Green Technology Challenge encourages disaster-ready designs

Bhutan is vulnerable to various disasters such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, forest fires, and other hazards due to our mountainous terrain. According to experts, to ensure resilience against these calamities, it is important to have infrastructures that can handle these hazards. At the 11th annual Green Technology Challenge in Phuentshogling, participants came up with ideas to build residential buildings that can withstand different hazards, going beyond the existing building designs.

Five student groups from the College of Science and Technology participated in the Annual Green Technology Challenge.

The theme focused on designing houses that are resilient to climate change and disasters in the country, prioritising the safety, comfort, and well-being of the people living in them.

The winner received a cash prize of Nu 25,000 while the first runners-up and second runners-up received Nu 20,000 and 15,000 respectively, along with certificates.

The ideas and designs from the winning teams will be incorporated into future house designs by the Tarayana Foundation.

“With the change of climate events, we have focused on three specific designs that are climate responsive, consideration for location-specific factors, and selection of materials. It is Tarayana’s flagship programme to reduce vulnerabilities in the communities that we serve,” said Tulsi Ghalley, programme officer at Tarayana Foundation.

“There is a great significance in improving rural livelihoods, especially about designing of the rural household structures whereby people will benefit with the use of traditional materials for building climate and disaster resilient house structures,” said Namgay Tenzin, the head of the Centre for Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Development Studies at CST.

“The concept of building with exceptional qualities like sustainability, cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency and reflection of the occupant’s culture is difficult. However, we have come up with Harmonia dwelling, which proves the genuine relationship between occupant’s culture and all the overall features,” said Sangay Wangchuk, the winner of the Green Technology Challenge.

“I am a civil engineering student and have been studying designs of infrastructures. So, with the knowledge I get from my classes and this technology challenge platform by Tarayana, I can understand how to develop or improve the existing structures or come up with new ideas,” said Tenzin Loden, a participant.

Students said that such initiatives allow them to apply their classroom learning to real-life situations.

The event was organised by the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Development and the College of Science and Technology’s Electrical Engineering Department in collaboration with the Tarayana Foundation.

The Green Technology Challenge was initiated in 2013 to support the country’s national goal of carbon neutrality and to provide a platform for future engineers to showcase their innovation and creativity.

Kinley Dem, Chhukha

Edited by Sonam Pem

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