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Rope pump upper construction
Rope pumps. Industrial hand pumps, such as the Indian Mark II, for communal wells donated by development projects often break down after two years. If maintenance costs are the responsibility of the users, then this cost is too high when repairs prove necessary and the pump is left nonfunctional.

An alternative reliable hand pump is needed for communal and private use to supply clean drinking water and irrigation. These pumps will raise the standard of living if they are low cost, reliable and pump water effectively. Efficiency is critical to irrigate a garden in the dry season due to the relatively large amount of water involved. Such gardens provide food and increased income.

Local affordability, maintenance and good pump efficiency are required features. Local affordability means a twenty-to-hundred-fold cost reduction compared to imported industrial goods. Local maintenance is only possible when made with local resources and skills.

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Hydroponic Vertical Garden at Sembradores Urbanos

Hydroponic Vertical Garden at Sembradores Urbanos. a non profit in Mexico City dedicated to transforming urban areas into green, productive, and sustainable spaces.

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.

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