Center for Green Practices
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Auroville dreams of creating a centre of excellence in sustainable development.

Help make it a reality.

Auroville dreams of creating a centre of excellence in sustainable development
Help make it a reality.
Centre
A living laboratory for green practices.
Auroville
Created in a desert, transformed into a tropical forest: Auroville.
Our Story
We strive for a better, greener, world.
Our Team
We work for a prosperous eco-system that supports all life on this planet.
Contact
Auroville dreams of creating a centre of excellence in sustainable development. Help make it a reality.
"The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today’s younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations. We have mapped the road to sustainable development; it will be for all of us to ensure that the journey is successful and its gains irreversible.” (United Nations Resolution 70/1 on Sustainable Development).

Centre for Green Practices

What is the Centre for Green Practices?

The Centre for Green Practices shall further enhance Auroville's reputation as a global centre of excellence in regenerative development. Its facilities and personnel shall provide the perfect foundation for a full participation in national and international dialogues on policy and strategic planning. They shall also act as the fulcrum for a holistic educational paradigm that includes personal transformation, system thinking and technical capacity building in fields such as regenerative development, sustainability and circular economy.

The holistic educational experience provided shall nurture skills, systems thinking and inner capacities of students and teachers alike. At the core of the Centre's educational activities shall be an engagement with core human values and inner capacities that encourage the flowering of innate potential. The outcome shall be seen in future generations of leaders with the capacity to work on projects that foster socially inclusive, and ecologically regenerative, development.

The Centre’s physical premises will serve as a living laboratory for the application of bioclimatic building design and sustainable resource management which can be replicated in other tropical climates. Aesthetically, the building shall be beautiful to the eye. Its design shall pay close regard to the wellbeing of its inhabitants. Experts from five countries have helped in conceiving the technical brilliance that will go into the Centre’s design.


The Centre shall emerge in two phases:

Phase 1 (1-3 years) will have a built up area of 2202 m2, and will host programs for up to 700 participants per annum. Infrastructure facilities, including accommodation, seminar rooms, dining hall and working spaces, will host up to 150 participants at a time. In Phase 2 (4-5 years) additional accommodation facilities for students and researchers will be provided, along with conference rooms, workshops and laboratories. Upon completion of Phase 2, the total capacity of the centre will include program facilities for over 1000 participants, with accommodation for 240 participants. Phase 2 will have an additional built up area of around 4798 m2 and will focus on long-term programs.

The cost of Phase 1 has been estimated as INR 12.7 crores (approximately $2 million USD).

The cost of Phase 2 has been estimated as INR 24.52 crores (approximately $3.73 million USD).

Donations for the Centre for Green Practices are 100 % tax exempted for Indian citizens under section 35.1.ii or 35.1.iii of the Indian Income Tax Act. Non Indians should check the tax status of donations with their tax advisors.

We shall post regular updates on the Centre’s journey to being built, including photos, updates on the hard work we all are doing to ensure its success, and information for the technical reader interested in the building’s design. We welcome you on that journey!

  • Jun 2018

    Professor Raminder Kaur, University of Sussex, UK Plus

    TESTIMONIAL:

    "Development cannot and should not continue at a cost to the environment. The Centre for Green Practices takes this axiom to heart with a range of often genius initiatives that should be the standard for sustainability across the world. From tackling desertification to wastewater recycling, renewable energy to architectural innovations, they are fully engaged with providing solutions for real-life issues and social justice. Their vision is holistic and futuristic with urgent lessons to be learnt for today's global community."

  • May 2018

    Professor Bem Le Hunte Plus

    TESTIMONIAL:

    "It is easy to see how Auroville's Centre for Green Practices could become a leading change-maker in the delivery of sustainability policy and education, given Auroville's rich history and progress in this space. Auroville has such a profound commitment to advocating and actively sharing sustainability as a conscious, lived, collaborative experience. The world has a lot to learn from Auroville's successful 50-year experiment in creating a better world. Certainly, my students arrived back in Australia transformed from their encounter with Auroville and its game-changing agenda."

