pay their electricity bills every month, the idea to have solar power which in time would become free of cost to the user is finding traction. Especially in areas where the traditional grid power is inconsistent leading to the use of diesel generators, which spikes the electrical tariff to an astronomical ₹ -15 to 20 /KW unit.

As in every solution there are challenges. Captive Renewable Energy, especially Solar & Wind require certain amount of conducive space and geography to perform optimally. Many commercial business such as Hospitals, Hotels & Resorts, Malls & Multiplex, while willing to utilize the RE in BOOT model; find that the generation compared to demand is wanting. Because of lack of roof-top space.

Here too the pioneers have met the challenge head-on, by providing Energy Efficient Measures to the existing or upcoming building within the matrix of a Green Building ie; by working with Architects and Interior designers who not only concentrate on the aesthetic appeal of a building but have the knowledge of how to utilize daylight controls and energy modeling measures to synchronize with the colour of the paint, or the colour of the light or even the reflective and absorption capacity of materials. Which ultimately adds up in a complex dance of synergy to either heat up or cool a room. By understanding this along with having deep knowledge of HVAC, building electrical & heat loads are optimized.

This in turn reduces the overall draw of electricity required, without any compromise to the functions of a modern living/working space. Today, coming up in a suburb of Bangalore; there are more than 500 residence comprising of 300o ft2 to 5000 ft2 bungalows which could aim to be completely off-grid both in terms of water and electricity. A perfect 4.5KW connected load with innovative roof-top and “Solar Tree” which also act as street lights would be powering the township. While 5 layer water harvesting system would eliminate any need for municipal water to the colony. A good spell of normal monsoon season would suffice. Smart Cities are the final frontiers for new business. We must all strive to achieve this. A perfect blend of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations –

Profit – People – Planet.

 

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Green Business Idea – Collaborate not Compete to get off the Eco(nomic) crisis


As globalization and technology draw the world together, they create opportunities for innovation that are as great as any in the past three centuries. They create the potential for a second revolution in productivity — but one in which we no longer need to trade ecological assets for economic ones. –The Two Deficits, Part Four

This is one event which almost every super-market shopper has faced. You go out looking for your favoured item and you are always spoilt for choices. Every time there is a better tooth-paste or shampoo or cereal.  Look for an ice-cream and there are dozens vying for your attention. Same with Cars and motorbikes or clothes.

Thus one can divide the products into Food & Processed food, Clothes & Ready-made clothes, Transport & Personal Transport etcetera. Essentially all fall into certain basic categories which can be classified into FOOD-CLOTH-SHELTER, the pillars of modern Economics and foundation of civilization. (explained in my other article)

So if you buy a potato chip…you are buying processed food and just that. Potatoes which have gone through the same process of being selected from a farm, cleaned, cut, fried and added with the desired flavours and packed.

The machinery being used by one manufacturer would perhaps be of the same make of that of the competing brand and they both are purchasing potatoes from the same region, thus the soil and other climatic conditions of growing the product is almost the same or similar. And the packaging is also almost coming from the same source, petroleum or paper pulp.

Yet each similar product claiming that it is unique. Some obviously are. Most aren’t. The only product which can claim to be unique every-time even when being manufactured in the same region are the ones we get naturally. I rest my case with the humble chilly.

And it is this Biodiversity which we need to protect and preserve. Else no brand can claim that they have “spice” in their flavour for their would be nothing to spice up sooner than later.

There is a move called The Lorax. A movie I would request the more knowledgeable to acknowledge byI screening it in Davos 2014.A movie which has been able to capture how desire turn into greed and how we Humans have lost the focus of why we started to work in the first place. It was primarily for sustenance of self and dependants. Which in turn was to give us happiness – safety – security.

While the protagonist at the end is able to save the World by saving a species from extinction, I do not know if many amongst us would like to place our bets on saving the Human species when we meet for the World We Want 2015.

“Why this children film and not Al Gore‘s – An Inconvenient Truth?” some would ask. Simple !  If we had achieved the goal in our life-time then the Millennium Development Goals would not have been mooted. It would have been a subject in History for our children to study.

“Problems are inevitable in any development program; failure is not.” –  Fail- Safe Management; A World Bank Publication.

Continuing from my last , where it is more than evident that Business are suffering and going to suffer severely in the coming years, innovation is the only adaptation choice we are left with. The doubters can read on the unprecedented flood of Central Europe posted barely a few hours ago.

The Green Business Idea  I’m about to suggest will be full of problems and as with many of my ideas half-baked and not thoroughly researched. Only soul-searched.

Brand shown here is only for literary purpose only.

Let’s talk of Potato Chips as an example. I do not know how many brands are there in the World but the Top 20 Potato Chip Brands have similar or different info-graphics showcasing that their brand is the best. And has World dominion.  What I do know however is that there always would be a Numero uno (first) and a Numero último (last). And there would also be some which are Numero acabado or terminado ! Because they could not compete in the cut-throat competition of the fickle consumerist modern society we call the modern civilization. Failure has nothing to do with quality (at times) but perceptions and trend and many micro & macro factors. Ask any cell-phone manufacturer. Or concept car maker. Or even a steel company.

So does that mean that the people who are rendered jobless are not worthy or the potato which made the chip not natural ? It is neither. When you are given a finite resource – man & material; there is so much you can do.

Try eating a full 7 course lunch just after having a hearty break-fast.Or try eating the same hearty break-fast say of farm – fresh apples in a non apple growing season.You can’t! Apples you will get, but they won’t be farm-fresh but freshly frozen.

Same happens for labour, what was achieved on this date can’t be achieved on the same date next month or next year. And even if it is attempted; not by the same set of persons. Some may not be around any more.

Thus with finite resources and finite work opportunities what we have led ourselves into is what in Hindu Mythological term is called – “Chakravuyu”. One in which to enter is easy but to come-out is difficult. When I say difficult I mean just that. Not impossible. As explained in the Mahabharata, when one is guided by the inner conscience of self and is of stead-fast mind devoid of greed and complete surrender to duty the chakravuyu can be broken as it was by Arjuna.

Equality and Equal opportunity can always prevent grief. And for that we need to collaborate. And it can be sustainable.

If we create only 4 hours of work per person with the same amount of pay or less ( as foretold – a difficult situation ) we almost eliminate joblessness.

Joblessness is a huge strain to the economy in form of payout of dole, social security etcetera.

Jobs of the people who are out of work, for example from a recently closed European TV company. Surely there would be experts in that pool who can fill in the shoes of those who need to put 14 -16 hours a day working for another TV studio, somewhere in another European or Asian or American Nation. And although having jobs; are equally miserable because of lack of time for self and family.

This misery manifests into anger and discontentment and is vented by protest and lock-outs demanding higher wages; knowing fully well that there aren’t any option of having a better time management and a better life. So the least they can do for their kith and kin is earn a few dollars more with an almost mirage like hope that money would make things better and give them a better life.

Imagine if we had 4 hours shifts.

For the same job we could have 6 people employed. That is an decrease by 6 times the unemployed ratio. A huge sociopolitical pressure can get released. It also allows for social engineering wherein population control as well as population management would be possible. Simply because when people are content, they readily accept radical ideas. (Sustainable Living and Climate Initiative: Socio-Political Decisions can have a profound effect on it.)

In the similar fashion instead of a Potato chip company on its way of becoming International giant – Giants by default trample everything that comes underneath it – becomes a benevolent benefactor and employs or buys the full produce from the near defunct smaller company at a fair price ( a price which that company would have naturally got had it been profitable) and or allows them to sell the lead produce with transfer of technology (with guaranteed non breach of secrecy contract). This way the giant does not have to grow its “very own” potato and thus destroy a paddy field and perhaps the livelihood of those with it. And compound the already fragile food scarcity issue.

And

Every season we allow for a certain amount of produce of a particular crop be produced internationally. Pooled at a common source and distributed as per demand amongst Nations above and beyond a standard quota which is equal for all. We thereby (hopefully) would not have Wheat rotting in the open storage pens, we would not have hunger and neither would there be a strain in giving the Minimum Support Price. (a very difficult problem but not impossible to solve).

It can be done for minerals and metals  too. Thus the service and manufacturing sectors of all hues can slowly and surely be able to reduce its destructive and unsustainable foot-print.

However, this would only be possible if Nations have able Governance and non-corrupt Government. India can’t presently take the lead. But by mooting this idea in the International fora can at-least be seen as a serious player in the goal to attain Sustainable Living and abating Climate Change as per the MDS vision.

 

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Green Business Ideas for the future Cities


During my recent visit to Birla Institute of Technology & Science, (Goa campus) I was given an opportunity to talk to a class of students on the synergy between Renewable Energy & Future technology with its potential business applications. Not being an expert in any of the subject, I considered the path of least resistance. That is to put forth a few Green Business Ideas and with the talent pool BITS has, if there would be any viability in my ideas, they would perhaps be the best bet to make them happen.

By default, I have never attempted to invent the wheel. It needs a superior mind to be the inventor. But, I have some confidence in exploiting a tool to its maximum benefit by tweaking it just a little. Thus, a few thoughts came into my mind.

