Sustainable Home/Green Home is a type of house designed to be environmentally sustainable. Green homes focus on the efficient use of “energy, water and building materials”. A green home may utilize sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly, and/or recycled building materials. It may include sustainable energy sources such as solar or geothermal, and be sited to take maximum advantage of natural features such as sunlight and tree cover to improve energy efficiency. Composting, Rain water Harvesting, Bio Gas, Bio Bricks and many such practices are the Key features of a Green Home. This article focusses on Composting.
Composting is a technology to transform organic waste to manure. It is simply the breaking down of complex organic waste into simpler compost which is a nutrient rich conditioner for soil. Composted manure is an excellent soil conditioner for both farm and garden. It is an organic matter source with a unique ability to improve the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of soil.
Types of Composting:
- Aerobic Composting
Organic matter is decomposed in the presence of air (Fig 1). The heat generated accelerates the breakdown of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates. Hence, the processing time is shorter. This process also destroys many micro-organisms that are human or plant pathogens. Although more nutrients are lost from the materials by aerobic composting, and it requires more user-intervention, it is considered more efficient and useful than anaerobic composting.
- Anaerobic Composting
Organic matter is decomposed in the absence of air (Fig 2). The waste material is sealed and left undisturbed for several weeks. The advantage of this method is low-maintenance and if executed well, it avoids pests. The disadvantage is that in the absence of air, the process takes longer. Also, in the absence of aerobic microorganisms, the compost may need further processing before it can be used on plants.
Certain species of earthworms are used to enhance the composting process and produce superior, bio-available compost. They feed and digest the organic waste materials, excreting them in granular form known as vermicompost. Apart from other nutrients, vermicompost is rich in NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorous Potassium). It enhances plant growth, suppresses disease in plants, increases porosity and microbial activity in soil, and improves water retention and aeration
Pictures for different types of Composting
Benefits of Composting
- Composting converts waste to usable product, compost, which can be used to replenish nutrients in poor soils and gardens.
- Since 60% to 75% of the household waste is organic, composting is a great step towards solid waste management.
- The added compost also helps to retain soil moisture thereby improving the plant growth.
- It reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Reduces methane emission from landfills and lowers our carbon footprint.
About Bioclean Composting Media (Coco peat)
Bioclean is a highly efficient solid state aerobic fermentation media which can convert biodegradable material into high value organic manure without any foul odor in duration of 20-30 days. Bioclean is a unique composting media. This composting media is charged with perfect combination of naturally occurring friendly and efficient aerobic microbes.
Benefits of Bioclean:
- A hassle free, convenient method permits the processing of organic garbage, even in a domestic environment, in a short time.
- Absolutely no foul smell. A biodegradable waste which generates foul smell, when introduced into the composting medium, loose the foul smell immediately.
- No leachate during the process.
- No flies when the moisture is maintained at an optimum level.
- Frequent turning of the material is not required thereby reducing the inconvenience associated with turning.
- The organic manure generated by this media has a very important role to play in enhancing the soil fertility and it is an excellent growing medium which can be used in home gardens and vegetable and fruit cultivation.
Method of Composting
- Fill the composter with around 2 to 3 gunny bags of compacted dry leaves upto 2 inch thickness from the bottom of the composter.
- Sprinkle the wet Bioclean powder and water above dry leaves layer as shown in the Fig. 4.
- Repeat the above layering process daily.
- After around 60 days manure can be removed from the door provided at the bottom of the composter.
Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies (CREST) is a leading Centre for deployment of renewable energy based efficient devices/ systems and dissemination of the system/products to the people in the region.
The major objectives of CREST are:
- To promote widespread use of renewable energy devices and systems
- To develop qualified personals in the field of Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies
- To design and develop renewable energy systems.
- To provide comprehensive and cost-effective renewable energy solutions through project and consultancy services.
- Work for the cause of society and for green and sustainable technologies.
Major technologies promoted: Kitchen waste biogas plants, bio-diesel, solar energy, rain water harvesting and fuel-efficient cook stoves.
NIE-CREST Credentials on Composting
Fig. 7 and 8 Inauguration of Leaf Composters at NIE Golden Jubilee block by K H Jagadeesha, Commissioner, MCC – Installed by NIE-CREST
Installation of Aerobic composter by CREST at Harohalli
This is all about composting. In the upcoming articles, lets see about the other major features of a Sustainable Home.
About the Author
Prof. Shamsundar Subbarao
Prof. Shamsundar Subbarao Head, CREST, The National Institute of Engineering, Mysuru-570 008 Contact : 91-821-4004914