About the company
Startup or self-employed
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560071, India
Clean water and sanitation
Affordable and clean energy
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Sustainable cities and communities
Responsible consumption and production
Smarter Dharma is a social enterprise working on environmental & social sustainability.
Smarter Dharma is a social enterprise operating spectrum-wide in the field of environmental & social sustainability. We work at the intersection of societal welfare and environmental sustainability delivering financially viable solutions. We are motivated to facilitate the global efforts to transition to a circular economy by helping our clients shift from the ‘business-as-usual’ approach to one that entails efficient and sustainable business practices.
Material Natural stone waste slurry to new bricks & pavers for the construction industry
Summary: The mining and stone quarrying industry is typically considered a polluting industry that mars the landscape and spews out enormous amounts of debris. Further, at the processing unit, quarried raw stone is generally cut into various usable sizes and thicknesses using diamond blades: these blades are washed continuously with water to prevent overheating of the blades & dust settling, thereby generating slurry waste. This waste is often transported and disposed on company owned landfill sites outside the factory polluting the land ,air & underground water resources. In India, a stone processing company has a vast range of products, including granite, marble, slate, limestone, quartzite and sandstone. Smarter Dharma offers a solution that aims to effectively use granite slurry and convert it into bricks & pavers which goes back into the lifecycle in construction as raw material in the construction industry. At present, Smarter Dharma has been able to formulate granite slurry into bricks with a waste composition of 75-78%. .This helps the entire natural stone & indeed the construction industry create a model where they could generate a resource from waste rather than dumping it on the landfill site. For example, a client of Smarter Dharma has in last three and half years has been able to divert more than more than 40,000 tonnes of waste from landfill sites and have been converted into bricks & pavers. The emissions associated with the transportation of granite waste to landfill sites was also mitigated. The conversion of granite slurry into brick helped Smarter Dharma to win the 2015 Parivartan Sustainability Leadership Awards under the most innovative waste reuse solution category. Business Case Study: The conversion of granite waste slurry to bricks helped TAB India build a cradle to cradle model making waste a resource rather than a disposable. All actions at Smarter Dharma are usually mapped to sustainable development goals with this particular activity mapping itself to Climate Action, Sustainable cities and communities, life on land and life on water. The key results were as follows 1. TAB India successfully diverted more than 200 tons of granite slurry waste from the landfill every month on reusing it for making bricks & pavers. The proposed product effectively utilized the granite slurry to convert them into bricks that can be used in construction. 2. Emissions associated with the transportation of granite waste to landfills was mitigated. 3. The brick is composed of more than 70% of waste material. This reduces the amount of virgin materials required to make the brick and develops a potential use for waste. 4. These granite slurry bricks would replace the use of clay and cement bricks whenever they are used thereby, reducing the demand for alternatives which are less sustainable. This composition was way above the standard of 40% reused waste set by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). This avoid the use of virgin materials for making bricks. Hence, all the emissions associated with the mining, manufacturing, transporting and packaging of these virgin materials is mitigated. In the pilot run, TAB India could produce 18,000 bricks from waste material on site and the brick is successfully listed as green building material by IGBC. The conversion of waste to bricks diverted all the waste away from landfills thereby mitigating 3.32 tons of CO2e every year of travel emissions associated with the transportation of waste to landfill sites. Calculation of carbon emissions from travel was based on the emission factor for diesel and the mileage of the truck in accordance to the Indian GHG program for road transport. Raw granite is usually cut using diamond blades. Water is showered on these blades while stone blocks are cut into sheets of varying thickness