Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.
is the site for collaborative solutions in sustainability
reduction and international development
through the use of sound principles
and appropriate technology
and the sharing of wisdom and project
information. It is a wiki
, a type of website which allows anyone to add, remove, or edit content. Registration is encouraged but not required for contributors.
Appropedia has been described as an "appropriate technology wiki," but it is much broader than that - it is a green wiki, and a wiki for all matters of international development and aid. But most importantly, Appropedia is an open site for stakeholders to come together to find, create and improve scalable and adaptable solutions.
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What makes "appropriate technology
" is determined by context. Therefore, none of these are absolute - they are simply common features that make a technology "appropriate" to a world where many suffer a lack of basic necessities, a lack of money, and lack of equipment and technological expertise. They are also technologies that have a gentle impact on the earth:
* Small, as in Small is Beautiful. Small often means affordable and adaptable, and puts the control in the hands of the users. Small also means local, which offers benefits in resilience;
* Few moving parts - less to go wrong (similar to the KISS principle).
* Can be built locally;
* Easily repaired, by local people with locally available equipment;
* Affordable; and
* Made with locally available materials.
The source of the technology doesn't matter much - it matters much more that it is appropriate. While the source of a technology sometimes becomes an issue in discussions of technology for international development, technology from anywhere can have uptake and make an impact, as evidenced by the mobile phone.
A detailed greywater system at Centro Orgánico Finca Sarita, an Ecuadorian seed saving center.
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.