  • Mar 2018

    Professor M.S. Swaminathan Plus

    A letter of support for CGP has been provided by Prof. Swaminathan, the “father of India’s Green Revolution.” In it, he says,

    “The Centre for Green Practices is promoting ecotechnologies, which can help to increase productivity in perpetuity without ecological harm. The green practices recommended by the Centre are ecologically sound and sustainable. I wish the Centre continued growth and success in its efforts in the area of greening of technologies and development programmes."

    We are honoured by his support.

  • Nov 2017

    Interviews with CGP Architects Plus

    In the course of a two day workshop exploring spatial planning on bio-climatic principles, architects Fabian Ostner, Suhasini Ayer and Omar Rabie discuss what draws them to work on the Centre for Green Practices: “Something out of the expected,” “Out of the box,” “Benchmark for future constructions in the tropical world.” See what else they had to say.

  • Nov 2017

    Concept Design Studios Plus

    A two day workshop is held with the design team (consisting of four Auroville architects, Suhasini Ayer, Omar Rabie, Fabian Ostner and Lara Davies). This entailed extensive discussions on spatial planning on bio-climatic principles. A further Concept Design Studio is held by the students of ENSAM Antenne de la Réunion. This culminated in design concepts for the Centre based on principles of Climate Responsive Design and Sustainability.

  • Nov 2017

    CGP Plus

    After several provisional iterations, the new Centre is formally named The Centre for Green Practices.

  • May 2017

    Design Charrette Plus

    A Design Charrette is held in Auroville. This is attended by experts from India, Reunion Island, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The experts commence formulating design guidelines and benchmarks for the new Centre. The Centre shall be a responsible development that not only respects the site and reduces the burden on the existing infrastructure, but also supports and enriches the surrounding neighbourhood and eco-system services. It will be involved in generating local employment and upgrading local skills.

  • Mar 2017

    ADEME partners with us Plus

    In the framework of the “Low Energy in Tropical Climates for Housing Innovation (LETCHI), the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) supports Auroville’s proposed Centre for Green Practices as a pilot project to design, implement and test principles in bio-climatic architecture which can be replicated in other tropical climates: The Centre becomes an international project. Experts from five tropical countries commence collaborating with us.

  • Feb 2017

    Auroville gives land Plus

  • May 2015

    Project conceptualized Plus

    The core team of Auroville Consulting survey the work of Auroville on sustainability and the potential for a world class Centre of Excellence in Sustainability and related fields is identified. The Centre will establish a training, education, research and development hub for regenerative development and closed loop systems. Its key objectives include: * Conduct training programs that further the cause of sustainable development * Incubate and disseminate technologies and skills that leverage closed loop systems * Host national and international researchers and faculty, for educational and applied research * Participate in national and international dialogues on policies and sustainable development

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“I am an Aurovillian and co founder of Auroville Consulting (AVC). I feel passionately about the well being of our planet and how we can secure a better future for our children. This is a passion I share with many people both in Auroville and around the world. My dream - shared by many - is to create a space for learning and sharing sustainable practices that change lives. AVC does this already in the villages around Auroville. A dedicated Centre will take this work to a whole new level." Martin Scherfler, co-founder Auroville Consulting

Auroville

Created in a desert, transformed into a tropical forest, Auroville is a living example of regeneration. An international township in Tamil Nadu, South India, its existence and founding ideals of Human Unity have received the unanimous endorsement of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1983. Governmental and non-governmental organisations in India and abroad have funded various development programmes. Auroville has a long tradition of proactively facing and developing solutions for the challenges of sustainable development that the world faces.

Auroville Consulting (AVC)

In recent years, AVC has been a key player in the township’s efforts to create a better, greener, world. Auroville has provided the land for the development of the new Centre for Green Practices. AVC is tasked with leading the drive to ensure that the project to create it succeeds.

