Collective Solutions (CS) is a U.S. based nonprofit organization
working to promote sustainable development among underserved
populations worldwide. Through partnerships with local affiliates,
CS helps communities assess water, waste, and energy needs.
CS then works collaboratively to construct projects that
meet those needs, and to develop long term strategies for
Our projects have two distinct goals: 1) To provide free training
to local community members about the design, construction and
benefits of sustainable living systems. 2) To reduce operating
costs and resource consumption of our partnering organizations
and the communities in which they operate through onsite project
CS and the partnering organizations jointly assess community
needs and determine workshop topics and materials. All trainings
include classroom time as well as hands on construction opportunities.
Local participation may include financial contributions and/or
in-kind donations of labor and materials.
Workshop attendees are provided
with specific course materials and maintenance instructions.
CS conducts follow up assessments to ensure success for each
Specific areas of focus in the developing world are:
Compost Toilets: Design & Construction
Solar Electric (PV) Systems: Design & Construction
Solar Cookers: Design & Construction
Greywater Systems: Design & Construction
Methane Digesters: Design & Construction
Water Catchment: Design & Construction
Water Heating: Design & Construction
Improper waste management is
one of the leading causes of disease and water pollution in
many developing countries. Compost toilets offer a solution
to this problem, in that they are a simple low-cost way to
manage human waste and, additionally, they produce valuable
compost that can be used in orchards and gardens. Another benefit
is that they do not require water to function. This workshop
will examine several of the most common types of compost toilets
and their pros and cons. There will be a classroom overview
on the application of various designs and the safety procedures
related to managing human waste (often referred to as “humanure”).
Based upon the needs of the host organization site, the workshop
will include the design and construction of 1-2 compost toilets.
Constructing a solar cooker is
an excellent project for people of all ability levels and is
a prime example of the varied applications of solar energy.
Collective Solutions will offer a basic training on the design
and construction of various solar cooker models. In a typical
workshop, participants will be provided with the materials
and instruction to build at least one low-cost solar cooker.
The class will install a solar cooker at the host organization
site, ranging in size and complexity based upon the needs of
the host. Our goal is to provide our host site with a substantial
and durable solar oven that has the capacity to feed many people
at a time.
Solar Cookers Workshop
Solar energy is one of the most
well known forms of alternative power. In many places in the
world, sunlight is the most abundant resource available. Collective
Solutions offers this workshop to break down the complexities
of installing and wiring a solar (photovoltaic (PV)) system.
PV arrays can be large and complex but can also be as simple
as wiring a single solar panel to a car battery. The reaction
that occurs within a solar panel produces direct current (DC)
electricity, which can be used in many places in the world
to operate lights and appliances. Systems that require large
amounts of generated electricity typically use an inverter
to convert the direct current into alternating current (AC)
electricity, making it compatible with standard grid infrastructure.
This workshop will examine the design and construction of simple
photovoltaic systems. There will be a classroom review to cover
2 types of systems: those that use only DC electricity and
those that convert DC into AC electricity. The advantages and
disadvantages of solar panels will be discussed as well as
system repair and maintenance. The following days will be spent
installing and wiring a site-specific photovoltaic system.
Electric (PV) Systems Workshop Syllabus
Any water generated from a home
or business, except water from toilets, is called greywater.
Sink, shower and laundry greywater make up the majority of
common “wastewater.” Traditional plumbing systems
dispose of greywater using septic tanks or sewers. The major
drawbacks of these approaches include contaminating natural
waters and overloading treatment systems. When properly designed,
greywater disposal systems can reduce the negative impact on
the environment as well as convert “wastewater” into
a valuable resource. Filtered greywater is frequently used
for irrigation purposes. This workshop will examine several
varieties of greywater systems, as well as their appropriate
applications and maintenance. Based on the needs of the host,
participants will install a functioning system onsite.
Water is one of the most important
resources needed for survival. Consequently, managing water
and its many applications is a key part of any successful community.
Catchment systems are used in many different countries in order
to collect and utilize rainwater. Our trainings emphasize the
ease of using rainwater in place of water that requires long
distance carrying. These systems are not applicable in all
situations, as rain is not abundant in every climate. This
workshop will examine several basic options for rainwater harvesting
and will include the construction of an appropriate system
for our host site.
Water Catchment Workshop Syllabus
Many people throughout the world
operate without the luxury of hot water. The purpose of this
workshop is to examine various easy -to-manage and affordable
options for heating water. Systems may include roof piping,
solar oven heating, heat exchangers for stoves, and solar water
heaters. Depending on the structure and needs of the host site,
participants will construct an appropriate system.
Water Heating Workshop Syllabus
Methane digesters are used to
convert anaerobic waste into a valuable fuel source called
biogas. These systems function best with certain types of waste,
namely cow manure, due to its high methane content and the
quantity that can be generated on a daily basis. In most rural
contexts, methane digesters are directly connected via pipes
to a kitchen stove to provide cooking fuel. In a more advanced
application, biogas can also be converted into electricity.
Methane digesters are not suited to all situations, as they
require a significant amount of generated waste as well as
general maintenance. In the appropriate context, however, these
systems can turn large amounts of existing waste into a useful
resource, simultaneously eliminating the constant expense of
cooking fuel. This training will cover the design aspects of
several different systems, the physical construction of one
methane digester, and the safety precautions required during