Auroville highlights the various aspects of sustainable and ecological living with its innovative architecture and environment-friendly building technology.
Auroville, popularly known as the ‘city of dawn’, or a ‘universal city in the making’ in South India, was established over 40 years ago in collaboration with 124 countries, supported by the Government of India and endorsed by the UNESCO. It believes that the future realisations in all fields of work here will allow a building of ‘a bridge between the past
and the future’, transforming into a beautiful and harmonious urban environment.
A city designed on the concept of a galaxy, Auroville’s unique concept lies in its experiments in sustainable and ecological living, good urban design and architecture, afforestation and environmental concerns amongst various other planet friendly measures.
To be more environment-friendly, the city is experimenting with solar pumps and solar energy and is a home to one of the largest concentration of renewable energy technologies in India. One of the most remarkable contributions from Auroville is a solar bowl – one of the biggest in the world. Auroville’s renewable energy systems have even won the ASHDEN Award for its enterprise.
In early 1970’s, JRD Tata came to Pondicherry to start the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) and its solar energy research was initiated, with its first projects in Auroville. Now the research is focused on electrical mobility, green cities and buildings, solar energy, water and waste management with an aim to build a simple, rich and beautiful life style.
At Auroville, a roof top solar system has been developed which is connected to the state electricity grid. Allowing roof spaces to convert to energy spaces, facilitates the creation of ‘prosumers’; these are people who produce power in comparison to consumers who only use energy.
Each house and commercial roof could easily convert into a veritable generator of electricity using solar energy.
Auroville attempts to harmonise the five elements of nature (Space, Air, Water, Fire, and Earth) to achieve its growth, for example regeneration of land with plantations, optimal use of wind energy, harvesting of water with the building of lakes and harnessing energy using water. Added to all this, is present a space to connect to the highest creative force at the centre of Auroville.
The city also uses half-baked bricks for buildings called compressed earth blocks, made with soil mixed with a small amount of cement. These are cured and baked in the sun reducing the use of large amounts of fired wood and thereby saving forests.
Auroville is also a pioneer in the field of dealing with waste material and has named their garbage related campaign, Garbology 101, which involves innovative ways of dealing with waste rather than dumping it unmindfully in landfills.
Ms. Suhasini Ayer, Founder & Chief Architect, Auroville Design Consultants mentions, “Auroville is envisioned as a living experiment in urban development, where not only the hardware of a city with its urban planning systems, architecture and infrastructure will be open for experimentation but also the software of socio-economic and environment changes will drive experiments.”