Experts in ecological and socially responsible development, AVC work for a prosperous eco-system that supports all life on this planet. Its approach is multi faceted: It collaborates with academic, private and public sector partners both in India and internationally, helping to develop sustainable urban and industrial development policies, ecologically friendly technologies – and the minds of future leaders. The latter they do with inspirational thought leadership and courses in aspects of sustainability.

Founded in 2010, AVC is a unit of the non profit organisation, Auroville Foundation.

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"It is reassuring and energizing to know that there are so many people committed to making dignity and equity a reality for a thriving humanity and planet." Monica Sharma.

Our Story

Using our expertise in ecological and socially responsible development, we work for a prosperous eco-system that supports all life on this planet. Our approach is multi-faceted: We collaborate with academic, private and public sector partners both in India and Internationally, helping to develop sustainable urban and industrial development policies, ecologically friendly technologies – and the minds of future leaders. The latter we do with inspirational thought leadership and courses in aspects of sustainability. Our goal is to make a better, greener, world.

We set out here a little information regarding our work in the following areas:

    * Teaching the Leaders of Tomorrow       
    * Changing Lives      
    * Research

For further information on the courses we teach, see: http://www.agpworkshops.com

Teaching the leaders of tomorrow


Since 2010, over 3000 people have participated in our courses on sustainability. Many others have interned or volunteered with our experts, leaving enriched with new perspectives on how the world could be made a better place. Our courses cover diverse areas such as:

  •       the innovative architecture of Auroville;
  •       the integration of modern and ancient building techniques;   
  •       the use of sustainable materials, such as bamboo, in building;
  •       renewable energy - both form a practical perspective looking at the engineering of renewable energy generation and from a geopolitical perspective focusing on global and local energy issues.

Auroville is a magnet for those with a passion for sustainability. All our courses are led by experts drawn to Auroville; academics, practitioners and persons who over a lifetime of sustainable living and practise have become the embodiments of what they teach. Our people are the sparks that fire the imagination of the next generation. A new Centre will be the catalyst for increasing our reach. We have collated a few testimonials from those who have been touched by our work.

Professor Arjendu K. Pattanayak,

(Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Carleton College, Minnesota)

"I have interacted with Auroville Consulting in the context of a program for US undergraduates to understand sustainability in the very real context of India and Tamil Nadu. Auroville Consulting produced a bespoke program, including visits with and lectures from local experts on different areas such as sustainable farming, sanitation, cookstove enterprise, apart from working on a technical project on a solar panel system design and installation. The bespoke program was very compelling and the lecturers outstanding. We will be repeating this very shortly. I welcome the opportunity to deepen my relationship with Auroville through a Centre for Green Practices. I have no doubt it will quickly have a central position in international dialogues on development practices and policy."

Omar Al Ajaji,

(Electrical Engineer)

Omar is an Electrical Engineer from Saudi Arabia. He came to Auroville because of a keen interest in renewable and solar energy, volunteering with Auroville Consulting for 5 months in 2017. He said, “Auroville Consulting opened my eyes to so many things about sustainability and energy usage that I now intend to return to Riyadh to create my own environmental services company that specialises in energy efficient buildings. Martin [Scherfler, co founder of Auroville Consulting] has been a huge influence on me. A new Centre for Green Practices that builds on the great work done in Auroville would be amazing. It would really set a new standard on sustainability matters. Its impact on people’s thinking would be huge. I would love to come back one day and collaborate with the Centre!”

Siddarth Chourasia,

(Architect)

Siddarth attended our 2013 Summer School Program which he found to provide a “great and healthy exposure’ to sustainable practices by people of great humility. He expressed the need for the Centre for Green Practices to become a “great example” to our planet.