On my last invite to BITS – Goa, I was fortunate to meet some of the best minds of the country which inspired me to come up with a thought which I penned down as Solar Laptop & Mobile : In your store by next summer? While researching for my impending lecture this time around, I found that the idea has already been implemented.(article). Not in the exact way I had written about but we already have a piezoelectric laptop and jogging shoe. And  among many inventors some of the protagonists are Indians too. The only feather missing was the name of a primer Indian institute. Its time the Indian Engineering students change that. However I was  glad to find young achievers in a lesser known Nagpur institution the Nuva College of Engineering when it came to the piezoelectric shoe (article). Here I found people who are already doing parallel research and achieving the same concepts.

I am not sure how many young minds in India are even aware of The National Innovation Foundation.? As with every meaningful governance tool, it too languishes in a dusty corner with no real attempt by the Ministry of Science and Technology to promote it among the masses in a sustained and populist way. If one sees the site, some of the products although brilliant, have not found currency in the fast modern megalopolis simply because most innovation have not reached the market, barring an amazing few.

The need of the hour is that we have a constant dedicated media, specially a visual media which keeps showcasing the excellent Green Ideas which is being thought the world over. If India can achieve this one single act, I’m sure that brilliant young minds would showcase more and more concepts of efficient living. It would and should become a platform for exchange between the academia : business doing a greater good to this resource depleted planet.

It is said that Ideas can save a life, believing in this I put forth a few more ideas to the students at BITS – Goa.

The first thing I said was that one could revisit the piezoelectric powered lap-top and see if they could harness  the ambient light emitting form the screen into small photo-voltaic panels fitted just above the key-board space. And can a battery also be developed which could convert the waste-heat into power? True the initial contraption may be an extension (accessory) rather than a part of the computer, but it would help extend the charge thus reducing drawing of power from the grid.

The concept could perhaps be extended to large computer Server Rooms. Server rooms by default have to be kept cool 24x7x365 thus a huge drain on electrical power to run air-conditioners. Therefore can it be possible that the heat being exhausted by the server fans be directed to a metal plate which has its other end super cool, thus inducing a current, which then forms part of the energy demand of the air-conditioners ?

While in 2009 Maxell did created a near recycled battery and also conceptualized the reverse supply chain, not much traction is seen on it. Simply because we always lack the money and might to do a good thing. The other day, while discarding a dozen coin cell / button batteries from my child’s toys I was deeply disappointed that none were rechargeable. And there was no shop or scrap-dealer ready to take them. Simply because they have no resale value, weighing between 1.9 gram to 2.6 gram the 10 pieces could have hardly moved the scale to excite a scrap metal vendor. However if the same calculation is applied as I did in the article Green Business Ideas – CDM methods for Steel Production.the result too would be in million tonnes of steel.

I wondered if the promoters of POSCO steel plant which is facing the ire of the Odisha villagers would consider, the idea of innovative recycle. But then we are always happy to rip and rape life-style and virgin land rather than think sensibly. After all most of us are intelligent human devoid of silly sentiments of saving Earth. We are smart enough, when the time comes to relocate to another living planet in the Universe! So what if we don’t have the address, we can always ask it from the doomsday cults who keep sighting aliens.

Bio-degradable batteries

So the next best Idea which young achievers could look at is bio-degradable cells. Already there is a lot of research on-going but I’ve yet to see a button battery which is bio-degradable. The thought itself is so exciting, because different branches of engineering students, within the campus can group together to devise the perfect tool.

Perhaps they could design a Mobile phone or adopt one of the path-breaking concept of a Grass -phone but add more piratical concepts and look to at it. Then engineer the battery area in a way so that button cells are no longer  required but the ones which are bio-degradable can be used. Even the new lithium-ion batteries which are paper-thin and bio-degradable need to be developed further to be made for mass consumption and cheaper. Which then can be applied to the host of  futuristic smart phone designs which are already being showcased. And to add on to the technology of Mobile phones there are two more areas of research. The first one is to develop an “App” which can control the cell-phone camera; when detached from the phone and stuck to a wall or placed on a table to shoot self-portraits. It is almost a necessity, which almost all cell-phone users must have faced one time or the other. The detached camera can be controlled for zoom and focus via blue-tooth while the applications helps set that perfect screen-shot with the desired back-ground. No more waiting for strangers to click ones photo, blurred or shaken and missing some vital elements the photographer would have wanted !

The second more closer to my thoughts is a simple layman friendly mobile phone application which could measure the ambient light in a room and rightly advice, post keying in the information as to how many lights and at what temperature the Air-conditioner should be set, vis-a-vis light transmission from the windows at day-time and the out-side temperature prevalent. This would make sense even in LEED certified building as because complete automation of lighting controls on an hour to hour basis is not yet prevalent and not all homes have the automation facility which one may find in offices, which are more given to better energy management.

While it can not be denied that institutions world over have some of the most brilliant innovations happening, the Indian scenario needs to improve further. As is the case of the piezoelectric driven laptop, where the Indian scientist are doing the research in Australia; we need more scientist doing research in India itself. It is only then we shall be able to have products which are cheaper and more affordable to the masses.

Ideas like piezoelectric should find currency and support from both business and government alike because the seer population of India would be a boon to such renewable energy development. It is time we have people looking at the applications of piezoelectric as the west is doing so actively.

And here the role of institutions become important in terms of indigenous design and development.

 

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Green Business Ideas – Abandoned coalfields can boost RE and save forest in India.


Through this article, an attempt is being made to be on the top rung of the IWR-2012. We as a Nation must understand the meaning of Wealth as opposed to Riches. As the World reels in the clutch of economic depression; of its own making through continued myopic vision of the leadership, India my beloved nation is gearing up to tear away the last remaining virgin forests in the name of “development”. That development is a fundamental right of humans, the right of live of all living beings (trees, animals and even moss, lichen and bacteria)  and their importance in keeping this world alive can’t be discounted. As always, I abhor unlawful protest and mindless activism, but would attempt to find an idea for mankind to earn more riches but in the process create & preserve the natural wealth of the Nation.

In the recent report published, it is stated that the USA is abandoning RET for cheaper Gas. Many companies especially in the Solar PV business have closed shop.This is primarily because, people will adopt technologies which are cheaper. To this argument I have only one question to ask, is Gas renewable energy? It is not and it has its own set of problems, both ecological as well as geopolitical. Thus if the sum-total is added up, Gas is not cheaper as it is presented via a series of complex mathematical calculations. These calculations are made by “experts” who have no expertise on the environmental and ecological consequence. Neither are the experts on the physiological impact it would bring in the long term on the Peoples who, addicted as they are to fossil fuel go into depression, for want of continuous supply of the same. Every middle east upheaval can be attributed to this fear of change in the absence of another addictive fossil fuel, Oil. On whose slippery ground the modern civilization stands today. As far as I know in the India context, we are having a major Geopolitical tension with our Northern neighbours, who seem to be claiming a sea zone for itself. Although War is also a form of ‘renewable’ action, I don’t think it is sustainable and green, just as the shale gas for which we are going into so much trouble.

While we have some time unlike the USA, to really have an impact from gas; we surely have created a World record recently – by having the largest grid failure in the history of the civilized world. And this has renewed the baying for more coal field allocation, which is fatal to the preservation of the Ecosystem.

A modern Nation, with weak infrastructure is a recipe for disaster, as it becomes vulnerable to external malicious attacks. Imagine if we are in a grid-lock, with all  critical systems off-line ( although external defence may have back-ups but civil defence in disarray would only cause problems) and disaster strikes. Either natural or man-made, the resulting mayhem is to scary to discuss.  And this is exactly the matter which the mandarins at the Capital must be discussing. The sudden explosive actions across the Nation to increase electric tariff and diesel price, points to the direction that the last remaining saner voices within the administration are being heard and untenable subsidy may be on the way out.

The danger however is that, historically politicians across the world have a very myopic vision but superb oratory skill. And with this Devil – gifted skill, they would convince the Nation that “coal-gate scam” is actually a boon. And we must allow to rip the heart of Mother Earth ever more and extract coal, to fuel our thermal power plants and thus produce more electricity. And a few more Nuclear plants would actually ease the pain .

Environment be dammed! Already preparation are on to create a sham of the Madhav Gadgil report on the western ghats, which suggests detailed recommendations and suggestions on preservation of the Ecologically sensitive region which has even got the UNESCO status. ( details in DNA news).

But, as in all problems my beloved Nations faces, in this Great National Blackout too I see a fantastic Green Business opportunity. Together we the people, the environmentalists and the think-tanks can help our Corporate Czars, perhaps members of CIICESD and WBCSD to build upon the renewable energy options and reap the benefits. Before we delve into it let us first understand coal.

