How to Integrate the 12 Permaculture principles to design a sustainable project ?

21 April, 2017

As someone who is looking to develop his farm plot near Bangalore or elsewhere, You may find the below permaculture Principals useful.

# 1 Observe and Interact
“Beauty Lies in the mind of the beholder”
The first principle is focused on an attempt to understand and engage with situations we face should lead to a deeper reflection that allows us to deliver an appropriate answer. Ask yourself, what is the actual need of the user? Why I am designing this project? What is the context it surrounds? How can I respond to the need in the most efficient and best suitable way possible?

Understanding the user and interacting with the context will facilitate our conscious process when engaging. A good project will result if we are attentive enough to get the clues we are receiving.

Being observant and interactive means approaching a more greener and ethical approach in building the world around us. It will result in a more ethical and sustainably life.

Principles # 2 Catch and store energy
“Make hay when the sun shines”
The lesser green is the most overlooked architecture and passive way to sustainability on which we rely earlier. Before moving to the “Sustainable techniques” which can be applied, the most appropriate question is to know how we can deliver the best possible architecture using the resources available. Although, architecture considers its functions like capturing, storing and uses the available resources like wind, rainwater and sunlight to gain maximum benefit from these natural resources.

We must be aware of using natural resources in such a way that it does not produce extra waste through it. If you raise large skyscrapers with solar panels but generates a lot of waste of resources, then your design has nothing to do with Permaculture.

Principle # 3 Obtain a Yield
“You cannot work empty stomach”
This principle is about focusing that you are getting useful rewards as the yield of what you are working on. Getting proper rewards ensures us that we are moving in the right direction. It is just to ensure that we are going to sustain ourselves.

The principles emphasise on the fact that the design ensures that we are the survival of the community without comprising the future and productivity measured in real terms of real products for the efforts invested.

Beyond the monetary benefits, we are getting we should focus on productivity and performance as our architectural design to be measurable concerning the positive externalities we are generating for our project. We should see that the project can influence the context of the project we are operating for.

We all have the opportunity to find out and develop potential benefits to the greatest extent. A project is considered sustainable when we all have our pockets full, but we don’t surrender to anyone and does harm to the environment.

Principle # 4 Apply self-regulation & accept feedback
“Sins of the father travel to the next generations”
This principal focuses on inappropriate activity to make sure that the system is functioning well. It is represented by the idea of showing a visible example of a “self-regulating” organism subject to feedback control such as global warming. It suggests that negative effects emerge instantly while our actions take time to be visible.

We are mainly focused on the idea of our design for the present and don’t look at what will be its impact on the future. We need to see that our needs and requirements impact on our unpredictable and unfavourable future. The key is to discourage, rethink and prevent the design answers that at least we can identify as inappropriate.

Principal # 5 Use and value renewable resources and service
“Let nature take its charge”
We need to make the best use of natural resources for our consumption and change our behaviour for using Non-renewable energy resources. The Argentinian permaculture building was made with straws and earth material if not maintained will return to earth if life inside the building. It has a minimal impact on the earth and its life is directly associated with its use. We all are used to use systems, materials and services based on fossil fuel processes but bigger responsibility is to use the resources which can be restored with a higher rate than its consumption. Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal energy, biofuels and biomass are some effective options to operate our projects. Some other alternative options like bamboo, straw a cork can be applied effectively. Woods is also in the list.

Principal # 6 Produce no waste
“waste not, Want not”
We have to focus on the maximum utilization of resources available in such a way that nothing goes waste. It is easy to waste the material but think about the waste material when we will be left with no material to build our projects. First of all, we have to focus on using material which is recyclable and avoiding material such as plastic which is not recyclable and even diminishes the ozone layer when burnt. We have to set some standards for the usage of the materials. We can justify nature by using less and giving more. Our focus should be on minimizing the waste material we produce from our activities.

Principal # 7 Design details from patterns
“Cannot see the forest for the trees”
We need to step back and observe the nature and society patterns that we follow. It will help us to form the backbone of our designs. There are some dimensions, operations and spatial configurations for architecture based on human behaviour and experiences. If we follow the proven patterns which follow our common sense, we can lead the project with its full potential. As a particular contribution, we should move away from designing ornaments to get an added value and it supports and gives specificity and identity to the response.

Principal # 8 integrate rather than segregate
“Many hands make the work light”
If we use the right thing at the right place, we come with the outcome where every object is giving its full potential to support each other. It is likely that when we share our views, strategies and question our ideas among all of us, we could make better decisions and can work with our full potential. Our designs will be best and integrated if all the elements of it are well constituted and working together forming a cohesive whole.

Principal # 9 Use small and slow solutions
“Slow and steady wins the race”
We can make better use of resources to have better and sustainable outcomes. Slow and small systems can be better operated rather than of big systems. The idea is to make small buildings as larger buildings require larger resources to build, manage and prevent from decay. We should design the building In such a way that it meets its real needs and in turn, it will take fewer resources and hands and will facilitate the cooling and heating of interiors and improve everyday life.

Principal #10 Use and value diversity
“Don’t put all egg in one basket”
Diversity reduces the vulnerability of different threats and has the advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it exists. Look at your city configuration, there are plenty of buildings and all are different from each other. Think if all are same, will it make any sense? A big No. Hence, we should have similarities with other buildings which are not focused on diversity and unethical and unsustainable.

Principal # 11 Use edges and value the marginal
“Don’t think you are on the right path just because it is the well-beaten path”
Sometimes, we think that we are following the right way of building as most of the people are doing the same. But, we hardly focus on the fact that we have to develop the most diverse, most valuable and productive elements in the system. The principal focus on taking the opportunities coming to our way and analyze the output received with open eyes which allows us to see beyond the present way of thinking. 

Principal # 12 creatively use and respond to change
“Vision is not seeing the things as they are but what they will be”
We cannot prevent the change to happen but we can make changes in our system so that changes do not have a negative impact on our life in future. Our responsibility is to take charge of our actions towards our system and seeing it in the greater frame and not let the negative effect on our life in future.

Permaculture is all about building a sustainable and ethical living system which helps us to no waste and maximum utilization of resources in such a way that it brings pleasant results for all of us. It focuses on using renewable energy resources and preventing the usage of non-renewable energy resources. I follow the principles and integrates with our design system, we will have a better planet to exist.

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