Category Archives: ZED World

ZED WALDEN offers Haven for Weekend Farmers

city garden.1We call it ZED-Walden, after Henry David Thoreau’s immortal and idyllic Walden Pond.

It is spread over 4 acres, on the edge of a 500-year-old lake off Doddaballapur Road. It lies 30 minutes to the north of the city’s heart in Bangalore.

The lake is under threat of dying. ZED Walden is essentially an agro-ecology restoration project. BCIL Alt. Tech Foundation (BATF) will introduce global best practices to reintegrate natural systems into farming in order to maximize sustainability, ecosystem services and biodiversity of seeds and crops.

Says Ms Kartikeyan, “Degraded farms, especially on the fringe of the Bangalore plateau, cannot be restored to a purely natural state because of too many years of use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” ZED Walden is about crafting eco-sensitive methods of intercropping that are ecologically sustainable while being economically viable. The crops that will be grown range from millets and pulses to flowers and other crops that are grown in the micro region of Doddaballapur and Chickaballapur.

“ZED Walden should inspire farmers to take to these farming techniques that we will demonstrate powerfully,” adds Ms Kartikeyan.

Look out for more in this space in future editions.

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ZED launches work on Deep-Eco Resort in Coorg

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It’s a 60-acre expanse of dense rainforest. It spans 4 mountains and 2 perennial streams. To the north of this steep and undulating rainforest is a massive sprawl of 600 hectare or 1500 acres of grasslands that are part of the larger ecosystem of biodiversity recognized to be among 18 such hotspots in the world.

“We are not touching the rainforest. The idea is to protect and conserve this fragile ecosystem that is in its tertiary stage of succession as rainforests go,” offers Hariharan as part of the larger mission objective of this Deep-Eco mountain getaway.

The resort will offer 40 quiet, exquisite designer chalets for discerning families who seek to come in as travelers and return as half-conservationists.

The design spectrum is being worked out to craft elements that will appeal to urban enthusiasts, children and adults alike.

The resort aims to be soft-launched at the end of 2014 with 15 chalets, a  heritage bungalow of 1912 that will host creative diversions for guests, and a hand-crafted ambience of plants and hardscaping around the resort.

The ZED Deep-Eco resort will inspire  landscaping that gently stewards vegetation in the open expanses.

“The idea is not to only set an acceptable standard of hospitality to the guests. It is also to offer a stunningly rich and memorable experience of a rainforest coming alive,” says Dinesh, Director Technologies.

Watch this space for more in future editions.

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Jagriti Yatra: Pilgrimage sans religion.

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It’s a yatra, alright. It is a journey that covers 8000 km over 15 days. It’s a travel that takes 450 of India’s young and thinking students, engineers, doctors, computer science workers and a host of other people, on a guided tour of places and purposes.

Their only qualification to be part of the yatra is that they are between 20 and 27 years and they want to learn and do something about India’s future.

So the yatra is not merely to physical places as much as it is a journey within to delve into their own minds and those of other yatriks who choose to travel ‘the other road’ with a purpose and vision larger than themselves.

The jagriti yatra (http://www.jagritiyatra.com/) has been done every year since 2008. This time, as in previous years, the 450 yatriks culminated their 15-day journey at the Gandhi Ashram on Sabarmati’s banks just outside of Amdavad. It was symbolic but was poignant. It was a congregation of energetic young minds seeking to understand the relevance of Gandhi to the future of India.

Some of them were bewildered at the possible connect that could exist between Gandhian times and now (How can Gandhi be relevant to us now?!).  Some of them were hopeful of what could be achieved in a new India  as the yatra took them to islands of excellence over the 8000 km ride in a train with 18 railway coaches that was home for all of them for as long. There were some others who despaired at how India’s polity was so diseased that we can’t bring change at all.

One thing was common, though. They all were vibrant, seeking, enquiring in nature and wanted to make a difference.

Rajni Bakshi (who wrote Bapu Kutir in the 1990’s), Sudheendra Kulkarni (a biographer of Gandhi and advisor to Vajpayee when he was PM) and Bcil’s  Hariharan were panelists with the theme being Gandhi and his relevance to today’s India.

Shashank Mani Tripathi drives the spirit at Jagriti Yatra with a formidable team of mainstream professionals who volunteer time and passion for the yatra.

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ZED partners with CEPT

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It’s the Mecca of architecture and sustainable design and resource planning. The Amdavad-based Centre for Environment Planning and Technology that is 60 years old this year has been pushing the frontier on strategies and directions for creating buildings into India’s future.