Coal is perhaps one of the most important discovery which catapulted the human civilization to its present form. Coal has various grades Lignite, Sub-bituminous coal,Bituminous coal, Steam coal, are mostly used for industrial purpose, where as Peat, Anthracite, Graphite have also found use in residential heating, agriculture and making lubricants and most importantly the Pencil . However the primary use of coal lets say to keep it simple, is for two basic purpose – It is primarily burned for the production of electricity and/or heat, and is also used for industrial purposes such as refining metals. The five largest coal users – China, USA, India, Russia and Japan – account for 77% of total global coal use. Coal & Oil along with their derivatives are here to stay and no amount of protest would stop its use and extraction completely. Let us not for a minute, forget that even the rudiments of protest which we as environmentalists are advocating & sharing via electronic media today would  be possible if the production of coal is stopped abruptly. Because we are using the very infrastructure built via use of coal.  Over the ages, with knowledge which we had during that time, coupled with complete absence of any form of protest against pollution; we have built this modern high-carbon life style completely dependent on one form of carbon or other.

However, if concerted action is taken we can within an acceptable and accelerated time-frame perhaps be able to switch over to more cleaner and renewable options which are already available in the alternative energy basket. And the way forward may be the idea I’m about to present. It would in no way be perfect, but just a seed of thought which I’m sure people with expertise can work on. And coupled with the renewable energy mission our country is attempting to take, we may just be able to increase  that scope. Especially Solar, Hybrid Solar  and Solar thermal power stations. And I propose another type of idea that which may be named – Geo-thermal + Hybrid solar, if it finds currency among the experts. And to this I appeal CAN-International, WRI and Green Peace International to find the experts who could make this possible.

Having established that Coal ( as is oil & gas ) is  a fuel, we need to see where it is being used. Again to keep it simple, we will take the largest consumers namely – 1. The Steel Plants  2. The Thermal Power plants.

In India, our steel plants come under the banner of Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and they are situated in the city of  Bokaro, Bhilai, Rourkela and Durgapur. To begin with let’s see look at the area a steel plant requires and what are the allied industries within it or at close proximity. Clicking on the image one would be able to zoom into the Rourkela Steel plant, Odisha.  On one end you would notice the Slag dumping ground and exactly opposite between the CISF grounds and the Diesel Colony railway station, a massive coal yard. The coal to this plant comes from  the once beautiful place around the now famous Mahanadi Coal fields thermal power plant area  around the historic IB river valley between  Jharsuguda, Brajrajnagar and Belpahar. ( “Bel” = wood apple + pahar = hill, one should know that there are no more hills because the open cast mining has ripped this place apart ) and the the iron-ore from the last dense forest cover of Kiri Buru. A place so beautiful that it could have made one of the best hill-station of that region, if humans had not found iron -ore there.  While my limited knowledge can’t find the alternate to steel, it is however a different matter about how we can limit the use of coal.

To begin with, let us switch the use of coal as being envisaged for thermal power plants  in the  steel plants too. And use Solar Photo Voltaic to the extent possible. As the supply of coal becomes more and more scarce, the massive land area within the Steel plants which has to stock up coal  can easily be converted into land for Concentrated Solar Power panels. Coal is required as a fuel, to be burnt in blast furnaces to produce heat to produce steel. Now if we can still provide the heat through heating coils, which are powered by CSP, the job can be done. The fundamentals would be more or less the same which is being advocated by NREL Coupled with heat recovery units and in time other innovations, CSP may well be able to supply the electricity required for night-time operations too, perhaps with Nickel–iron battery (NiFe Batteries) which are reborn and  presently showing promise better than the Lithium-ion batteries. But it is obvious that the land required to produce the amount of electricity needed will not be sufficient within the plant premise. For this I would like to draw our attention to the following.

The attached     table    on degraded and wasteland  from a research paper by Indian  Council  of Agricultural Research and National Academy of Agricultural   Sciences       (double click on image for full report) shows that we have an average of 133.95 Million Hectares of degraded and wasteland. A detailed and easy to understand report it warns of the impending food crisis and climate change due to the continuous degradation of land. Excerpts – Forests occupy about 19.4% of the total geographical area of the country against the ideal requirement of 33%…. Per capita availability of inelastic land resource is rapidly declining in  relation
to annual population growth of 1.4% in the country.  Increasing GDP growth is expanding urbanization and industrialization and, therefore, more and more of agricultural lands are being utilized for non-agricultural purposes. The complex interplay of natural and anthropogenic processes compounds problems of land-use planning further. Maintaining and enhancing productive potential of our land resources is vital for progressive introduction of sustainable technologies, and thereby resilience in crop production….This challenge must and needs to be met in the face of the changing consumption patterns, impacts of the climate change and degradation of the finite land and water resources. Management of land resources, in general, and potentially cultivable lands in particular, encompasses, crop production methods that will keep pace with country’s food needs, sustaining environment, blunting impacts of climate change, preserving and enhancing natural resources, and supporting livelihood of farmers and rural population in the country. Thus, there is a pressing need for enlarging area under arable lands, by the way of reclaiming degraded lands for sustainable intensification of agriculture, in which crop yields can be increased without compromising and yielding to adverse environmental impacts and without reducing area under forests…. Land degradation, like climate change, is an anthropogenic induced process and poses biggest threat to sustainable livelihood security of the farming communities across the country. All of these factors combined with increased rate of land degradation are contributing towards decline in agricultural productivity leading to food insecurity. Since land resources are finite, requisite measures are required to reclaim degraded and wastelands, so that areas going out of cultivation due to social and economic reasons are replenished by reclaiming these lands and by arresting further loss of production potential.
In all this dark and doom, one can see that India’s democratic foundation is strong and its institutions work. Only the reports which can actually make a positive impact gets buried in Crony Capitalism and narrow political agenda of a few. That there is a rot in the cart of apples is evident, therefore the better ones are in grave danger and need all the more to connect to the pulse of the people and do the right thing.

And if the recent buzz is to be believed we are going to lose a massive forest cover sooner than later for mining coal for feeding our thermal power and steel plants. And this can be reduced if not stopped.

And that would be to identify the completely degraded land and set up Solar plants in them to offset the needs of the power and steel industry. According to the Wasteland Map of India–NRSA data, land which comes under Physical degradation that is – Mining and industrial waste 0.19 million hectares; Water-logging (permanent surface inundation) 0.88 million hectares; and as per Salt-Af fected Soils Map of India,CSSRI, NBSS & LUP, NRSA and others, land under Chemical degradation ie; Exclusively salt affected soils amount to 5.44million hectares.

If one visits the coal -belt area between Durgapur Steel Plant and Asansol ( Burnpur steel from British era ) and halt at Andal junction, one would find huge tracts of waste land, where not even a single blade of grass grow. While underground mining is relatively better for the ecology  but how far biological reclamation is possible needs to be understood, as this Newsletter of ISEB India has touched upon.  Therefore one suggestion could be that solar power plants be installed in these degraded land. Even the permanent water logged abandoned mine areas and contaminated water from the mines which are run-off can be taken into good use by converting them into the mini-source of water, which is what in the form of steam runs the turbines of a thermal power plant to generate electricity.

And the most important innovation would be to tap into the heat of the smouldering underground fire which these vast mine fields have ignited.By using Geothermal Technology. It is a phenomena found World wide and I can not fathom how the great corporate Czars have not yet thought of exploring this heat to electricity and earn a Noble Prize in the process.

The Greatest Green Business Idea till now would be that with one deft stroke, where-ever possible ( everything is possible if economics do not come in the way, just as it does not when a Nation hosts the Olympics, spending billions on stadia which would hardly see the same amount of use, ever again ) degraded land especially near Steel plants and Thermal power plants need to install CSP. And capture the latent heat from the vast burning underground coal fields to supplement the night-time requirements.   A strong policy which looks into the aspects of support as required by this fledgling RET industry must be given. And for those who are wondering how to capture the heat from the burning coal-fields just read-up on geo-thermal technology.

As mentioned in my earlier article, the private sector is already geared up to meet this challenge and some of the players would jump into the opportunity of Build Own Operate and Transfer model (BOOT).  The challenge is would the media house and the top environment NGO’s take this matter up to create a crescendo of public awareness, thus making the government take action !

Note:  The images used have their original urls attached to them (and the articles therein are a must read) as are underlined links which contain the complete story to support this article. These images are only for representation purpose, however if the idea in the article helps recover any waste land for good use, I shall be grateful.

 

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Green Business Ideas: the missing LEED/GRIHA credits can help boost economy worldwide.


 

The World over, corporates and politicians have used the bogey of financial crisis and slow economic growth to push wrong agendas, where the Planet and the People have always suffered to Profit a few. Be it building Dams & Bridges, decimating forest and sea-bed, GM food or Nuclear Power, limited understanding and short-term success have historically given way to disaster. It is time to pause and not give in to pressures and the bogey of economic collapse.  And it is specially true for India. Because as an emerging Nation we can use our collective intellect and find new avenues of economic prosperity. Why can we not create our own indices of growth and innovate ?

Quoting a few paras form the DNA News paper

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the state government will urge prime minister Manmohan Singh to scrap a notification which has restricted high-rises and “stopped real estate activity” in the city. Speaking at a function to inaugurate the LBS Road flyover constructed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on Friday, Chavan said the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) said high-rises in the country can only be built along roads which were wider than 30m. “In Mumbai, there are only two such roads,” Chavan said. He said this had “stopped real estate activity in Mumbai” Chavan said while everyone was worried about the repercussions of the global financial crisis on the country, with an impact of the slowdown being evident in many sectors, it was necessary for Mumbai to grow economically as it was the economic capital of the country. “If the country has to weather this (crisis), then Mumbai has to be the engine of growth… So, Mumbai’s infrastructure must be world class,” he added.

