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Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

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in sustainability, appropriate technology and poverty reduction.

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Windmillprint-crop.jpg As part of a 3-D printing class, graduate students will be designing printable open-source appropriate technology for sustainable development. If you want a technology designed to be 3-D printed, post your ideas here. Chosen designs will be made and open-sourced for the global community. Deadline Nov. 13, 2014


A treadle pump being demonstrated in Malawi.
A treadle pump is a human-powered Pump designed to lift water from a depth of seven meters or less. A Treadle is a lever device pressed by the foot to drive a machine, in this case a pump. The treadle pump can do most of the work of a motorized pump, but costs considerably less (75%) to purchase. Because it needs no Fossil fuel (it is driven by the operator's body weight and Leg Muscl]s), it can also cost less (50%) to operate than a motorized pump. It can lift five to seven cubic meters of water per hour from wells and Boreholes up to seven meters deep and can also be used to draw water from Lakes and Rivers. Many treadle pumps are manufactured locally, but they can be challenging to produce consistently without highly skilled welders and production hardware.

Compared to bucket irrigation, the treadle pump can greatly increase the income that farmers generate from their land by increasing the number of growing seasons, by expanding the types of crops that can be cultivated, and improving on the quality of grown crops.

New Dawn composting toilet

New Dawn composting toilet at a demonstration center in Costa Rica, helping treat human waste and provide fertilizer with a reduced bacteria count.

Architect Eliel Saarinen
Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.

Eliel SaarinenW
Planted cattails at Millcreek greywater
Greywater, sometimes also spelled as graywater, grey water or gray water, is all of the effluent water from a household, such as water discharged from lavatories (bathroom sinks), bathtubs, showers, clothes washers, and laundry trays. Greywater is not wastewater from a sink used for food preparation, or water closet (toilet) wastewater.

The water leaving our homes carries nutrients and value. It may also contain pathogens, and/or harsh chemicals and care should be taken with it. However, it is not a great risk compared to blackwater (sewage).

Redirecting the water we use for tasks such as showering allows us to reclaim some of that value to grow plants and recharge the water table. It may be necessary to choose our soaps and detergents more carefully, if we use the greywater for watering and fertilizing plants.

Main portal: Water
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The Parras Summer Program, in Parras,W, Mexico is a summer immersion in Appropriate Technology, globalization and Spanish language and culture. See the Parras Invitation for more information.

Most of the Parras2005 group near Perote  
Most of the Parras2006 group near Perote  
Most of the Parras2007 group farming  
Most of the Parras2008 group near Perote  

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