Ahanta Ganti,

( Architect practicing in the field of sustainability)

“I work in Mumbai and in my daily job I am trying to promote sustainable development and help reduce our impact on the planet. I attended an Earth and Bamboo course in Auroville October 2017. Auroville is a great place for such a course because people there are consciously trying to implement principles of sustainability in the way they live. It is the perfect place for a Centre for Green Practices and will definitely be an inspiration around the world.”

Manmeet Dhaliwal,

(Engineer)

“I completed my undergraduate studies in Chennai and was wondering what to do next. I came across Auroville Consulting and knew straight away that I wanted to volunteer there. I started in June 2016 and stayed until October 2017. Having been away for awhile I am keen to return as soon as possible! Auroville changed the way I think about sustainability and what can be done to help the world. And the responsibility I was given from the start of my time there helped me to grow a lot. I met so many experts on sustainable practices in Auroville, apart from the ones who visited to share their knowledge. Auroville really is the perfect place for a dedicated Centre for Green Practices. It will do amazing things.”

Changing Lives

At the heart of our plans for a new Centre, is the wish to make a better, greener, world. We want to change peoples' lives. A new Centre will become the fulcrum from which we do that. It will enable us to engage with collaborators on a totally different scale, to help people previously beyond our reach. Here we give three examples of how we are already changing lives. We know we can do more - with your help.

Smart City Challenge - Bhubaneswar

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever does” ( Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist). In 2016, we helped Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) put together a plan to help it understand the needs of its citizens, taking extensive steps to include the voices of the often marginalised; slum children, youth, women, slum dwellers, students, street vendors, the transgender community, persons with disabilities and senior citizens. The voices of all these sectors of society had genuine weight attached to their views. This was with a view to helping BMC start manifesting its vision of an Eco city co-existing in harmony with nature, a city that would nurture a resilient, clean, green, and healthy environment, a city that changes the lives of all of Bhubaneswar’s citizens for the better.
Read More

Green Industrial Park

By 2022, the Government of India envisages that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP shall increase by 25% . What would it mean to influence how industries boom, to have a say in changing the manufacturing process paradigm? “This," says Martin Scherfler, Co-founder of Auroville Consulting," is the type of blue sky thinking that change lives. Benefits would include greater energy efficiency, cleaner climate friendly industrial processes and improved quality of life for employees.” What else? Sponsored by GIZ (the German Corporation for International Cooperation), we drafted a white paper on developing a master plan for new Green - industrial parks in India.
Read More

Solar Village - Irumbai

Energy vulnerability is a reality of life in rural India. Power to cook, keep babies cool and light homes is never guaranteed. Give a home a constant energy supply and a child can study beneath a light bulb at night, a mother can use an electric sewing machine to earn extra money for her family. A microindustry is thus created. Lives are changed. The Solar Village Project aims at Solarising 100 villages across Tamil Nadu. Each one of them shall have co-ownership of the installed solar systems, placing, quite literally, (renewable) power into the hands of villagers. Revenue generated from the solar systems will be ploughed back into the villages to improve basic infrastructure services. Irumbai is the first of the 100 that we are working on. The work continues. The effect is immediate. We asked three villagers to say a few words about the work carried out in their village. This is what that they said:

Pavada

“I live in Irumbai by myself. My home was so hot and humid and there were a lot of mosquitoes. So Auroville Consulting really helped me by installing a fan. It was also good that they cared enough to ensure a local woman from the village, someone I know, always came with them when they did work so that I felt at ease. If they can help more people like me with a new Centre then I think it is a good idea.”

Anjala

Anjala is a housewife with children and grandchildren living with her. Her home is located next to a large stagnant pool of water. She, like Pavada, worried about the heat and the large numbers of mosquitoes attracted to the water – and her adjacent house. She commented that “it is better now with the fan” and that “it is good initiative to have a Centre that can help local villages.”

Gowri

Gowri lives in a very humble hut which she said could get very hot and humid. It also had lots of mosquitoes in it. The installation of a fan has greatly helped with the heat. “ A centre that does work like this will help villages and will also be a blessing (“a punya”) on those who do it. The centre is a good idea.”