It was two years ago that Prof Rajan Rawal of CEPT invited BCIL as a frontline pioneer of ZED buildings to be a partner in a first-of-its-kind Indo-US energy initiative.

The 5-year programme has an institutional partner from the US in Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, and a green builder partner from Tallahassee, Florida.

These 4 institutions have been working on a detailed action plan under the US-Indo joint Centre for Building and Energy Research & Development, CBERD.

The CEPT campus will host the CBERD project in India and Oak Ridge in the US.

Other participating institutes are IIM-A, MNIT, IIIT and CSR, and the Department of Energy in the US.

BCIL’s partnership in the CBERD programme will signify support that we offer in tech product development and analysis, prototype testing, integration of products with complimentary tech, collaborating of research in building materials and applications, exploration of new ideas, inventions, and software tools.

BCIL will also provide access to its pools of professional expertise in areas of sustainable technologies and process implementation.

As part of the continuing programme of CBERD, January 2014 saw Vinay and Harikrishna from BCIL ZED present at a meeting in Amdavad of professionals from institutions across a spectrum of domain expertise.

Says Vinay, “It was quite an experience to be listening and interacting with some of the finest minds in India. It helped us understand the significance of CBERD and the work that we have to do over the next 3-4 years to achieve results as we partner this important initiative.”

Adds Harikrishna, “The study is at the highest level of knowledge exploration in sustainable design and technology. Its findings will impact India’s building industry like nothing has done ever before.”

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Poorna Swaraj Vallur:

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Freedom from Govt for energy and water

The BCIL Alt Tech Foundation has launched an audacious project for coaxing life out of a land that is barren, receives less than half the Indian average of rainfall, and has the misfortune of not receiving the brunt of the monsoon.

The location: Village Vallur in Pavagada taluka of Tumkur district, due north of Bangalore.

Poorna Swaraj, as the project is called, is aimed at attaining independence from external grid energy, zero import of cultivation water, zero use of deep borewells that deplete groundwater systems, zero use of inorganic/ chemical-based/ synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that increase demand for water, zero soil contamination and raising of food crops that bring no poison to birds, livestock and human beings who eat these foods. 90 per cent of vulture species in the world have disappeared in the last 40 years because of such poisoning of foods — each lonesome bird preys over 40 sq km.

Poorna Swaraj Vallur will also secure freedom from use of seeds that are unnatural, hybridized or genetically modified.

The 46-acre expanse will demonstrate powerfully the harvest of minimum two crops instead of the rainfed single crop that most such lands with scanty rainfall offer in India. It will create an effective set of watershed management practices that utilize groundwater from shallow aquifers with open wells that are powered by solar pumps or with simple mechanical devices that make easy the drawing of water with human energy or is oxen-driven.

There is a clear return to the past, to the times of our grandfather. Going energy-free and with non-invasive organic fertilizers will heal the land and bring restorative processes that let the land offer greater yields with less effort over the longer term.

So what does Poorna Swaraj Vallur grow?

Millets and pulses that are primarily water-efficient. They need no more than 2 tonnes of water (2000 litres/kg). Cereals like paddy and wheat need 4 tonnes while sugarcane demands a staggering 14000 litres/kg.

Such insensate farm practices — fed by urban market needs — have led to massive water logging and soil salinity across irrigated parts of India and the rich doabas that flank the Ganga-Jamuna, the Godavari-Krishna, the Mahanadi-Tapti and such other once-fertile basins of India.

Poorna Swaraj Vallur is ambitious in its intent and in the daunting target that it has set for itself. Says Hariharan, Executive Trustee, BATF, “India has 60% of its cultivable lands in these non-monsoon, rainfed zones. The farmer looks at the sky and prays in futility. We need solutions that inspire relief for these silent millions.”

Poorna Swaraj Vallur will also achieve a sharp increase in productivity from the norm per acre of 1.5  tonnes of pulses and millets, to 2.5 tonnes. China has shown 3.5-4 tonnes an acre to be possible.

The crop pattern and production will be engineered with natural cultivation processes kicked into place with a combination of natural enhancers, drip irrigation system, nano technology based productivity inducers and farm management that is sensitive to nature’s demands while being functional on process needs.

Adds Hariharan, “Over 25 years of driving business that breach the barriers of economic possibility, the BCIL ZED Group has demonstrated powerfully many options for a better life. Our hope here, too, is that others will be inspired into doing what we do. We cannot change the world!”