to cool the blades and absorb the dust produced during the cutting operation. This is the process where the granite slurry gets generated. The slurry generated is highly alkaline and pollutes the ground water and soil. The landfill is located in the Hosur district, Tamil Nadu. The land in the district is majorly fertile. Dumping of waste on these lands have a negative impact on the fertility of the land. Any contaminant seeping through the soil from these landfills would pollute the groundwater. Runoff from these landfill sites would further cause the deterioration of the water bodies and affect the aquatic species. The use of waste slurry for making bricks has helped in diverting 2592 tons of waste every year thereby, reducing the requirement of new land for landfilling and prevents the deterioration of land, air quality and the water bodies. Also, landfill sites often pose threat to the neighbouring ecosystem. Due to the poor quality of air around the landfill sites, the biodiversity around these sites would get affected. The round trip distance to such dumping grounds is about 20 km and atleast one such trip was carried out each day. The initiative mitigates the transport emissions. The use of granite slurry bricks would avoid the use of clay and concrete bricks which are made from resources that are scarce. The use of waste material in making the bricks further reduces the amount of virgin materials required thereby further reducing the environmental footprint of TAB India. This initiative helped TAB India get rid of landfills for disposing slurry waste. The slurry waste dumped on landfill sites were causing nuisance to the neighbouring communities and societies. About one acre of land was purchased by TAB India every year for the disposal of granite slurry waste. Also, land used for the purpose of landfilling causes land degradation and affects the fertility of the soil. This eliminates the possibility of the land to be used for other purposes like agriculture, afforestation or development of land for the local population. The use of this initiative by other stone processing industries could further prevent 1000 of acres of land from being converted into landfills. This avoid the large scale degradation of land and deterioration of soil, groundwater and river bodies due to these landfill sites. Landfill sites are usually associated with poor air quality in and around the area. This causes various health problems among the neighbouring communities. The reuse of the slurry waste for making bricks eliminates the problem of creating the landfill in the first place. The waste pile on these wastelands attract a lot of rats, mosquitoes, vermins, birds and insects. This leads to spread of diseases and unhygienic conditions around the landfill area. Also, the contamination of groundwater and other water bodies could be linked directly or indirectly to the health of the local population and hence, the diversion of waste would improve the overall health of the surrounding communities. The making of these granite slurry bricks requires labour and hence offers more employment opportunities to the local population. In India, about 31.2% of the total population is currently living in urban areas. To meet the expected growth of the construction sector, huge volumes of materials will be required. Sand (concrete and mortar), soil (bricks), stone (aggregates), limestone (cement) and iron and steel (bars and rods) are the most intensively used materials for building and construction purposes. Some of these materials are already facing scarcity issues. The need for renewable and recycled materials has been growing ever since. The use of waste in making bricks not only diverts these waste from landfill sites but also, makes a cradle to cradle model where waste is looked as a resource. The collaboration with other stone processing industries for making bricks made of waste could potentially have a huge impact on reducing the number of wastelands that these industries require for disposing slurry waste. Stone processing industries can also collaborate with brick manufacturers to make bricks from the slurry waste they generate. This would allow brick manufacturers to look at the slurry waste as potential raw material for making bricks. Regulations and certifications on using sustainable materials in construction would further allow more businesses to demand for materials that are more sustainable. This would not only allow businesses to recycle their waste and make useful products but, also impact the global climate. The IGBC, GRIHA and LEED certifications further promote the use of recycled products to gain certification thereby allowing more builders to look at granite slurry bricks for construction.
