In the high valleys of the Himalayas, people live cut off in high altitude wilderness conditions. They experience extreme living conditions including glacial winter temperatures (often colder than minus 25°C) and prolonged isolation (passes are closed six months of the year). There is little vegetation. Lack of firewood and high imported fuel prices have plunged the region into a state of energy vulnerability. Women and children devote about 2 months every summer collecting biomass residues and dung for cooking and heating. Indoor households temperatures, which are far below standards in winter, provoke unhealthy living conditions and limit the development of economic activities.
On the other hand, the region gets an exceptional sunshine : over 300 days a year - which is worth developing. Several pilot projects have been carried out by GERES since 2000. They all have shown that a 60% saving in energy consumption can be achieved by equipping living quarters with passive solar technology. The captured heat is gradually released, improving comfort and increasing the working time period.
Download the Passive solar houses leaflet