S&S Sarvam, a gated community on 200 Feet Radial Road, Pallikaranai, has gone on a green drive by segregating waste, composting and generating manure. In addition, in what is a first for a high-rise building, the apartment complex has installed 10kW solar panels on the rooftop (14th floor) and has been tapping solar energy since September 2018.
Waste management overhaul
The residents of the apartment, which has a total of 203 flats, not only segregate waste at source but also do composting and generate several kilograms of manure.
“It all started last year when we first launched an awareness drive among residents on segregating waste at source. Upon our repeated requests, residents began segregating waste – wet waste and dry waste. They further segregated waste which goes to the compost pits in our apartment and other waste which goes to the landfill. Every floor has a list of bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste pasted near the lifts. Biodegradable waste in compost pits become manure in 45-60 days. They are sold at a nominal price to residents and nearby apartments,” said a Management Committee member of Sarvam Apartment Owners Welfare Association.
The entire waste management system underwent an overhaul. While previously, the resident used a chute system to dump waste, once the switch to source segregation took place, the chutes were blocked. Door to door collection now takes place with the help of the apartment maintenance staff. The apartment has achieved 80% segregation.
For wet waste, a compost yard was created. With the help of experts, pits were dug and a composting machine was also procured. The complex uses a crushing machine to speed up the process. In the last six months 300 kg of compost manure has been generated and sold to residents and interested parties at Rs 20 per kilo.
Single use plastic is banned in the premises. In order to reinforce the message of segregation, awareness drives are held regularly. Informative newsletters on the subject are also created and circulated among the residents.
Rooftop solar: The way ahead
With rooftop solar panels changing the city’s skyline, Sarvam also wanted to turn self-sufficient for energy. Last year, facilities like gym, community hall and mini theatre came under commercial EB tariff. When residents realised that the apartment power bill would hit the roof, they decided to tap solar energy. An expert team was formed which helped in identifying the right vendor and finalising 10kW solar panel for the apartment. They also availed the government subsidy offered for solar panels. “We hope the system will generate 40-50 units/day during summer and help us save us nearly Rs 1.30 lakh a year on our power bill,” the committee member added.
The panels were placed as a vertical structure on the roof. The official team from TEDA (Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency) inspected solar panel installation and then gave us the green signal for its operation.The presence of the Narayanapura lake and open fields has been a boon for power generation. A total of 36 panels have been installed at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakhs with subsidy. The current setup meets 10% of the total energy requirements. After the installation of the panel the common electricity bill has reduced by Rs 10000 each month. An app suggested by TEDA is used to monitor solar energy generation.
Water conservation efforts
Besides, the apartment has dredged all its RWH structures to help rejuvenate groundwater during rainy season. An operational sewage treatment plant on the premises also helps in treating sewage water and using it for flush tanks and watering plants in the complex. Sarvam residents have been actively taking part in such environment-friendly measures.