Shivakumar has several publications and significant number of patents, which are under commercial exploitation to benefit the society. His research experience spans over several fields and areas in applied sciences. He has been conferred the National Award by the Union Government in 2001 for one of his innovations. He was awarded the Citizen Extraordinary by Rotary International in 2007. The First Innovation award "Ammulya 2012" for two of his patents was awarded by Government of Karnataka in addition to other state awards and recognitions.
He has used all these innovations in his house in Vijaynagar. “Catch the rain where it falls, is my motto. Rain water is the purest form of water,” he believes. His family uses rain water for everything, even drinking, which is filtered using a simple silver sheet. “Given the water crisis that comes up every year, I looked for alternatives and found it in nature. A silver sheet can purify water in six or seven hours and can be reused endlessly.”
He adds, “I tabulated the rainfall data in the city over the last 100 years and discovered that as per the patterns, there is more than enough rainfall in the city. The gap between two good rains is seldom more than 90 to 100 days. I built my tank to ensure that almost 45,000 litres of water can be stored to tide over these 100-odd days. In an attempt to save water from being sent down and pumped up again, I began to store it on top to ensure that a motor is not needed.”
If you are wondering whether the rainwater can be used for drinking, the house also uses a PopUp filter, an experiment by Shivkumar that aids in filtering the roof water before storage.
Shivakumar contends that all the water his family uses is reused again. “Soap water from the washing machine is stored in an underground tank and pumped up to a tank on the roof and is used for flushing. The water coming out from the kitchen sink is used for gardening.”
Apart from working on water harvesting projects in his own house, Shivkumar also managed to convince the officials of the BBMP and BWSSB of the need for water harvesting projects in new residential and official projects in the city. “Though we faced initial hiccups, we have seen that most new projects are complying with the rules. A water harvesting theme park in Jayanagar that showcases a range of water harvesting options is also winning accolades and awards.”
His family uses solar water heaters that have been inbuilt into the house to save costs “I use a container lined with rice husk to ensure that the water stays hot throughout the day. We use LED lights that run on solar power. The green cover of the house and the water storage on the top levels ensures that the temperature in our house is three to four degrees lesser than normal. We have natural air-conditioning in the house.”
Another innovation he undertook was of remodelling the fridge to ensure that electricity is saved. “I made the handle on the right side and refitted it. This ensured that you no longer needed to open the fridge entirely to take out the items. It has also helped in cutting down electricity costs.”
Another attractive feature of Shivakumar’s residence is the green space. There is an abundance of plants and trees which cover the house from all sides. Many birds and other creatures are regular visitors of the house. There are also many water bodies around the house like fish ponds and aquatic plants, so that the moisture gets added to the air and fresh air goes inside.”
As with his house, Shivakumar contends that the key to good living is to use all resources offered by nature in a good way. “We can breathe in fresh air, drink fresh water even living in the heart of a bustling city. It is important to harness the resources that nature provides us well.”
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