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Sludgecontest.jpg As part of the Emergency Sanitation Project, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies announce a student emergency sanitation design project. Deadline 3 March 2014


Sectional view of sand dam
Sand dams. Drought is the most serious natural hazard facing Eastern Africa in terms of severity and frequency of occurrence. The most seriously affected areas are Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALS) that face frequent reduction of water or moisture to significantly below the normal or expected amount Pastoralists and agro pastoralists who occupy this vast region barely meet basic water requirements. Consequently they suffer from livelihood losses, hunger, diseases, conflict and internal displacements. The worst affected are women and children who may have to walk all day long in search of water.

Due to limited and unreliable rainfall most rivers are ephemeral seasonal sandy bed streams and only experience heavy water run-off for short periods of time after rain. During such periods of high flows, large quantities of sand are transported downstream while others get trapped on the upstream sides of rocks ledges along the stream. Such sand traps form natural aquifers that are capable of providing clean adequate water if well harnessed. Using appropriate technologies this can be exploited for water storage in the form of sand dams.

Solar Charged Lawnmower

Converting a very used gas power lawnmower into a solar charged, low emission, almost silent, lawn cutting machine.

Ross Perot
The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.

Ross PerotW
Kiva's straw bale greenhouse
An alternative or natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology. As Michael G. Smith observes, it depends on "local ecology, geology and climate; on the character of the particular building site, and on the needs and personalities of the builders and users."

The basis of natural building is the need to lessen the environmental impact of buildings and other supporting systems, without sacrificing comfort, health or aesthetics. To be more sustainable, natural building uses primarily abundantly available, renewable, reused or recycled materials. The use of rapidly renewable materials is increasingly a focus. In addition to relying on natural building materials, the emphasis on the architectural design is heightened. The orientation of a building, the utilization of local climate and site conditions, the emphasis on natural ventilation through design, fundamentally lessen operational costs and positively impact the environmental. Building compactly and minimizing the ecological footprint is common, as are on-site handling of energy acquisition, on-site water capture, alternate sewage treatment and water reuse.

edit  watch  Selected service learning Projects gallery (refresh)

Engr305 Appropriate Technology Projects: Below are selected service learning projects from Engr305 Appropriate Technology, which is a course on appropriate technology at Humboldt State University taught by instructor Lonny Grafman.

Chris's ENGR305 Solar Food Dehydrator

A hybrid, solar food dehydrator  
Compressed earth brick press

An exploration of compressed earth bricks  
Deidre's vertical vegetable garden

Solar powered vertical vegetable garden  
Devan's vertical axis wind turbine

Experimental Vertical Axis Wind Turbine  
Engr305 peanut sheller project

Peanut sheller made from clay and newspaper  
Engr305 pulser pump

A working model of a Pulser pump  
Engr 305 solar learning station

Instructional Solar Learning Station  
ENGR305 windbelt

Testing new materials for prototype windbelts  
Ethanol from organic sugar beets versus refined cane sugar

Determining the cost inputs and energy outputs of small scale ethanol production  

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