Self Sufficient Apartment Communities – An Open House

by Vishnu

Dear ADDA Users,

The Open House on "Self Sufficient Apartment Communities" last Saturday was a wonderful experience!

Thanks to all who participated, presented, debated and gave us loads to learn!

The Alternative and ADDA organised the Open House on 15 June 2013, at TERI, Domlur,

with Community Initiative Partners Saahas and Outreach Partners India Water Portal.

Here are some of the Feedback coming in:

"I compliment and thank the organisers of the Open House. It was very informative, helped to connect with

government reps as well as other housing societies and gave many of us new insight and inspiration to tackle

some of the problems in our societies. Please keep it up!" – Subbu Hegde, Classic Orchards


"Very well curated and planned event….A good beginning..As some of the participants mentioned, these

forums can also happen for apartment and RWA’s at the community level….. Looking forward to more such

forums."  – Lingaraj Dinni, Brigade Gardenia


"Thank you very much for giving this wonderful opportunity to meet other community/association/society friends

and gain tremendous knowledge shared by all of them." – Kannan Venkitachalam, Mana Sarovar Apartments

Self-sufficient Apartment Communities: TakeAways

All Presentations from the Open House are available here:

And here is a crisp Write-Up summarizing the Workshop Takeaways, done by The Alternative, for this Blog:

Bangalore stands third in the list of most populous cities in India. The population is growing rapidly and is about to

touch the 1 crore figure very soon. The fallout of this unplanned growth is seen in the garbage crisis, water scarcity

and frequent power cuts faced in the city today. And this scarcity is amplified in the 2 lakh odd apartments and

highrises that dot the city’s skyline.

Managing the city better translates to all stakeholders planning and implementing initiatives in their own homes,

apartments and campuses. And addressing apartments and their sustainability story was a Saturday 1/2 day

workshop on Self-Sufficient Apartments: An Open House”, organised by The Alternative, together with ADDA.

The June 15 Apartment Open House at TERI, Domlur, brought eminent experts like P Manivannan, MD, BESCOM,

Kalpana Kar, expert, Solid Waste Managament, Dr. Anant Kodavasal, STP expert, and practitioners, together with

apartment champions tackling the challenging issues of waste, water and energy efficiency in their complexes.

The workshop was attended by over 75 apartment communities spread across the city.

Part 1 focused on water and part 2 focused on waste. A brief summary of the key takeways during the sessions:

P. Manivannan, MD, BESCOM and Namma Bengalurean of the year awardee


  • Don’t wait for the government, start your own initiatives".
  •  Can expect solar infrastructure in Bangalore in a year, KREDL is working on it.
  • BESCOM planning to work with NGOs and other organisations over the next 5 years to implement

sustainable power in the city.

Mr. Manivannan involved the audience in a game, details of which is available HERE.


The water track was an in-depth session on the two most pressing problems faced by apartments

today – sewage treatment and water metering. Most apartments faced challenges in retro-fitting

and maintaining their recycling plants that they were mandated to do under KSPCB norms.

Water metering on the other hand was as an emerging area of interest for a lot of apartments

that looked to pay as per consumption and combat the problem of private water tanker mafia.


Water metering (Sajin Kunhambu of Oasis Breeze, Kannan Venkitachalam of Manasarovar,

Vinod of I-meter solutions)


  • Water metering is policing and in the absence of general intent to conserve among residents,

the only choice.

  • Installing water metering can cut down individual water bills by as much as 40% over a period

of time and availability of information cuts down the usage by 20-25%.

  • More than ROI, the reason for implementing water management measures is the realisation that

aquifers are shared and all borewells in the city are drying up. “It is essential that we are our

own water managers”, said Avinash of Biome Environmental Solutions.




 More Resources on Water Metering:

Mana Sarovar – one of the very early societies that retrofitted Individual Water Meters.

Ashoka Windows & Annexe – Water Metering in a 111 Unit Apartment Complex.

ADDA Water Workshop of 25-Feb-2012


Sewage Treatment (Dr. Anant Kodavasal)

  • Retro fitting is possible in older apartments. Installation costs for a complex with 180-200 units

including STP, overhead tanks and plumbing, is about 20-25 lakhs. 

  • Operating cost is approx Rs. 3550 for treating 130 KL per day.

  • STPs require a huge amount of regular maintenance for it to function efficiently. Every 7 months, the water

must be sent for testing, said Mr. Subbu Hegde from COPOA.

  • 1 lakh litres per day is the point when an apartment can balance Capex and Opex for an STP


More Resources on STP:

STP Designs – By Dr. Ananth

Perspective of the Pollution Control Board (MDN Simha)  

  • Apartment Owners Associations must be aware of the Regulations with respect to Waste Management –

Solid Waste, as well as Sewage.

  • While taking Handover from the Builder receiving the Legal Papers filed by the Builder with the Pollution

Control Board, is a mandatory handover element. All Papers related to Sewage Treatment Plant (STP),

Garbage Disposal Etc. must be collected.

Waste management

The waste management track focused on what the city was doing to tackle the management of over 3500 MT of waste

everyday, and showcased apartments that were solving the problem bottom-up through in-situ initiatives.

Kasa Muktha Bengaluru – The city’s efforts to manage waste (Kalpana Kar)

  • The core is segregation at source – Hum Do, Humare Do when it comes to dustbins
  • Policy initiatives: PIL to segregate waste, elimination of SWM cess for apartments managing their own waste,
  • EPR bill to be piloted for corporates and companies
  • Kasa Muktha – a proud Zero-Waste-Ward award.
  • Polluter Pays – 22 wards in Kasamukhta. Penal provision amendment is close to being accepted at

government level.

  • Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCC) in 198 wards, building and maintenance by BBMP is in progress.
  • Bulk generator based management solutions –Wake Up Clean Up solutions comprehensive handbook now

available for varying levels and kinds of waste and generators from apartments to hospitals, hotels,

traders and corporates.

  • Plans afoot for certification and audit mechanism for waste management.

Composting (Madhu of Brigade Gateway, 1250 apartments)

  • Segregate of waste in 7 categories established including e-waste which they implemented recently.
  • Main crunch is availability of space for composting
  • Huge challenge is lack of sustainable market for composting – “What’s the point in creating it if we can’t sell it?”
  • Best Practices: Capture data on the waste collected and revenues are generated out of  recycled dry waste,

penalise apartments who are not segregating by not collecting waste.

  • To spread awareness about segregation, Brigade Gateway is training maids.


More information on Waste Management in large Complexes here:

Waste Recycling For Apartments – What

Waste Recycling For Apartments – How

The Alternative, a media platform focused on sustainable living, is putting together a bunch of stories chronicling the

journey of apartments across the city on sustainability initiatives. The platform is building an exclusive information

and engagement space on sustainability for homes and apartments in the city.

You could get in touch with them at


Saahas, the Community Initiative Partner, announced an audit at discounted rates for apartments looking to

evaluate their current waste management.

You can see some of the Rates behind the Event Organizing Team below 🙂 

Details are present at this Slideshare:

Here is an Apartment Community that has already started the Action!


Media Coverage of the Event:


Did you attend the Open House? What did you think about it? Are there any Topics you believe can be relevant for future Workshops / Open Houses for Apartment Communities?



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