Research

As a global centre of regenerative development, Auroville has always attracted the interest of leading experts and institutions wishing to collaborate with us on research projects. The advancement of knowledge and best practice in sustainability and regenerative development is of key significance to the Centre for Green Practices. Here we give three examples of research and knowledge dissemination we have already engaged in. By contributing to the new Centre you will be helping in the advancement of research, helping to secure a better future for all life on this planet.

Smart Control Optimisation of Renewable Resources (SCORRES)

Funded by Innovate UK, SCORRES is a research project seeking to utilise remote controlled and predictive technologies in using renewable energy. Auroville has become a laboratory of such research. In one Auroville farm, we installed a smart irrigation and energy control system. The “smart” part was ICT software which designed, forecast and controlled the crop-specific irrigation. Indian agriculture is currently responsible for 22% and 85% of India’s total electricity and water consumption respectively, which is in addition to 15% of its total diesel consumption. This project develops clean technology that reduces water and energy consumption by up to 80%. Similarly “smart” technology is currently being tested on an Auroville building and its adjacent street lighting. Equipped with a smart control system that controls the building’s electricity load and street lighting, an ingenious algorithm can predict and control power production and consumption.
Read More

Sustainable Urban Energy

For cities to confront the challenges of fossil fuel depletion, increasing energy costs and rapid climate change, it is vital to develop and implement urban energy management solutions for a sustainable future. Under the auspices of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT), we researched and produced Sustainable Urban Energy – A sourcebook for Asia 2012. The tools and wealth of information set out in the source book would, to quote Dr Gulelat Kebede of UN HABITAT, help urban energy practitioners move “cities to energy management and to improve access to affordable energy to all.”
Read More

Testing new solar technology

Economic viability is the key to widening solar energy usage. Globally, research continues on improving its efficiency, reliability and power output. We contribute to the improving knowledge. Using Auroville as a laboratory, we collaborated with Dutch solar energy experts, Solarus, to test the performance of cutting edge solar technology against conventional solar systems in the already solarised Solar Kitchen.
Read More

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Our Team

Turning the Centre for Green Practices into a reality will take the hard work of a dedicated world class team. This is our world class team:

Partners

Auroville Consulting Plus Times

Experts in ecological and socially responsible development, Auroville Consulting works for a prosperous eco-system that supports all life on this planet. It has advised and collaborated with institutional, governmental and corporate bodies around the world on matters relating to its fields of expertise. Its members live and work in Auroville, a UN backed global centre of sustainable practices dedicated to the ideal of human unity. On behalf of Auroville, Auroville Consulting leads the work to create the Centre for Green Practices. For more information about Auroville Consulting visit its website at: http://aurovilleconsulting.com/

Auroville Earth Institute Plus Times

The Auroville Earth Institute, representative for Asia of the UNESCO Chair "Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development", is one of the world’s top centres for excellence in earthen architecture. Its work has attempted to revive traditional skills and to link ancestral and vernacular traditions of raw earth construction with the modern technology of stabilised earth. Architect and co-director, Lara Davis, is a specialist in earth and structural masonry systems. For more information about Auroville Earth Institute visit its website: http://www.earth-auroville.com/

White Ant Studio Plus Times

White Ant Studio is a design unit based in Auroville and headed by Fabian Ostner. Born and educated in Germany, Fabian works since several years in India and – after three years in Bangalore (where he worked with a renowned architectural firm as project architect) – has relocated to this exciting place on India’s eastern coastline, just 150km south of Chennai. White Ant Studio works on a range of architectural and interior works in varying configurations. For more information about White Ant Sutdio visit its website: https://fabianostner.wordpress.com/

Unitary Plus Times

A design studio founded by Omar Rabie, a professional architect and a holder of post professional degrees—from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Architectural Association in London (AA)—focused on materiality and sustainability. Through his career, he has accumulated experiences in challenging environments, including Takenaka Corporation (Osaka), and Kengo Kuma and Associates (Tokyo). Omar is an International Union of Architects (UIA) awarded designer, and a selected jury member for few international competitions.

