Model House: Promoting Environment-friendly and Self-sustaining Households

Til Kumari Sunar at her model house in Mathillo Dhand, with a solar dryer on the right

In an attempt to encourage households in Dhungentar to adopt environment-friendly practices in daily household management, this project constructed a model house that showcases an integrated system of water, energy, and farm management. The model house was constructed for Til Kumari Sunar, a widow living alone in Mathillo Dhand, to support a particularly vulnerable beneficiary and encourage her to champion modern, cost-effective practices for daily household tasks. 

The three-room house has been constructed using interlocking compressed stabilised soil blocks (CSSBs), which were locally produced, utilise soil found in Dhungentar, and are eco-friendly since they are not fired during production. This technology is also disaster-resilient and cost-effective. The biogas plant installed in the model house reduces dependence on firewood and creates a clean cooking environment. This considerably lowers expenses on liquefied petroleum gas and is a sustainable, clean alternative because Til Kumari possesses cattle, which provide manure for biogas production. The biogas plant helps in waste management, and its by-product (slurry) can be used as an organic fertiliser. 

Various solar-powered technologies (installed with support from the Center for Rural Technology Nepal (CRT/N)) are operated at the model house, providing clean alternatives and lowering costs. A parabolic solar cooker is used for basic cooking and boiling water, and a solar dryer is used to dry and preserve food items. Three solar lamps (3 W each) donated by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) supplement lighting in the house and are particularly useful since power outages are common in Dhungentar. 

Til Kumari has an organic farm where she uses plastic tunnels and drip-feed irrigation to maximise yields. Water for irrigation is stored in two ways: rain water is harvested and stored in a tank and domestic waste water is stored in a plastic-lined pond. These storage methods are particularly important during the dry season. Using slurry from the biogas plant as an organic fertiliser, fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, bean, round chilli, lettuce, leafy mustard, okra, bitter gourd, and snake gourd are grown in the farm. Any surplus produce after domestic consumption is sold in Dhungentar or nearby settlements. 

These self-sufficient and innovative technologies show the way forward for post-disaster recovery and resilience building. With Til Kumari Sunar demonstrating on a daily basis how clean technologies can be practically adopted and resources optimised for securing livelihoods, this house can serve as a replicable model of sustainable lifestyle for households in Dhungentar and other earthquake-affected regions in Nepal. 

Gallery

Toilet constructed using compressed stabilised soil blocks
Rainwater harvesting system in the model house 
Solar dryer 
Parabolic solar cooker 
Vertical farming system  
Plastic pond 
Distribution of solar lamps for domestic consumption 
3-W solar panels for each household