Promoting Passive Solar Houses in the trans-Himalayan cold desert region of Ladakh

Duration:
2012 – 2015

Location:
The project is proposed to be implemented in Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh.

Partner:
ICCO

Budget:
Rs 264.81 lacs

Context:
Ladakh forms the North-Easterly region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Himachal Pradesh to the South, China/Tibet to the East and the Baltistan region of Pakistan to the North. It comprises around 70% of the state and it is a huge mountainous region in the trans-Himalayan region of the country. The region is highly elevated, cold and arid.

Luckily, Ladakh has lot of sunshine in the day even if the temperature falls drastically during night in winter. The pre-winter activities can be less problematic and environment friendly if we apply our mind and re-design our houses in a way which harnesses maximum solar energy.

Passive Solar architecture aims at harnessing a region’s natural solar energy sources, by taking advantage of solar radiation during the winter to heat the interior of a building, through specially designed and insulated trombe walls, large south-facing solarized windows for direct gain, insulated roofs and floors. Through PSH technology, the houses collect solar radiation during the day, absorb/retain the heat and enables the rooms to remain warm during both day and night. Passive Solar Houses work efficiently due to a combination of four factors:

  1. Collection of solar radiation during the day
  2. Storage of heat from said radiation
  3. Release of the heat into the building during the night
  4. Insulation of the whole building to retain the heat as effectively as possible.

Aims and Objectives
Improvement of the living conditions and well-being of people in the high-altitude desert of Ladakh during the harsh winters and also improvement of the environmental health and economic well being of Ladakh through energy-efficient and safe housing. In particular:

  1. Introduction and integration of Passive Solar Housing and other solar technologies to 300 homes and also some public buildings across the whole region over a three year period, using the available high solar radiation due to maximum sunshine at the high altitudes.
  2. Skill improvement of a suitable number of masons and carpenters in each area, and further training in specific PSH techniques, especially insulation of floors, walls and roof in addition to proper window designing and insulation.
  3. More effective and context-specific dissemination of information about the technology and its advantages, combined with a reduction in the NGO contribution which will help steer the spread of the technology towards a sustainable, self-perpetuating state , with the government and army buildings also benefiting from the technology.
  4. Capacity-building of local NGOs, such as LEDeG, through reinforcement of the technical and project management skills developed in previous projects
  5. Reduction of pressure on the local and global environment, in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, through a reduction in fuel consumption, which therefore releases the pressure on natural sources for heating purposes and brings about a significant decrease in current and future emissions of CO2.
  6. Continue to increase the awareness of the need to consider the long-term impacts of fuel use for space heating, as well as of environmental issues, among the local population through trainings, brochures, TV, radio and seminars.
  7. Involve the policy planning mechanism of the local government i.e. Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh, and enshrine the lofty idea of passive solar housing into the building code of LAHDC Leh. Conduct seminars and work shops to popularize the idea amongst the change makers so that future school buildings and hospitals are built, using PSH technology.

Expected project outcome:
The following objectives shall be achieved after the completion of the project and these expected out comes are based upon the findings of the GERES PSH programme which was in operation through out LADAKH during 2008-12. The sustainable development benefits are:

  1. Social well being:
    • reducing the time used to collect fuel for heating purpose (mainly dung and wood)
  2. Economic well being:
    • Future expenses for fossil fuels can be reduced
    • Benefiting from warmer rooms, individual women and women Self-Help groups can increase their winter handicraft production and double their income
  3. Environmental well being:
    • reduced soil degradation and desertification due to less up-rooting of bushes
    • increase soil fertility thanks to more dung left on the pastureland and on the fields
    • The carbon emission level of each PSH household will go down by a minimum 3.5 tons and the total emission reduction will be around 350 tons per year after the completion of the project. This is the direct result of reduction in carbon emission in the house and also the reduction in the extraction level of trees and bushes for space heating which enhances carbon sequestration.
    • The comfort level of every household will be significantly improved due to improved inner temperature level of the PSHs. The comfort level room temperature is very different for a local of Ladakh. It is very comfortable for him if the inside temperature is not less then +10 degree Celsius during peak winter nights, in the context of Ladakh.
    • The drudgery of women will be reduced by minimum 50% and maximum 75%.
    • The personal hygiene of all the inmates will be significantly improved and as such the feeling of well being will go up.
    • The families will cut down on the expenditures on account of purchase of traditional and conventional fuel items and this saving can be utilized on the improvement of other life amenities and on the education of the children. The savings from the structure will keep on accruing as recurrent benefit to the family and the pay back will be more then the investment after about 15 years.
    • The old and aged will be saved from the problems like painful arthritis and joint ailments. Moreover, the lung ailments, which are common in cold climate, will no more trouble the people.
    • The children will be able to devote maximum time to the process of learning and the education of the children will be positively impacted.
    • The handicraft production from individual house holds will at least be doubled and the income of the family will go up.

Signing of MOU with ICCO / Identification of beneficiary / baseline survey:
This activity is proposed to begin in Oct 2012 and to end in December 2013. The beneficiaries shall be identified on the basis of need, individual capacity of the family, location and orientation, scope for retrofitting, annual collection of fuel wood and fuel items (gender involvement in the activity), availability of masons/ carpenters, handicraft out put, use of the kind of stoves etc. The allotment shall be finalized and the beneficiaries shall be asked to go ahead with the collection of material and construction simultaneously. The survey time be used as awareness generation and information transfer regarding PSH.

Construction/Supply of material:
Although the activity is planned to begin in the beginning of 2013 and continue till the end of the project in Oct/December 2015, the selected beneficiaries may begin mobilizing their resources immediately after their identification and LEDeG may begin the fabrication of frames for the Trombe instantly in order to complete the programme on time. LEDeG has however, targeted to begin the exercise in January 2013 and complete by Oct 2015 so that there is sufficient time left for giving finishing touches to the implementation programme. The beneficiaries shall be advised to mobilize their resources and complete the material collection within a particular time frame, as specified through a letter from LEDeG.

Survey / Monitoring / Follow up/ Evaluation
This will be a normal activity of LEDeG to see the progress of the work on different PSHs through the field workers and the management. Internal evaluation shall be necessary to monitor the activities to make them happen as per time line and also in accordance with the MOU, design etc in order to achieve the target results. The activity will begin in December2012 and shall continue till ending Oct 2015.

Reporting
Reporting shall be done on quarterly basis beginning from December 2012 and the final report shall be submitted to ICCO at the end of December 2015.

Develop indicators for third party evaluation and engagement of the evaluator:
This shall be done by ICCO by Jan 2015. The final evaluation by third party shall be conducted and completed by end of Oct 2015. Accordingly the funds from ICCO should be released in Oct 2012, April 2013 and 2014 @ 20%, 50% and 30 % respectively for timely and smooth completion of the project.
After final evaluation and assessment of the anticipated out comes, the ICCO and LEDeG shall decide modalities on a carbon credit model in order to benefit from the project. The two parties have already agreed to enter into a carbon credit system. The activity plan and the completion period shall be adjusted if the ICCO needs time for sanctioning the project.