Poorna Swaraj is backed by a phalanx of professionals. Thampi Sabari is a senior IT professional who is walking out of his current job soon to drive process and management. Ms Kartikeyan is a doctoral in watershed management from the Punjab University with 2 four-year stints at Oxford University and IGES, Kanagawa in Japan. Poorna Swaraj is also backed by operational mentoring from Harikrishna, President, ZED Communites, and Sridhar Lakshmanan, an IIM-A alumnus who is a staggering resource person on networking across India to secure ground-up technologies and systems that can bring efficiency.

Says Thampi Sabari, “It’s a God given opportunity. I think I have wasted 25 years of my life with commercialism. I wish I had someone to inspire me early in life. It’s never too late, though!”

Ms Kartikeyan adds, “It’s an exciting journey. I have a tough challenge handling demands of home and my passion at work. But no one can throw me out of this campaign kicking and screaming!”

Says Harikrishna, “Everything about what we do at BCIL is fascinating to me. The wealth of knowledge that springs from these amazing experts like Hariharan, Sridhar, and others, gives us the infinite joy of learning and doing. Walking the talk at ZED is the mission that I own and drive.”

4 Brothers walk inspiring trail.

happy walkers team on trailOxfam India offers a Trailwalker every year. An interesting twist is that four brothers, all of them over 50, have chosen to participate in this walk that covers 100 km. The purpose of the trail walker is to foster the spirit of brotherhood.
The walk symbolizes their collective quest for a just, fair, sensitive and happy society. Among the 4 brothers is Shankar Jaganathan who is associated with BCIL ZED and is on the board of Oxfam India.
Every trailwalker seeks donors who share the sensibility, the passion and commitment. They are looking to collect 1000 Rs / km to every person who takes the trailwalker. Do you want to blaze a new trail yourself? Check this link (link).

Rainseed marks new Mysore Milestone

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Another carefully crafted residential layout it was launched in October softly. Says Chairman Hariharan, “Over ten years, BCIL has managed to create two fine residential layouts in the Royal City that are the envy of most Mysoreans.”

BCIL has built a formidable reputation over the last decade for unmatched features and amenities that make your investment worth the longer while.

For the young investor who likes to grow money smartly with capital appreciation in either the short- or the long-term, an investment in a plot at Zed Rainseed is the best hedge.

Here’s your Zero Energy Way to retire

DSC_0580There’s another exciting launch in the offing. 25 compact spaces, all of them with low-energy, high-impact AC’s, and a host of other services being offered at ZedEarth.

It’s a limited edition launch. “With the campus offering so much as facilities, and with 150 families living there, we said it’d be great to host just a few senior citizens who will derive great joy and comfort in making home here,” says Dinesh, Executive Director. “It’s great to see people who share your values, and who secure the comfort of some fine living and dining in the graceful years of their lives,” he adds.

BCIL invited to rare forum

Speakers from the past were stalwarts like B G Verghese, Justice Santosh Hegde, Vandana Shiva, and the legendary Maj Gen Cardozo. It was the Gyan Ganga series.

Chandrashekar Hariharan was invited to be the fifth in the series of such august speakers since its inception.

The event? The annual gathering of the Pune-based Indira School of Management Studies, a high-ranking business school in western India. The hall was filled to capacity.

The theme Hariharan chose to speak on was Public Concern, Private Cause. “It was inspiring for the hundreds of post-grad students who listened rapt,” said Prof. Vijairaghavan of the institute.

ZedEarth launches Casablanca

OctCasablanca. The name evokes memories of a romantic era post-World War. It also evokes enchanting images of white homes (Casablanca in Spanish) that stand out against the lush green of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

ZedEarth offers a specially crafted cluster of 30 homes. All of them painted the timeless azure and albeido that marks the Qasbah anywhere in the Arab world right down to the sunbaked cities of Balmer and Jaisalmer.

ZedCasablanca homes offer options at 3- and 4-bedrooms. They are sun-filled, expansive, sunlit, and cool on the interior, elegant on colours and tones, and leafy in natural decor.

These spaces are great for asthmatics (pollen-free air), and curative for arthritics and rheumatoids (with floors that are warm to touch, and free of vitrified tiles).

Says Sanjay Ramanujam, “These offer healthy living spaces with systems that make Casablanca Homes affordable; secure on energy and water for the long term with grid freedom for both water and waste; and sophisticated yet rugged systems that make for great living.”

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