While, no one can deny the need for economic boost and given the  high-carbon “chakravyuh” (see definition) we have bound our modern civilization to, without destroying the ecosystem in some form or other, Humans can’t progress. Even towards the ideal low-carbon life-style we all strive for. However, it would be folly to find quick fix or half baked solutions,which would not only add to Climate Change but the effort would in itself be counter-productive, thus leading to a spiralling situations of throwing more effort and precious resources to correct the bad.

Reading further into other related News in the DNA paper one finds – The opening of Kurla flyover will clog the entire Kurla station area as the bridge narrows down to two-lane road on its either side. Residents said the flyover that was opened is originally a part of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) and should have been elevated.

It does not need a rocket scientist to understand that taking wrong decisions would only lead towards disasters and difficulty for the common person.It is easy for an orator to sway the people in thinking that the recommendations and laws are for the common good, while the truth is completely different. Had it not been so,  towns/ villages  just 100 KM from our great cities would not be still lacking basic amenities.

The MoEF’s recommendation to disallow any high rise on roads less than 30m was not taken by the officials on whim & fancy. Environmental matters are complex. The cause and effects of an environmental disaster are always long term. Flash point do not occur in the blink of an eye, but builds over time which can’t be understood by the common person. And never by those whose sole goal is self preservation.

Let us focus on the article at hand. For Mumbai to grow, we need to build high rises and give into the demands of the builders. While it is absolutely true that the building industry is the single largest consumer of all the industrial sectors and its growth would indeed help boost the economy, I would disagree to the argument that by discarding the MoEF laws we would be doing a service to the Nation and the Planet .

Using many of my previous articles as continuity and support to this article, such as –

Green Townships.;Sustainable Cities – Why town planning is important.

Green Business Ideas: Carbon Credits opportunities in Green Townships.

Urban Development Rules: How C40 -City rules can make a difference for India.

Green Business Ideas : P.M.Manmohan Singh’s idea of Terminal Market Complex is a superb Green Idea which needs to be implemented

I have covered as simply as possible the ways we can develop our country, especially the Building and construction sector  including briefly touching on the subject of Water & Food, without which there would be no cities. And continuing from there I would like to state that we need  pragmatic thoughts to truly make our India a strong and Green Nation. And therefore sharing a few thoughts which I hope, the experts and the influential would find some spark with which they can create a truly brilliant idea to move this Nation forward.

1. It has been stated by some experts that reserved land by MADHA and the Port  Trust of Mumbai should be freed. I disagree, instead with strong laws we must completely make over the dilapidated areas of the old city. With strong laws, which does not allow for any protest, equitable distribution of space must be allocated to those who are presently residing while making room for more.

For example a proper town plan be made, and as per the design allocate  the plots to existing and new citizens.  Irrespective of the size of the earlier tenements all would get  plots or flats as per the master plan. Any legally valid extra space which would have been the property of a citizen in the old town, must then get converted into bonds  and handed to the rightful owner. Which they can in-cash in buying property in other part of the city by the same builder or simply have that converted into cash.

This will enable builders and planners to have the required town planning laws in place, have more 30 meter wide roads to build high-rises alongside open spaces which is for safety & extremely vital to allow percolation of rain-water which would increase the water table. Because with development density the most important factor would be the requirement of water, which is already scarce. I have tried to capture the grim prospect of water in Green Business Ideas – Sell water at the price of petrol – and reap the ‘fringe’ benefits.  but I know that I’m not even close to the  serious situation this one subject demands.

2. The present FSI / TDR laws must be revamped as many seek but, with impetus given to grant higher FSI only in the satellite city of Navi Mumbai and the likes of tier II cities such as  Nashik, Sholapur and Ahemadnagar etc, with great planning and speedy approval of rapid transit systems. While the  transit systems would take time to  develop to the world-class standards, given the vote bank politics, cumbersome and archaic laws and simple lethargy and ignorance of ground realities within various government departments; we can definitely take the IT industry, in which we are the world leaders to the next level.

In the article VoIP – “Skype” the new medium to reduce Global Warming ? the concept which I had suggested is already a hit in the UNFCCC and even the Climate Group responded by providing me an article which shows the use of VoIP  to have a 5 Nation meet, pre Rio+20 summit. Saving huge amount of GHG emission and hard currency.

If we are truly  in the 21st century then why do we everyday travel to and fro from place of work to home and vice versa, especially those who have a desk job? Imagine developing gated townships which would by default have a business / convention centre and the residents of the township need to travel just that distance ( by bi-cycle preferably or walking ) and link up to their HQ offices?

Various distinct benefits can be derived – A] Smaller HQ office, this saves a lot of money for the company. B] Cheaper office spaces in the satellite townships. C] Better retention of talent who otherwise would find the commute difficult and accommodation within the Megalopolis unaffordable. D] Less traffic and pollution.

To give this idea a boost, the government both the state and centre should come up with laws and incentives which encourage these developments. In fact the LEED & GRIHA  green building rating system should incorporate these suggestions  as  credit points, which on achieving or attempting to achieve by the developer/builder,would open various incentives by the State & Centre. And they need not be directly monetary in nature.

3. The incentives which are actually required are already accepted recommendation at the centre. On January 7th 2010 at New Delhi during a stake holder meet initiated by GRIHA & MNRE the suggestion to have a single window clearance for all Green Building 3-star to 5 star  or Silver to Platinum LEED rated building should be 3 months maximum was accepted, this kind of acts can reduce the cost to builders a great extent. However, we do not see much traction at this end. Even the announcement of the then MoEF minister of preferential clearances for Green projects have not found much favour. And there are multiple reasons for that. The economic downturn, unfavourable land use policies and the most important, rampant corruption, which does not let good thing come to pass. Here again, if the public and private sector do rise up to innovation a lot of transparency can happen.

Single window clearance can’t be denied if the developer has been able to fix his designs and plans in accordance to all laws and developed the complete project in 3D and express it in the virtual reality. In the article Green Business Ideas : Virtual World Design can save the real world losses.an attempt has been made to show that how already existing practice can be taken to the next level of innovation and perhaps with active participation of ideas from experts the  3P agenda can truly be achieved :- Planet – People – Profit.

4. Regulation and control where it is most required must be put and decontrol of  building materials like cement/steel with a minimum and maximum price band must be put in place. No free market run, when it comes to development of the cities of India. As for the revamping of the megalopolis, as I have mentioned in my earlier article land prices too must have a cap. An upper limit and a lower limit for plots in different locations must be fixed and that can’t be crossed by law. More on this idea is mentioned in Affordable Housing: The Simples rules required.This would make a level playing field for cost-effective construction and affordable housing. In the flip side the good developers would themselves create sustainable buildings thus a Sustainable city would take shape.

Let all of us understand, and the layman more so, that a building life-span is a minimum 50 years. A bad infrastructure & town-planning today would make the suffering of the citizens  last for 50 more years, are we ready for that ?

 

 

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Green Business Ideas : How about taking the polluting industries to Moon ?


Sometime during the era of USA President Ronald Regan, a since-fiction became reality. It was called the Biosphere 2. Around the same time we had our Sky-lab and in a book by Erich Von Danikën an artist impression of a Space City Although this article is not about God or Space travel, reading Von Danikën  has given me a futuristic Green Business Idea relevant for the present but perhaps a mission which could become a reality in the near future.

What if we take all our mining activities to the Moon ? And the heavy engineering and production activities too? ISRO has already mapped various minerals found in the moon. And this was not done by the International Space and Scientific community because they wanted to spend some idle time they had between their regular work. Both Moon and Mars are possible destinations for us to find the minerals we need with Moon being more possible in the near future. And the sooner we recognise the matter the better it would be for Earth.

We all know that Colonising the Moon and Mars is simply not possible. At least not with the present technology and understanding we have of it, but having a mining station on the Moon is another matter altogether. Something which can rest under similar hermetically sealed cities like the Biosphere 2. The technology is available to us. All we require is to pause form the silly wars we like to fight with each other and spend our energy into something constructive. Perhaps the war-mongers who make their business form sale of war materials would find changing their vocation to space pursuits more profitable.

We had begun well in the era between 1968 – 1986  but somewhere down the line we simply forgot about it. Fortunately it began again a few years ago when Virgin started  thinking of passenger space ship, and the Virgin Galactic Space Hotel. What if we can have Space stations which could act as Mid-way between Earth & Moon for  (Space) Shipping ?  Imagine if the CIICESD and other such institutions come together and in the Rio+20 UNFCCC summit, and WBCSD review on their cornerstone Vision 2050 report, which calls for a new agenda for business laying out a pathway to a world in which nine billion people can live well, and within the planet’s resources, by mid-century. The report is a consensus piece that was compiled by 29 leading global companies from 14 industries and is the result of an 18 month long combined effort between CEOs and experts, and dialogues with more than 200 companies and external stakeholders in some 20 countries.