Categories of application
Clean water and sanitation, Industry, innovation and infrastructure, Sustainable cities and communities, Responsible consumption and production
Sector of application
Water treatment, Materials and chemistry, Communities infrastructures, Building and shelters, Circular economy of solid wastes, Primary resources management
Holistic approach to sustainable events & lifestyles in India
The Indian events industry is a Rs.1,00,000 crore industry and has a double digit growth year on year. Directly driven by lifestyle and culture; it becomes an integral access point to bring about change in consumption, attitude to responsible material use and material & waste management. Smarter Dharma has created a format to create truly sustainable events and provides the solution to multiple format events. Smarter Dharma Case Study: The Round Glass Samsara Festival was a week long multi location art & music festival & conference in India in the first week of October 2017. It consisted of an environmental summit, art exhibitions, a film festival and a music concert. Considering that the theme of the event was built around sustainable consciousness, it became paramount for the organisers to make it sustainable & walk the talk. Our sustainability framework & methodology made it simple to infuse the ethos of sustainability; helping by refusing consumption where we could, reducing material dependency & accounting for the emissions from the activities related to the event; compensating for the resulting emissions by carrying out a carbon offset. The emissions that were accounted for fell into 5 large buckets of Travel, Energy, Materials & consumables, Stay & Stakeholder engagement. So, this included the air travel of the delegates, local road travel in the city & between venues, energy consumption at all the venues,hotels where the delegates were accommodated and emissions from materials that were used during the course of the event. Measures were taken to reduce or mitigate the emissions from some of the sources. For example, alternate options were chosen for printing and stationary materials that were less carbon intensive and reusable glasses & biodegradable cutlery instead of plastic bottles or disposables. After the event, the resulting emissions from different activities were summarised and reported. A carbon offset plan was devised to compensate for the emissions that resulted. The carbon offset plan constituted of an afforestation plan to offset the emissions. The afforestation was carried out by a partner organisation called Forest First Samithi who work extensively on planting and long term maintenance of RET (rare endangered & threatened) species of trees in ecosystems. The SDGs impacted during the course of the event were identified and mapped MEASURE: The carbon emissions resulting from the various activities of the Samsara Festival were measured by considering the emission factors for the various modes of emissions. Travel: The flight travel emissions were calculated using the carbon emissions calculator developed by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) which estimates the carbon emissions per passenger based on the origin and destination of the flights. The emissions from local road travel of the delegates and organising team was calculated by estimating the distance travelled by each vehicle and using the emission factor for fuel to calculate the total emissions. Energy: Energy consumption at the various venues where the events were held was estimated by referring to the utility bills at these venues to gauge the average consumption and by calculating the total emissions using the energy emission factor for the geographical region. The energy consumption due to hotel stay of the delegates was calculated by estimating the average electricity consumption at the allotted hotels and using electricity emission factors to calculate carbon emissions for the number of room nights booked for. Materials & Consumables: The carbon emissions of some of the materials such as plastic bottles and virgin paper notebooks used during the events were calculated by estimating the amount of these materials used and using emission factors for that type of material. REDUCE: The reduction in carbon emissions at the Samsara Festival were mainly in terms of reduction in the number of disposable materials used and by making use of best practices of waste management and disposal. Some of the examples of ways in which a reduction in carbon emissions was achieved were: Recycled paper notebooks were used instead of virgin paper notebooks. Regular pencils were replaced with recycled pencils made from old newspapers and pencils which contained herb and vegetable seeds that could be planted. Plastic and Styrofoam cups and plates were completely avoided and arecanut plates and reusable plastic and steel glasses as well as steel cutlery were used. The food served at the venues were catering was done was completely vegetarian using locally sourced and organic ingredients. Waste management teams were present at the venues to help carry out effective segregation and disposal of waste. OFFSET: The carbon emissions that were calculated to be a result of the Samsara Festival were offset by planting an adequate number of trees calculated to sequester the carbon emissions. The tree planting was carried out by Forest First Samithi, a partner organisation of Smarter Dharma. The focus of the tree plantation drive was to conserve indigenous tree species and restore degraded lands. A lot of thought was put into choosing species that are biologically important, have ethno medicinal value, yield wild edible fruits, and are rare, endangered or threatened riverine species. Total carbon emissions = 25.03 tons of CO2 No. of trees required to offset 1 ton CO2 emission = 5 trees No. of trees required to offset emissions from the Samsara Festival = 125 trees SOCIAL BENEFITS: Creating awareness about climate change and environmental issues was a key role that Smarter Dharma played at the Samsara Festival. Awareness activities to engage with the guests at the event were carried out. One activity involved dissemination of knowledge about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). This was done by having posters and placards in place to explain the significance and importance of the SDGs and getting the audience to connect with the goals that they could get involved with and start working towards. The audience were also encouraged to take photographs with posters of the SDGs and sharing it on social media to further spread awareness. Another activity involved introducing the audience to a carbon footprint calculator developed by Smarter Dharma, to help calculate the water and carbon footprints of individuals. This not only helped the individuals in identifying areas where they could potentially reduce their environmental impacts but also in giving them suggestions on achieving this. The results of this exercise that each individual was eventually shared with them. Apart from the awareness activities, information about the necessity to reduce environmental impacts and suggestions on how to do so were shared with the visitors, either in the form of posters throughout the venue or through emails and other social media communication channels. SCALABLE & REPLICABLE Having a structured approach to carbon management for events allows a template to be created using which similar events can be made carbon neutral. The templatisation required will have to consist of emission factors for calculation and measurement of carbon emissions, database of alternate solutions that can be implemented, a structured carbon offset plan, content for communication and a framework that can be followed to report the work carried out. Smarter Dharma has successfully carried out carbon management at another couple of events using the template created during the Samsara Festiva. The template can be applied to other events and can be customised based on the nature of event, geographic location etc.
