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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 resource management.

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 installations.

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 project completed.

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

Compost Toilets: 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.
Compost Toilet Workshop Syllabus

Solar Cookers: Design & Construction:

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 Syllabus

Solar Electric (PV) Systems: Design & Construction:

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.
Solar Electric (PV) Systems Workshop Syllabus

Greywater Systems: Design & Construction:

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.
Greywater Systems Workshop Syllabus

Water Catchment: Design & Construction:

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

Water Heating: Design & Construction:

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: Design & Construction:

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 maintenance.
Methane Digesters Workshop Syllabus


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