That modern human can not live its present high-carbon economy life-style, without raising the Global temperature to 3.5°C leading to catastrophic Climate Change is a given. It is also a given, that no amount of persuasion would turn the people,  me included; to  live a frugal life-style which is truly carbon negative. Centuries of industrialisation has programmed us to live in a certain fashion; we  fancy that we can make do without many things, but its wise to recognise that even the tools which we use for protest and raise awareness about climate change is in itself a product of the very same GHG producing industry and life-style. Therefore while we should be concerned about those who do not want to do ‘their bit’ we must also understand their concerns and try to work things from their perspective too.

Imagine, if the USA & Canada the non-signatories of Kyoto Protocol and the fence sitters like Russia & Japan who do not want to ratify KP2  agree to pool in their collective resources taking along the support of the BASIC Nations, to speed up the Vision 2050. The fear and uncertainty which the leading Nations face about  losing out their numero uno position would ease, because whether one likes it or not, when it comes to cutting edge science the USA still has the edge with other Developed Nations close behind. And therefore we must pamper its ego ( with some financial backing & negotiations ) to devise ways as how soon we can remove all GHG producing manufacturing units form the planet Earth.

It would not solve the energy problem though. There is no way we can produce energy in space and transport them back to Earth. For that the combination of Renewable Energy & Alternate Energy must be explored in tandem and improved upon.

But by being able to stop Mining for minerals we would perhaps be able to save the Forests. Also if we produce steel in 1/6th the gravity we could perhaps have a better product and less Smog. Thus only finished products need to be made on Earth while the smelting and mining activities taken up on the Moon. Moreover, should Nations gear up for the idea, immediate employment opportunities would arise. People would  not only require Astronauts / Cosmonauts /Vyomanauts ( Indian) who are high-end engineers and doctors but also maintenance  technicians, janitors and other services. As in the initial days the best of the best would be drawn upon, it would create more employment opportunities for those who are unemployed at present. And even on terra firma ancillary and support would itself generate more work opportunities.

Lastly, the question that is fundamental is where would we get the money for this  adventure ? Strangely, very few question the same when Nations allocate funds to their War coffers or Bale-out packages or Grants /Loans given to other Countries for vested interest. Where does that money come from? If World Leaders are able to produce and justify the source, surely they can re-allocate some for advancement of Science. Moreover its their job to create more employment and business opportunities. With present economies plateauing, new avenues must get explored.

A futuristic Green Idea for sure…but to insure we do have a future in this only living planet ..we must look beyond the obvious. And perhaps OASIS, ALBA and LDC  should do a Tharir Square   on the UNSC to have a mindset regime change. For they are going to face the brunt of Climate Change, should nothing gets done.

 

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Sustainable Business will lead to Sustainable Earth, effortlessly.


Cover for Sustainable Business Wikibook.

The Corporate world as we all know  is a place where people are over worked and under paid with little or no place for personal life. It’s a pressure cooker for the mind & soul! The only product which every company produces, irrespective of what its Article of Association or Company charter states – is STRESS!

This trend needs to be arrested and already many are whispering solutions to this endemic  problem.  Stress brings into play various emotions, and the worst of them is Ego. The false idea that ones contribution in aggrandizement  of untold wealth for the Company  absolves him/her from the moral path of Sustainable Business practice, especially in the context of saving the Environment from Human induced Climate Change.

‘Production targets’;  ‘achievement of goal’ for promotion of self up the ladder of corporate hierarchy by making a ‘killing’; in the marketing and having a ‘fat bottom-line’ in the corporate graph can be only achieved by destruction of sustainability of self-morals in most cases and harm to the Environment always.

But do the people who are doing such “nasty things” (as the radicals would say  who  you find gathered outside every UNFCCC summit, shouting slogans and waving flags – without actually writing down anything meaningful  in terms of solution in those placards)  really doing this because they have some vengeful reason against Mother Earth?  Are  they really at fault ? My opinion is a resounding NO !

Cover for the Sustainable Business Booklet.

Let’s understand why I say this;  For example – Who decides the production target ? Could it be the managers who are mostly if not all, are  MBA graduates and Chartered  Accountants  along with a few Lawyers? People who have been conditioned through their student years to represent everything as numbers and take the help of lawyers to bulldoze any form of resistance which may assume a life-form? Can they really understand what it means to stand still for a minute among pristine and lush green forest, atop a hill – without thinking how much money they could make by selling the wood of the trees, ripping the heart out of the hill to extract its ore, etcetera ?

And if not why ? It’s because, the very things which is being condemned today, were laudable achievements worthy of high-status and prestige in the immediate past before Climate Change started to threaten the very existence of Homo Sapiens.   Somewhere from Generation Jones of the 50’s  as we crossed  by  the Flower Power Generation of the 1960 to  zip into the Generation X then Y and now Z or M ( for multi-tasking ) Peoples lost the Art of Living…. To stop by the side of the road and smell the flowers swaying in the meadows or just dropping by for tea unannounced in a friends house. Getting up on Monday mornings and diving back into the bed …to reach office 15 min late…yet being greeted by a smile. In the post Y2K era, the more aggressive you were, the more cunning;  better were the chance to climb up the corporate ladder. And this trend was stoked into a roaring flame for generations to come…until it consumed itself in form of the Lehmann Brothers saga. And then Fukushima happened.

Ego is harmful to the Ecosystem .  It is the system which needs a serious revamp. And one of the immediate solutions could be that all stream of education must have mandatory the subject of Environment, Health & Safety;  which one needs to pass with distinction, to qualify for any job. Especially managerial, which has the potential of putting a person as the key decision maker in the future. But what is even far more important than this, is to create a sustainable work environment. While its true that the rhythm of life in the 1960’s and now is vastly different, what is important is to recognize the rhythm – of LIFE  and not that of the V-8 engine of the new fast car bought with a fistful of Dollars.

The disconnect  between  Crony Capitalism  and  Sustainable Capitalism must be surgically clean cut, if we want to see Earth survive into the next century without  injury.  For the wounds of the Earth would heal in a millennia or two but for the Human, it would mean Extinction. And to save ourselves we must  sit back and reflect on what we do. And to reflect on thoughts, one needs time.  Time means,  a break from the daily skullduggery of high-pressure work. It is only then sensible decisions in all sphere can be taken.  It’s time the Human which is a resource understand that  it gets all its life giving resource from Mother Earth which needs to be nurtured.

And for that radical thoughts need to be applied –  I’m ever amazed by the fact that every country has a graph which shows unemployment yet strangely we have also many vacancies in both corporate and public sector which can not find employees ? This is where I find the solution or perhaps a way forward to an Idea which with collective help from all those who can influence  Governance in Nations must pause to reflect upon. In India, for example if we just take the Police force, one would find that every state is woe-fully short of manpower. Starting from the Top job to the Beat Constable position. And those who are in the job are mostly over worked and disillusioned. This leads to corruption in various forms of which, one can point to the shortage of man-power to police the reserve forests leading to poaching and illegal logging.  Turning focus to the corporate sector one again finds over-worked professionals who although have fat pay packets but  no personal time to enjoy. Partying hard in the night -club does not count as having a sustainable life-style.

In both the cases, should one ask the top most management the reason – various half truths come out. But the answer is very simple. If they employ and fill up every vacant position within the Government sector, where would they be able to find the money to pay salaries? Same goes for the corporate sector.  Thus the grind of life continues as is.

Now when this grind enters the infrastructure and service sectors in a big way, pseudo development takes precedence. Wrong decisions which would  harm the Ecosystem either in the short-term or in the long-term  gets decided. As is the case of new Indian Nuclear power plants or Large Hydro dams in case of China.

Cover for Sustainable Business Booklet.

May be its time the member Nations of the UN come together and draft a resolution that for every task there should be 3 shifts and in each shift a new person. With the age of Computers with Artificial intelligence already there, the argument of how to have 3 CEO’s take a singular decision can be easily solved. Program the main-frame server with an Environment safety regulation program and let the collective decisions of the CEO’s best approach considered as the company agenda.

Imagine having one’s Father/Mother come back from work every day on time to share a bed-time story with the children or taking the family out for dinner. What a Sustainable family that would be. And on growing up the children, responsible and sustainability practising  professionals.

As a result we would have a Sustainable Earth!

 

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Green Business Ideas – Applying Solar OPEX model on Green Buildings will make Grid parity easy.


The Economy is on a slowdown due to negative growth in all sectors in India. Some of it can be attributed to the Global mayhem. To be honest, it could be seen as  a good news. Especially for the Environment and advocates for Sustainable living. World over, humans follow one simple rule. When the going is good, why bother to stop and listen to saner voices ? However, post the Stern Review & SREX report, thing seem to be going towards a better direction. The road to Rio+20 may turn out to be a happy one, should this downtrend in economy continue till the Rio summit, as more and more Economists would advocate to overhaul the present Crony Capitalist model and turn it into Eco-Capitalism and the benefits of Green Business would come to fore. Although the RET (renewable energy technology) industry would wish me luck, most trade guru’s would laugh at my opinion. It would be challenging to prevent a roll back on gains made till date, at Rio+20. As because this is precisely the argument which would come forth -‘The World economy can not afford to go Green’, would be their argument laughing at any new idea brought forth. But they were also laughing at various other predictions of world-class economists and other saner voices before the Lehman Brother episode. It is the most foolish presumption and many, far more intelligent than me, would also agree.