Categories of application
Sustainable cities and communities, Responsible consumption and production
Sector of application
Urban and inter-urban mobility, Communities infrastructures, Building and shelters, Circular economy of solid wastes, Primary resources management
Creating sustainable residential, commercial & mixed use habitats
India is one of the fastest economies currently in the world and is undergoing a transformational change in infrastructure, construction, material consumption & lifestyles. Of the demand for infrastructure by 2030, it is estimated that 70% of this will happen within the next 12-15 years. This increase in demand is going to put acute stress on resources, add a plethora of challenges on health of communities, resource management & quality of life. It becomes paramount to build the industry into focusing on being sustainable. Smarter Dharma works on infra & construction projects to design, build, implement & provide managed services to convert them to being sustainable habitats. Smarter Dharma Case Study: Summary: Mittal Auriga is a luxury residential complex in the heart of Bangalore. Developed by Living Habitats and eco engineered by Smarter Dharma, It is designed to be among the first carbon neutral buildings in India. Mittal Auriga was conceived to be a living place for conscious living. It was envisioned to become a carbon neutral building which would not only reduce consumption during construction and after; but also socially relevant with focus given to the lives of every stakeholder; from the labour to the end user. Here are a few features which make the project unique and bring in the tenants of true sustainability & conscious living. Solar powered homes - Each home is provided with an independent grid tie solar setup, which can power the entire home and generate additional units which are given back to the grid. Distributed solar water heating - A centralised setup with decentralised storage allows the luxury of having hot water whenever you need it. Each bathroom is equipped with decentralised hot water storage. Common Areas on Solar - When the entire common area is built on solar, the dependency on the grid not only goes down but it also drastically reduces your monthly maintenance bills. Water treatment - Mittal Auriga will be the one of first apartments in Bangalore to treat grey-water naturally; without consuming power during filtration. This is by way of a natural Phytorid based sewage treatment system. Rain water harvesting - Mittal Auriga has been built keeping in mind, the water stress on a city like Bangalore. Looking at Bangalore’s rain pattern, enough water can be collected and stored for re-use in the project which can support the community for upto four months in the year without the need to depend on external sources of water. PROCESS: To measure and calculate the climate footprint for the project, ten major construction materials were taken into account to calculate the carbon emissions and the embodied carbon. The materials considered were - cement, sand, red bricks, coarse aggregates, gypsum, marble, granite, steel, RMC concrete and blocks. The embodied carbon for each material was calculated based on the total quantity of material that was used for construction. As a reference for the embodied energy calculated for the above materials, the carbon coefficients was taken from the ICE database (Inventory of Carbon & Energy). Solar powered homes - Each home is provided with an independent 1.75 kwh grid tie solar setup, which can power the entire home and generate additional units which are given back to the grid. Distributed solar water heating - A centralised setup with decentralised storage allows the luxury of having hot water whenever you need it. Each bathroom is equipped with decentralised hot water storage. This eliminates waste of water, provides for hot water on solar as soon as you turn on the tap and brings down need to setup a circular water system, thereby eliminating heavy energy consumption. Water treatment - Mittal Auriga will be the one of first apartments in Bangalore to treat grey-water naturally; without consuming power during filtration. Along with dual plumbing, all grey water will be treated by way of a natural phytorid based sewage treatment system. The treated grey-water will be used for all non potable water use. The construction materials used in the project were researched by a carbon management