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It is almost passé for architecture of all forms and for every purpose to take the Green route today. Be it educational institutions, corporate buildings, government offices or commercial buildings, public areas like airports, railways stations and sports stadiums, residential constructions or even hospitals – Sustainability and Green are buzzwords that none can ignore. But the winner is the “Golden Temple” of Sripuram in Tamil Nadu. As a place of worship, it stands out as the latest form of architecture, most unusually, that has embraced the Green concept.
This Golden Temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foothills of Malaikodi, a village within the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. Sripuram received “Exnora Green Temple Award” and “Exnora Best Eco-friendly Campus of India Award” from Deputy Chief Minister of Tmail Nadu, Shri M.K. Stalin on 27th October earlier this year.
Exnora International is a non-government environmental service organization. The body has rated the temple as one of the best enviro-models of the world.
The temple is a paradise of sorts, where tranquillity, greenery and peace reign supreme. An attractive-looking terracotta-tiled ceiling over the 1.5 km long star-shaped foot path leading to the temple provides for the entry of ample natural light and wind.
The eco-friendly features include Solid Waste Management (SWM), Liquid Waste Management (LWM), rainwater harvesting, bio-gas generation, organic farming, herbal gardens, paddy fields and tree plantations, hill and campus afforestation and harnessing of solar energy. Manure and water for cultivation are generated internally.
Plastics and glasses are shredded, papers compressed into bales and sent for recycling by the Solid Waste Management system. Sripuram Temple attracts a daily footfall of over 5,000 which translate into two tonnes of waste, both bio-degradable and recyclable. The waste is either turned back into material or into manure which is used for the site’s soil. The waste water is recycled and used to irrigate the grass and plantations. Vegetables for meals are grown internally.
About 3 tonnes of cow dung aids in the generation of 50 kgs of fuel which in turn is used for cooking. Also, the bio-gas generated from a mixture of cow dung and waste food is used at temple’s accommodations, hospital and community kitchens.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar heaters generate hot water which is also used in the kitchens, thereby reducing the need for procurement of fuel from external sources by 80 percent. Canals and ponds dug up within the site help recharge ground water. The temple generates water for its own needs and also supplies some for public use when rainfall is insufficient.
Zero Waste Management (ZWM)
The temple also practices Zero Waste Management. This system includes a biogas plant. Between April 2002 and November 2003, the system has generated 33.8 tonnes of compost (worth Rs. 52,280) and earned Rs. 22,400 through sale of recyclables. The compost generated is used in various areas within the temple site like the gardens, agricultural fields, nurseries and for hill restoration. The success of the project has encouraged the management to extend the ZWM to the Malaikodi village.
Waste Processing Facility (WPF)
The temple authorities have set up a Waste Processing Facility (WPF). Four to five mega tonnes of garbage generated daily is processed by 70 workers. The bio – degradable waste is converted into organic manure through aerobic composting and vermicomposting. The recyclables are segregated into 48 categories, packed and sold to recyclers. The average income from sale of compost and recyclables is Rs.1 lakh per month. An average of 2 tonnes of garbage is collected everyday from surrounding areas.
During the treatment process, natural manure is created and used at the Sakthi Amma Greenery Afforestation Revolution (SAGAR) and the Sakthi Amma Afforestation Program (SAAP). Cleaning powders are made from fruit and vegetable peels.