The World Economy needs a review. A fresh approach, when unprecedented Climate change threatens all; institutions like CAN-International, Green Peace, WRI  and all others must grow and spread their influence of good-sense across Nations.  In the UNFCCC‘s Durban summit their stellar performance was evident in getting something out of nothing at all.

America has come up with a new way of conducting Business – ” Benefit Corporation“; I loved the word and the meaning therein – A company for profit of self through Sustainable practices benefiting the environment and  thus the community as a result. And Europe; when unprecedented economic hardships threaten the fabric of society they have come of with wonderful thoughts like  OPEX -Solar. With German and French companies leading the way. Their presence in India will be felt soon.

In my avatar as a Energy Efficient Building consultant, popularly known as Green Building consultant, (and fashioning my firm as a “benefit corporation” henceforth) crossing that last hurdle of having Renewable Energy or Green Power installed, which is not Solar Thermal but Solar PV always proves to be a challenge. While exploring potential in other RE formats, other than wind, has not truly taken off yet.  This led me towards a Green Business Idea. Solar PV in OPEX RE format in all  Certified Green Buildings projects .

India practices two certification programs. One is GRIHA, born out of the NAPCC’s  Mission on Sustainable Habitat and guided by the international think tank TERI. The Eight stated missions of NAPCC is the best hope of India standing tall in the Climate change negotiations at UNFCCC. GRIHA takes into account the Union governments commitment to sustainable habitat across all sections of society both Urban and Rural.

The other is by the business people for the people. CII’s  indigenous version of USGBC’s LEED. Guided by IGBC from its headquarters in Hyderabad, India’s first LEED Platinum Certified building, various certification programs have been dished out.

Both rating system have many common goals but with divergent approach. Let us first identify the common ground each rating possesses with regards to RET   ( renewable energy technology ).

Under Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment one requires –

Commitment: Meet energy requirements for a minimum of 10% of the internal lighting load (for general lighting) or its equivalent from renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, fuel cells, etc). Use renewable energy sources in buildings to reduce the use of conventional/fossil-fuel based energy resources.

Commitment: Ensure that a minimum 50% of the annual energy requirement for heating water (for applications such as hot water for all needs, like for canteen, washing, and bath rooms/toilets, except for space heating) is supplied from renewable energy source.

Under Indian Green Building Council we have many subdivisions, but energy from RET is more or less common, let’s briefly look at the various certification programs and what they say on RET under LEED.

LEED India NC Rating :

7.5%  RE onsite Assess the project for renewable energy potential including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, and bio-gas strategies. When applying these strategies, take advantage of net metering with the local utility.

Green Power Demonstrate that the company has installed green power equivalent to 50% of the total energy requirement of the building, anywhere in the country. This investment should come because of the rated building and should be 50 % of the building consumption.

LEED India CS Rating:

1 -35% RE onsite Engage in at least a 2-year renewable energy contract to provide at least 35% of the core & shell building’s electricity from renewable sources, as defined by the Center for Resource Solutions’ Green-e Energy product certification requirements. Supply a net fraction of the building’s total energy use (as expressed as a fraction of annual energy cost) through the use of on-site renewable energy systems. Use on-site renewable energy systems to offset at least 1% of the building energy costs. Substantiate the project’s compliance on this aspect by expressing the cost of energy produced through renewable sources as a percentage of the building’s total energy cost, annually.

Green Power Demonstrate that the company has installed green power equivalent to 50%of the total energy requirement of the building, anywhere in the country. This investment should come because of the rated building and should be 50 % of the building consumption.Estimate the energy needs of the building on annual basis. Install green power plants in the country, which meets the 100% of the total energy requirement of the building. Green power is derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, or low-impact hydro sources.

Green Homes Rating:

On site RE Install renewable energy systems for at least 5% of the total connected load of the building.

Green Township Rating:

On Site RE Install renewable energy systems to generate power through solar, wind, bio-mass, bio-gas, biodiesel or any other forms of renewable energy so that their installed capacity is at least 20% of the annual energy consumption in areas under the developer’s scope.

Green Power Demonstrate the project has invested in off-site green power for at least 50 % of the total annual consumption in areas under developer’s scope. Estimate the energy needs of the project on annual basis. Install off-site green power plants which meet at least 25 % of the total energy requirement of the project. Green power can be derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, or low impact hydro sources.

Green SEZ Rating :

On Site RE Install renewable energy systems to generate power through solar, wind, bio-mass/ bio-gas, or any other forms of renewable energy for at least 5% of the annual consumption (in  developer’s/ co-developer’s scope).

 Green Power Demonstrate the project has invested in off-site green power for at least 25% of the annual energy consumption in developer’s scope for at least 2 years. Estimate the energy needs of the building on annual basis. Install green power plants offsite which meet the 25 % of the total energy requirement of the building. Green power can be derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, small hydro power plants, etc.,

Green Co Rating :

 On Site RE both Electrical & Thermal To develop concrete action plan for increasing the share of renewable energy generation / utilization of the company. Install on-site renewable energy systems to generate electrical energy through solar, wind, biomass, bio-gas, bio-diesel, or any other forms of renewable energy and / or generation of thermal energy (expressed as an equivalent of electrical energy) to cater to the total energy requirement of the company. Availability of renewable energy resources is to be assessed and feasibility studies conducted before deciding on on-site installations. Green power can be sourced from solar, wind, bio-mass, bio-gas, bio-diesel or small hydro sources or any other accepted sources of renewable energy.

As one can see, the potential of bringing in RET was enshrined, it was only the crazy economics we all follow that makes RE unaffordable. Frankly I could never understand this business of applying RoI selectively. I have argued this in my earlier post in detail, so I will concentrate more on the Green Business Idea here.

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain

In OPEX -SPV or operational expense on solar photo voltaic; the RESCO (renewable energy service company) is contemplating  to sell the power generated, directly to the client instead of routing it though the established Energy distribution companies as was mooted in the NVVM Scheme . Although the generation through SPV is still costly, the RESCO are looking at covering part of their expense via the REC Schemeand raise money through standard market driven investments. Hoping to breakeven through economy of scale. A bold move which needs to be lauded, yet treated with caution.

Lets now examine the advantages and pitfalls the model has.

OPEX Solar would create the economy of scale which any venture requires. This  I recommend, should happen by attempting to pick up the lowest hanging fruit. That is by becoming the Utility provider to the Green Buildings which are already registered in India. As shown above almost all the certification types require RE or Green Power. As the commitment is already made to build green and with the criteria already in place, the RESCO’s  effort remains only to do the math and give a viable PPA model.

As the rating covers almost all sectors the foot-print is huge. However, in each of the ratings there would be possibilities and problems unique to it.

Let us start with Green Homes –

Residences are the lowest hanging fruit. Already a firm  “Mera Gao Power” providing roof-top model at a very economical rate to rural India which the large power utilities find unfeasible. {Large Hydro dams and Thermal Power  plants are set up displacing 100’s of villages; that they find the very same villages resettled ( if at all ) beside it, to be too remote to be provided power with, is perhaps a unique Indian policy many of us with low intelligence find hard to understand.} However what has been the curse now can be a boon to the villages and RESCO’s especially the ones which can provide power in OPEX model. Simply because the Carbon Credit it would generate over and above the REC would not only make this system of business viable, it will create a resurgent India. Perhaps this can be done in other countries too.

Now what if this is brought into the residential blocks within town & cities?Many face power-outages during summer. It would work perfectly against the diesel abatement policy India has in place.  But if roof-top Solar is provided in OPEX model, the problem could be administrative. How would the RESCO collect the tariff, should a housing society not pay its utility bill on time, or a member fails to pay his/her utility bill ? Would the RESCO have the authority and immunity from harm / legal persecution the Municipal authorities have, to initiate disciplinary action? The same problem could be from commercial centres too.

Further, large housing societies need high amount of power, however the present solar PV modules have low plant efficiency thus require large amount of space and are heavy too. Therefore the required amount of power may not get generated via-roof top and off-site green power may be needed.

In this the problem is open access to the grid, which the state owned power utility companies find difficult both in business model and technically to provide. In some states like Gujrat it has been allowed, others are to follow soon.

The problem of electrical transmission over long distance is the “drop” it faces, ie., some power is lost in transit, due to simple laws of physics. Whereas this loss can be calculated and that much extra power fed at the supply end to compensate it in case of traditional power supply, for Solar PV it becomes a problem because currently the technology is dependent on Sunshine and therefore erratic to precisely pin down how much power would be generated per minute. This creates problem for evacuation and  steady stream of transmission. Perhaps when grid parity does take place, the investors could use the model devised by Gemasolar in Spain to store the extra  power and compensate the loss in transmission. Or other innovations would make this possible.