team who looked at selecting materials from the sustainability point of view i.e. low carbon, ethically procured and which have minimal environmental impact. All the materials were chosen keeping in mind the Indian Green BuIlding Council guidelines. Use of materials like low VOC paints, FSC certified wooden flooring, hand crafted Athangudi tiles replacing conventional granite and marble flooring reduced the greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Based on the embodied carbon calculation for the ten major construction materials used in the project, it was estimated that 2279 trees had to be planted to make the project carbon neutral. The plan was to plant these 2,279 trees of RET species in Western Ghats, India. Total Embodied Carbon (kg CO2e) - 455,725.84 Total Embodied Carbon (tons CO2e) - 455.72 Trees needed to offset 1 ton CO2e - 5 Trees needed to offset the embodied carbon for construction materials - 2278 MEASURED APPROACH: The activities carried out during the project were mapped to the SDG's : SDG #11: Sustainable Cities & Communities Green Living – Every tenant is made aware & educated with various methods on how to live a sustainable way. Be it through the educative coffee table book, to the educational talks & programs within the property; tenants are sensitised to conscious consumption lifestyles. The book sharing everything from the most efficient home appliances, electrical & electronic equipment, waste management, organics, natural cleaners, organic gardening help and much more. SDG #8 : Decent Work & Economic Growth Social Impact - The labour teams at the project site were engaged with monthly entertainment activities preceded by educational informative sessions on hygiene and children’s education. Mandatory monthly health checkups, opening bank accounts and priority to quality of food and water to all labourers was made mandatory. Considering a holistic approach, yoga and meditation classes thrice a week and educating employees on the need to save also became standard during the construction phase. Gamifying savings & its benefits - In order to work actively & improve the livelihoods of the labour force; a savings plan for initiated – where each labour was incentivised to save a certain amount of their earnings on a weekly basis. On saving a certain amount; both the real estate company and the civil contractor pitched in fixed amounts to increase the overall weekly savings. This encouraged each of the staff to start saving and taught them the benefits of the same. SDG #7: Affordable & Clean Energy Energy savings: 39,420 Kwh per year - installing solar PV's for indoor and outdoor areas, solar water heaters, energy efficient lightings and air conditioners, energy efficient water pumps. Solar Swimming Pool – The entire swimming pool filtration & pumps are run on solar, it alone is enough to provide home owners tremendous benefit of living consciously. SDG #6: Clean Water & Sanitation Water savings: 1,058 KL per year - by rain water harvesting, setting up Phytorid Sewage Treatment Plant for reusing treated water, water efficient fixtures in all areas. SDG #3: Good Health Having control of the chemicals you put into your body - Vertical gardens envelope the complex and terrace gardens have been setup to grow vegetables and greens. The compost for the gardens come from the composting setups within the complex, thus providing a circular system of managing waste, converting it into compost which is again used to grow food. All paints are either low or no VOC paints. By working with paints which are not carcinogenic in nature, the entire project provides a healthy & safe environment for families to breathe and live in. SDG #12: Responsible Consumption & Production Wet waste segregated & managed: 9 tons - Composting for wet waste generated in the community. Dry waste to be collected separately and given to a dry waste recycling unit.
Categories of application
Clean water and sanitation, Affordable and clean energy, Industry, innovation and infrastructure, Sustainable cities and communities, Responsible consumption and production
Sector of application
Water production, Water treatment, Water distribution and use, Clean energy production, Materials and chemistry, Urban and inter-urban mobility, Communities infrastructures, Building and shelters, Agriculture and farming for food production, Circular economy of solid wastes, Primary resources management