Auroville Design Consultants Plus Times

Leading a team of seasoned professionals is Suhasini Ayer – Principal Architect. Suhasini is supported by associate architects, experts in renewable energy and waste-water management. It retains expertise in sustainable and green building practices. Auroville Design Consultants, with the input of experts in 5 countries, leads on the design of the new Centre for Green Practices, Auroville. For more information about Auroville Design Consultants visit its website: https://www.aurovilledesign.com

Auroville Centre for Scientific Research (CSR) Plus Times

CSR is an international voluntary organisation working towards a sustainable future in the field for renewable energy systems, appropriate architecture & building technologies, waste water recycling and sanitation and the transfer of these technologies through training programs. CSR was founded inn 1984.

ADEME Plus Times

The French Environment and Energy Management Agency(ADEME) is active in the implementation of public policy in the areas of the environment, energy and sustainable development. The Agency provides expertise and advisory services to businesses, local authorities and communities, government bodies and the public at large, to enable them to establish and consolidate their environmental action. As part of this work ADEME helps finance projects, from research to implementation, in the areas of waste management, soil conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, raw materials savings, air quality, noise abatement, circular energy transition and food wastage abatement. ADEME has supported the architectural design work of the new Centre. For more information about ADEME visit its website: http://www.ademe.fr/en

Mentors

Toine van Megen Plus Times

Toine is an expert on renewable energy who, for a period of 12 years, held senior management positions in the global wind energy sector. In Auroville, he worked for many years on the construction of the Matrimandir and later founded and managed several community services. He was also a founding member of the Auroville Renewable Energy Group, which later evolved into several Auroville renewable energy units and activities. Toine also contributes to Auroville’s infrastructure planning and development.

Natarajan Bala Baskar Plus Times

Mr Bala Baskar served two periods as the Secretary to the Auroville Foundation. Prior to that, he served as a senior IAS officer and held positions at levels of Principal Secretary, Joint Secretary and General Manager in various Government Departments of India and Government Departments of Haryana.

Dr Brahmanand Mohanty Plus Times

An independent energy and environment professional, Dr Mohanty teaches part-time at the School of Environment, Resources and Development of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). He also serves as the Regional Adviser for Asia for the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). He takes up short-term assignments for various international development and financing organizations. He devotes some time to issues related to sustainable models for enhancing energy access to the population at the base of the pyramid.
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“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” Dr Martin Luther King Jnr

Contact

Thank you for taking a look at our website.

I hope you are as excited as we are about creating the new Centre for Green Practices.

This is truly a community project. People around the world share our dream and are becoming part of our community. Let us know If you know of anyone who would care to join us.

Joining hands with us can mean anything from the offer of goodwill to something more active: Can you help us develop new institutional partnerships for fundraising or for new research projects? If so, please get in touch.

We do amazing work! Our courses change minds on the importance of sustainability, as does our research in related areas such as renewable energy and sustainable water management. The Centre will take this work to a whole new level with the impact felt all around us. Institutions who wish to explore the possibility of working with us, or see how the wonderful laboratory of Auroville has assisted some of our other academic and corporate collaborators in furthering their research, can always get in touch.

We also, of course, welcome donations - no matter how big or small!

To make the Centre for Green Practices a reality we need to raise 37.22 crores (approximately 5.73 million USD).
We can only do this with your help!

As the Centre emerges we shall look for ways to recognise and honour those who have helped us. Share your ideas on how we can best do this.

If you would like any information please feel free to contact us at

info@cgpauroville.org

+91 (0413) 2622571.

We would love to hear from you!

Martin Scherfler,
Co-Founder of Auroville Consulting

Martin