The other problem is should a RESCO sell a PPA model to a client which is off-site and wheels the power to the client, during planned load-shedding by the Municipal authority / State power company; the transmission would not happen. Banking that power is a economic solution but not technically sound because the client had agreed to the PPA ( power purchase agreement ) precisely to avoid power outages and avail the benefits of Diesel abatement.

Another issue is the time frame. Not many would like to sign a PPA of 25 years for roof-top models or even offsite because all business policies are dynamic in nature. Requirements change over time. Planing for 10 years can be done with reasonable permutation combinations, but not having flexibility for 25 years would be a non-starter for some sectors. Next, vintage of technology. No one would like especially when the investment is not theirs to be stuck with an asset which does not perform optimally with time. When I wrote another article on Solar PV, as how to make cheap solar power, I was just learning about OPEX solar, but some of the ideas given there could come to the rescue for OPEX solar.

Overall OPEX Solar model is here to stay and I already have plans to propagate it as much as possible to make this World a better place to live in.

Note: Courtesy to the owners of the images posted in this blog.

 

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The Gen Next will demand a Green Building


Awareness on Climate change is profound in Urban Indian schools. This I found when, invited by the district Rotary president of the area I live in Mumbai, I gave a lecture on Green Buildings in a school & a law college. During the short question and answer session, I was amazed at the grasp and depth of understanding many possessed about ” Global warming”. It was encouraging.

In my earlier article I had shown that by simply recycling steel jotter pens one can Reduce the impact of mining for iron-ore. ( Green Business Ideas –  CDM methods for Steel Production ) What if we can inculcate the idea of Reduce – Recycle – Reuse to the school children across all schools. Especially in the Urban  areas ? According to the UNICEF data the total number of school children in India were 113.8 million in 2000-01; Which in the last ten years has increased. Say if we just take into account 50% of these schools which would be imparting basic knowledge of Global Warming, we have a huge youth population which by the year 2025 be the next “consumer” of all product and produce the market has to offer.

The World business better gear up for all things green. It is the only alternative they would have especially in the Urban centers of India. Further India along with China are predicted to grow phenomenally, and growth by default means high carbon growth. Actually if you read an article by atradersrant – It is not the CO2, it is the waste heat that goes with every kiloWatt of electricity produced, which is the real cause of global warming. This actually helps rest the climate skeptic arguments that CO2, being a natural gas can not harm Earth, but at the same time proves that because we have not yet perfected the art of energy manufacturing and consumption, the waste heat is in fact coming from inefficient burning of fossil fuel – thus carbon.

Global Warming 1/2

Global Warming 1/2 (Photo credit: lamazone)

An article stated – “Asia has been responsible for over two-thirds of the growth in global energy demand over the past two decades. As, above all, China and India race towards prosperity, they will burn coal in huge volumes. The resulting emissions of carbon dioxide will be among the biggest hurdles in the way of a global agreement on limiting climate change …Where China leads, India lumbers behind, also burning an awful lot of coal, and hungry for more electric power. Some 70% of its electricity comes from coal. The national grid has expanded hugely in recent years. But it still leaves about 300m people without a connection. In projections of increased energy demand over the next 25 years, India is second only to China…Like China, it is ploughing resources into nuclear power, oil-and-gas exploration and imports, and renewable energy. Like China, too, however, India finds coal the obvious option. It is something it has plenty of—already the world’s third-largest producer, it has the world’s fifth-biggest coal reserves. But it cannot exploit them fast enough to meet demand. In fact, output has not increased for two years. Coal India, the state monopoly, blames the difficulty of securing mining permits. So India may soon become the world’s biggest coal importer.On current trends, as estimated by McKinsey, India’s carbon emissions will increase by about two-and-a-half times by 2030, by which time its power industry alone will account for about one-tenth of the total rise in global emissions. Like China’s government, India’s points out that, per head, its people will still be producing far less carbon dioxide than Americans or Australians (though China is rapidly catching up with some European countries in pollution per person). And, in India’s case, total emissions (at 5 billion–6.5 billion tonnes) will remain well below China’s. “

Well below China does not mean that we shall be having a pollution free Country. With health -care still out of reach of millions and cultural propensity of not adhering to any civic sense, the massive pollution would only spell disaster for the country if not arrested. Alternative energy sources and energy efficiency  for continued development is the need of the hour. If we do what the article predicts the intense global pressure the UNFCCC members would be bearing upon us, would make trade difficult. And it is the youth of today who would face the hardships of trade embargo, which is sure to follow as man-made related Climate change problems rise.

Yes, while everyone knows that it is the Developed Nations which have created this mess,it does not give sanction to any other Nation to follow the foolish path of high carbon development model.

So coming back to the point, India must follow the full course it has set out under NAPCC and not get derailed by “smart economics” enshrined in crony capitalism. It is a superb Green Business Idea and the coming generation of young Indians will want India to follow this path as it would surely make our Nation First among equals. And it is logical, because the youths are more aware of the problems they would be facing – In 2010, climate-related extreme events and disasters affected some 300 million people, most often in countries which have little capacity to cope.

Young India is aware of this and  the disaster of Fukushima brought home by the TV has left an impression even on the minds of Rural India. Moreover the youth today are connected by social media and many have seen the video which shows how disaster has struck USA in the past year, while this video  was suggested by a young student to me, it is a bit dramatic but overall it has captured some of the worst disasters, which people around the World have faced in 2011. These events coupled with the increased awareness of Climate change, has been shifting the dynamics of thinking. Climate Resilient cities which the UN proposes becomes more and more acceptable idea, then it would have been 25 years ago. And to those youths on whose shoulders the future of this Nation would eventually rest, and are still skeptic about the effect of Humans activities on Climate , below  is a thought to ponder upon –

While it is very common, World over for young people to say ” I can’t live without my – car; dog; cell phone, shoe or fancy clothes etcetera. An Oxfam report suggested that by 2030, climate change could push food prices up by 50-90 percent more than they would otherwise be expected to rise. And then many would just seriously not be able to live. Because if there is one thing Human’s can’t live without – its food & water. It is the way all living things are, all need sustenance. So its time the “intelligent living beings” we like to call ourselves – learn about Sustainable living. And what could be better than “the smarter generation” which youths like to call themselves leading the way!


 

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Green Business Ideas : P.M.Manmohan Singh’s idea of Terminal Market Complex is a superb Green Idea which needs to be implemented


The Prime Minister of India 2012

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was released by the Prime Minister of India on 30th June 2008.It outlines a national strategy that aims to enable the country adapt to climate change and enhances the ecological sustainability of India‘s development path. It stresses that maintaining a high growth rate is essential for increasing living standards of the majority of people of India and reducing their vulnerability of the impacts of climate change.

During that time he also reinforced the idea of Terminal Market Complex – to combat food waste due to transportation & storage problems. The detailed report must have been read and perhaps being implemented too. But in this I found a Green Business Idea which perhaps can bring a sea-change in the thoughts of Climate Resilient Cities we need to build.

The idea of Terminal Market Complex conforms to Agenda 21 and the C40 cities program if we can design it right in the heart of a city. Yes, it is possible. It is very similar to a  concept which I found in a recent article, published by NDRC blog and tagged under urban farming, an old building was transformed into a public garden. The concept of Multileveled Vertical Urban Allotments, has been designed by Aspiring interior designer Lucie Sadakova, and another addition to superlative concepts many other Architects and Designers world over, are coming up with. The combination of each idea together I hope, would help rid the problems all Urban areas in the World are facing. It is a super step towards creating the Climate Resilient Cities.

Most Indian urban centers, especially cities like Mumbai, India; face severe shortage of space.This lead to shrinking of open spaces, trees and green patch in general. Making do with a few potted plants, hanging out of tiny windows or narrow flower-beds never can compare to a beautiful park in full bloom and surrounded with shady trees. The absence or shortage of open green spaces is harmful to the health of citizens; it raises the overall temperature of the city, which is known as heat island effect and both physical & psychological problems arise due to such unplanned development. What is more worrying is the rapid pace at which urban centers in the Emerging economies like India are growing. With slow or zero pace of reforms initiated by the policy makers, we are heading towards disaster which the PM and his Planning commission has been able to see, but not been able to address as it should have. The main reason behind the government not being able to have a sound Urban Development rule, is more political than administrative. And I strongly believe that should one take an issue which is important for the well-being of the citizens to the citizens directly, it would get mass support. And in a Democracy, mass support is the best driver for implementation of good governance.

Next, if the idea could have the possibility of generating income, its popularity would rise faster. Let us in this article explore a few ideas and see if sound, innovative and transparent policy and public will & participation can make them popular for all those cities which need to return to sustainable growth.

