The Indo-German Urban Fair (Mela) is currently on in Chennai. The theme seems to be about sustainable living in cities. Frankly, it’s an advertisement for the products and services of German companies present in India, but it has been done so beautifully that the advertisements carry information, entertainment and inspiration. People who have been reading this blog for some time may know about my fondness for Germany. So, I thought why miss this fair, when it has come home?
Even though there were pavilions by many companies, pavilions by two companies impressed me the most – BASF & Deutsche Bank. So, I’ll speak about them in this post. The above photo shows the materials that can be used in roof insulation of our homes/offices. If we insulate our roofs with certain materials below the tiles, the temperature inside could be substantially lesser. We came to know about how organic LED’s made of organic semiconductor materials, which are so thin and one can use them as a luminous wall paper! There was a separate section for kids where they could try some hands-on chemical experiments. Curious, I tried to get in, but they spotted and classified me as an adult
The above exhibit shows a porous concrete material developed by BASF that allows rain water to get into the earth and hence increase the water table of that area (instead of being washed away along the drain). They even displayed transparent concrete! We saw the bio-degradable plastic developed by them and there is no need to ban plastic if we use it! They have also proposed a smart car that uses integrated solar roof, is made of light-weight materials like durable plastic (to reduce weight) and runs using high-capacity batteries. Zero-carbon transportation using renewable tech may look like a dream today, but we’ll get there soon.
The Deutsche Bank pavilion was perhaps the most innovative. Being a Bank, advertising their financial services would have been boring. So, in tune with the theme of the fair, they highlighted some sustainable living projects that they have supported in the past. The above photo has a model of, and info on, the Solar Impulse plane which recently completed a short inter-continental trip using just the energy generated by the on-board solar panels. They highlighted other projects they supported like the $300 USD house for the poor and the Mumbai waterfronts center project, which cleans up beaches.
The above set-up was inspired by the windowfarms project. It’s a way to grow vegetables inside urban houses that do not have space for a garden. It’s simple, effective and AWESOME. They had also put up information on cost-effective solar lamps that can be used by villagers instead of kerosene lamps.
The point they tried to drive home is: We, in cities are rapidly consuming energy and resources in the name of comfortable living. There are ways to harness technology to live comfortably without polluting the earth and without harming the environment. We should be aware of them and try to adopt them as we progress as a city. That’s sustainable living.
Do you want to see how a city in Germany looks like? Here it is –