the greater impacts of Solar power  

In December of 2015, Chennai experienced intense floods, washing away hundreds of  rural homes. The Londor community from Kaliyamundi is one such rural community in South India. The local community came together to support the families displaced with temporary food and shelter.

The Londor are an ancient nomadic tribe from Southern India who traditionally traveled long distances by foot, begging and sleeping on the street. They were poor, socially excluded, and entrapped in alcoholism.

The Londor are an ancient nomadic tribe from Southern India who traditionally traveled long distances by foot, begging and sleeping on the street. They were poor, socially excluded, and entrapped in alcoholism.

In December of 2015, the floods in Chennai completely washed away many of the community’s homes, leaving them with living conditions like the ones above. 

In December of 2015, the floods in Chennai completely washed away many of the community’s homes, leaving them with living conditions like the ones above. 

We had one dream for such villages--to create a safe environment for families and help the Londor community thrive once again by building them a sustainable, Off-Grid Community Center and several solar powered houses. The Kaliyamundi Eco-village in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu, India was this dream come true. 

Through community building and participatory design, volunteers and families work to build with local, natural materials. Architects and community members share knowledge of building techniques and aesthetics to create permanent housing solutions and efficiently expand, replicate and maintain their homes.

Through community building and participatory design, volunteers and families work to build with local, natural materials. Architects and community members share knowledge of building techniques and aesthetics to create permanent housing solutions and efficiently expand, replicate and maintain their homes.

We wanted the structure of the houses to be secure and have long term performance and durability, so we designed them according to the National Building Code of India of the Bureau of Indian Standards.         

We wanted the structure of the houses to be secure and have long term performance and durability, so we designed them according to the National Building Code of India of the Bureau of Indian Standards.         

Families use natural resources to build sustainable, comfortable, beautiful and durable spaces. All of houses are powered using low-cost, solar solutions (Orora Solar Residential Simplex – D.C Solution)

Families use natural resources to build sustainable, comfortable, beautiful and durable spaces. All of houses are powered using low-cost, solar solutions (Orora Solar Residential Simplex – D.C Solution)

The Londor Community housing project builds with the owners of the houses, who thereby have an active role in decision making and are trained to do regular maintenance on both the house and solar panel.                                                                                                

The Londor Community housing project builds with the owners of the houses, who thereby have an active role in decision making and are trained to do regular maintenance on both the house and solar panel.                                                                                                

Each house has the following: strip footing foundation, basement, flooring, structural walls, wood joinery, wood structure and roofing. The exact materials were picked based on the availability in local regions.

Each house has the following: strip footing foundation, basement, flooring, structural walls, wood joinery, wood structure and roofing. The exact materials were picked based on the availability in local regions.

The solar panels provide power for LED lighting, cell-phone charging, ceiling fans, TV, and computers. With solar energy, families can light their homes and are provided with new economic opportunities.

The solar panels provide power for LED lighting, cell-phone charging, ceiling fans, TV, and computers. With solar energy, families can light their homes and are provided with new economic opportunities.

Not only did the solar homes provide the Londor community with sustainable housing and electricity, but we have seen impacts far beyond what we anticipated. The community has since experienced increased levels of safety, awareness of health and hygiene, and childhood education, and the levels of alcoholism has decreased by over 60%.


Special thanks to R. K. Swamiji Trust (coordinators TKK Krishnakumar and Sujatha Krishnakumar) without whose support, this project would not have been possible.