Mumbai, is the commercial hub of India. Here we have people who have wealth which could buy them a palace in many other urban centers around the world, but here they make do with a high-rise apartment due to severe lack of space. And almost all the financially well-off  citizens, have a second home. Locations at a distance of 100 KM to 150 KM from the city center are most popular. There you would find beautiful bungalows, with lawns in front and kitchen garden at the back; vast farm-houses fenced and barricaded. These houses lie vacant for most of the year and those of the super-rich, for years; because they have other similar abode near other cities .So  most are left in care of  a man-servant and his family who also double up as the gardener, housekeeping and guard. While I have absolutely no issues, if poor underprivileged villagers are provided with a decent shelter and employment, I do have strong reservations on this type of growth of ‘second homes’ which usually come up on, especially near Mumbai; ecologically sensitive western ghats. The primary reason for this type of growth is because the rich citizen of Mumbai want to ‘get away’ form all the heat and dust of everyday living.This is the pulse, which the Developers and the Urban Development Ministry failing to cash on. A bold and unusual  Green Business Idea, which if implemented and  made a success, could change the way people live in Cities.

If say, we can provide lush-green abode at the heart of the city along with the option of fresh food terminals which reduce food waste and generate employment we are able to create a super sustainable city program. And the best part would be it would reduce the heat-island effect. Limit the horizontal growth of a city, which we call an Urban sprawl, which eats up more and more green field areas, pushing the farm lands further away from the city center, this creating logistical problems for storage and transportation of  fresh food. Further a direct connect with nature would insure that the future generations would not be divorced form sustainable living practices as we are in the present.

Terrace garden are nothing new. But if with policy support from the government the free FSI / FAR  is tweaked to help the developers who are able to build high-rise, with a kitchen – garden along with lawns & flower beds, imagine the result. It would be like living in a bungalow in the clouds! The hanging gardens of Babylon coming back to life. True, the kitchen garden would not be able to supply the demand required. But that is not the point. The point is it would be an extra support to the terminal market complex we could be building, which is additional to the thought given by the ministry and similar to the hollowed out building shown alongside. And where is the space one would ask ? Just look at any of the large Bus Depots in Mumbai, and imagine having 20 stories of light-weight structure made of Thermo-Polymerized rock  , say 12 meters wide floor plate stacked one over the other at distances and design which allow for sunlight. Not only would such roof-top or terrace fields help in the agribusiness, it would save the fertile topsoil of farmlands from being destroyed by the ever growing foot-print of the concrete jungle.

What a relief it would be for a  tired office goer to alight from the bus which are parked under the shade of this bus-terminal-cum-food-terminal, go to the co-operative vegetable mart and buy vegetables before heading home. And all those vegetable sellers, blocking the foot-path along the suburban rail stations and over-bridges could be shifted and even provided with space perhaps at the first floor level, to do what they do best. Sell and grow vegetables. The marginalized farmer who having lost his land need no more live a life of indignity by begging but instead, work under a government aided program to farm and perhaps even get employment with private city center farms, as explained below.

Malls usually have huge floor plate and therefore huge roof area, which get super hot during the summer, requiring a lot of energy for air-conditioning. Mall roofs too could be designed to have vegetable gardens similar to the image shown.  It is a logical idea, as these usually also have the supermarket where people go to buy their grocery. While I concede that all the ideas are Utopian, I believe that someday somewhere I would be able to make a township with these very ideas and more. In 2009 during the Vishwa Show in Mumbai, I had got a whole three-minute to speak with my hero, the past President of India, Shri A.P.J Abdul Kalam. I spoke to him about my idea of building a CDM complaint township, adopting my idea from another Great Leader of India, Shri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gram Swaraj or village self-rule, was a pivotal concept in Mahatama Gandhi’s thinking. I happened to read his ideas and was so mesmerized by his thinking that today the concept I have visualized is nothing but pure inspiration. All Dr. Kalam said  post hearing me out was, as it is a Gandhian idea, it would be a success!

Note : I thank all whose images I have found and used from the internet. None of the concepts shown are my own, and I give full credit to those who have been able to think these ideas, as they are inspirational.

 

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Green Business Idea : How to build a Mercedes at the price of a Nano!


The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...Cadmium in the China river, who could have imagined that such a thing would be ever reported? This let me think as how can we really make people and businesses responsible?

Whether we like it or not, we are born Human a species just like any other in this Ecosystem called Earth. And just like any other Species we are programmed in a certain way.  That is discarding what we don’t need.

It is perfectly natural. Birds do it. Bees do it. We do it too !  But here we have a small problem. We are “Civilized” and the rest are ..well “animals”! We have down the evolution chain “evolved” into “intelligent animals” and we no more can be called “animals”. So in time, we divorced ourselves from the laws of Ecosystem,of sustainable living; in the quest to be “Civilized Humans of the World”. And in the process created one big unholy mess for Earth.

Whatever the animals discard is 100% Biodegradable. We stopped doing that since the Industrial Revolution. Most of it.

Therefore when  we –

Soar like a bird” we have the biggest scrap-yard of old airplanes.

Sprint like a cheetah” we have heaps of scrapped motorcycles collected by the Police from the Highways, as the rider is long dead and gone…

“Sing like a Nightingale” we have discarded vinyl, creating a nightmare for environment in landfills.

India is growing, which makes me happy indeed. However are we growing the right way or are we going to do what the west has been doing ? How will India make  sustainable  progress a part of  it’s every day existence, thus keep at bay the pressure it would surely meet, to conform to norms set by the developing world in its agenda to set right the Climate mess we all are in today?As more and more cars, airplanes and other modern life-style starts percolating into the vast and opening and still to open markets of the Tier I,II & III towns and centers, where aspirations are more than that of a city dweller in Mumbai or New Delhi. Would we have in place to handle the waste that it would be generating? Or can we partner today with the western developed Nations and create a market which can be beneficial to both, while truly bringing in the near perfect model of Reduce – Recycle – Reuse ?

I could have gone on and make a fine prose of this article, but I need to propose a  Green Business Idea. That is the only sure way to save Earth. The Economics of Ecology.

Let us then begin at the scrap yards for Air planes. I’m sure all of us love the nice comfortable airline seats, the clear oval windows, the carpet, the superbly functional over-head storage, the air conditioner nozzle and LED lights the neat steel toilets, wash basin and fixtures. While almost all the aircraft parts are salvaged and used, this process could be accelerated if the salvaged parts like the luxurious chairs, overhead bins etc are shipped to India to be fitted in Interiors of trains, buses and even homes. Imagine an intercity super-fast train running in India which has the look and feel of an air-plane? And I always wish I could have the overhead bins used for cabin luggage for my office interior projects. Would look really nice, plus the A/c and Light control would be right over the head of the user, who can then turn it off when not in use. And those neat wash basins and water-closets, super for the super small office spaces in Mumbai. I could also use the windows. Clubbing them together in interesting fashion in interior projects, compact and double glazed it can also make a perfect building façade. Letting light in yet keeping heat out.

Next are Automobiles. It is very painful to see how the cars are salvaged in the west. In this video you can actually see how the mind set of the public still needs to be refined further to actually understand the word – RECYCLE & REUSE. Of course the last word REDUCE has been utilized but in a very …lets say scope for improvement is definitely there.

One can always remove the glass panes from the doors, and perhaps the windscreen too could be removed. While the door glass panes could be reused, the windscreen more often than not would break at the edges and can be sent to glass recycling units separately. If you notice there would be perfect headlamps and tail lights and rear view mirrors, which can be dismantled along with the wipers, locks and handles. If you hear the video again, there is a point where the person at the desk says -” people could care less for doors, moldings…” which is so difficult to comprehend form a reuse point of view.

English: Daytime Running Lights implemented wi...

Many times people scrap cars because a door got damaged and no amount of repairs can bring it back to perfection. In that case if the company can lead a person to a reused car part company, where s/he could get a fix and the car could probably run for a few more years! Same goes for the trimming, seats, and lamps.  And to crush a perfect car, a 2011 Lexus..when so many parts could have been salvaged, defies logic. Can anyone explain why the lights and rear-view mirrors and the logo could not be salvaged ?In Mumbai, India all top line cars face the menace of having there logo or car rims stolen. It fetches good money. And trust me, it costs an arm to buy a headlamp should you shatter it while parking the car or just driving it and following all the traffic rules! Because driving rules are alien to most Indians in India. In Indian roads and driving sense, one could laugh all the way to the Bank by just selling head and tail lamp fixtures. With more and more imported cars models arriving in India, this would be perhaps a perfect Green Business Idea, to get the parts from the West and sell them here.

Moreover if the automobile companies take the perfect parts back and reuse them they would do a lot of good for themselves and the Environment. They could perhaps make a new line of refurbished cars. And no it would not be called “cheap” in a demeaning way but a Green Business Idea of producing lets say “pert” models of the same car model. Which can then be sold in a market where cheaper cars have a demand and perhaps they could be surprised within the existing market, where I’m sure buyers who would any-day prefer a refurbished car from the automaker over the used car selling companies.

We could then perhaps then have a Mercedes at the price of a Nano! Wow, I am buying just make it run on CNG ( compressed natural gas ) !

And no, it would not mean competition and end of both the new part manufacturing vendors or the used car seller. In fact with the economy in such a flux as it is now, both of them can be symbiotic to each other and probably benefit even the Original car maker should it puts its stamp of approval.

 
 

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