The goal of this Resource Management Plan is to use a variety of measures to correct an unsustainable ecological imbalance caused by population pressure, by transforming the residents' energy use patterns into a low-impact, higher living standard lifestyle that builds ecological and energy equity.

Conservation measures have been first priority tasks in changing the energy equation for the community. Because fuelwood is the most pressing concern, primary attention has been on reducing wood consumption. This was done by introducing a number of home improvements. Small, inexpensive iron woodstoves save one-third the amount of fuelwood burned. Multiplied by 350 homes X 20 years, the conservation savings of the fulewood resource is extremely significant. Residential roofs were also replaced with corrugated metal sheet, and leakage was much reduced allowing residents to again burn less fuel for warmth. The conservation benefit again improves by the same multiplier of 350 homes X 20 years. A reforestation program has been instituted to insure that fuel resources are being replaced. Each year the nuns plant over 4,000 new trees. These conservation measures have all built ecological equity.

The new hydro-electric generator was harnessed to supply power for lighting the new monastery buildings, and should soon be extended to the nuns and monks homes as well. This will have a deep and significant effect on many quality-of-life issues. One of the most pressing concerns is the dramatic negative impact on public health from the use of kerosene for indoor lighting. Electric light has broad and positive benefits to respiratory health, literacy, and cultural survival. This is a primary priority at this time. Load calculations revealed that transmission losses in the power cable delivering electricity from the turbine at the river below the monastery were unacceptable. The volume of power lost in the undersized cable was enough to provide lighting to the entire nuns encampment if it could be captured and used. A new transmission cable was installed so that the entire output of the turbine was available at the top of the hill, and this alone will provide enough power to extend the grid to the nuns homes in the near future.

The sewage situation is a serious problem. Over 700 people's sewage goes directly into the river. This is a public health issue that must be addressed immediately. We must build two large septic tanks, so that one is used while the other is cleaned. There is the potential to process the sludge into useable fertilizer for the reforestation program.

These specific kinds of assists are needed to mitigate the ecological impact of the community, and check its increasing energy demands. These measures are designed to improve public health, education and literacy, preserve traditional Buddhist culture, and ensure the environmental sustainability of the community.

After the energy and conservation issues have been addressed, other conservation and energy use issues can be considered. These include rechargeable batteries, solid waste management, solar cooking, and solar gain architectural practices.

1. The monastery has a new hydroelectric generator as of October, 2003...

2. The communal stoves which are located in the basement of the main building...

3. Rinpoche's presence is an important asset because he empowers the community...

1. Fuelwood usage is the #1 resource issue.

2. Residential roofs are an issue related to wood...

3. Sewage is an ongoing issue for 700 people and for their neighbors...

4. Kerosene is still providing indoor lighting...

5. Batteries for flashlights and radios...


The monastery has had a sponsor come forward with a specific donation for a new hydroelectric generator. It was installed in October 2003, and is supplying power to the community. However, all of the old wiring must be replaced if this resource is to be readily utilized. The new wiring must also include the residential houses. Without electrical power, the 700 residents will continue to use kerosene for lighting, and the annual expenditure will be $5,000 per year (about the same cost as wiring-up the homes). Home lighting is essential - it will have a considerable positive impact on public health, literacy, living standards, cash flow, and planetary carbon emissions.

The monastery's new turbine can produce 7kW, and could be run 24 hours per day. Upgrades to the penstock and catchment basin may be needed. In its present condition, the new generator can supply enough power for everyone's needs, if managed wisely.

Indoor lighting is still provided primarily by kerosene because the electrical supply has never been developed as a replacement, and does not yet provide lighting to the homes. Kerosene is a fire hazard and has a very negative public health impact. It is also very difficult to read by kerosene wick lamps, and this hinders literacy.

The collective annual expenditure for kerosene is about $5,000. This is about the same as the one-time cost of wiring the homes for light. Once the homes are wired for lighting, the money previously spent on kerosene can be used for other important needs.

Residential roofs are an issue related to wood usage, since all roofs are made from split wood shingle, and must be replaced every 4 years. There are 350 separate residential houses collectively using a very large amount of wood for roofing material. These roofs also leak badly of wind and water.

Paradoxically, metal roofing is only slightly more expensive than wood, even after being delivered to the site. This is an expression of the growing scarcity of wood in this remote valley.

The communal stoves which are located in the basement of the main building, are another unrecognized resource for conservation. Because cooking for several hundred each day is done on these stoves, they present an opportunity to conserve the fuelwood that would have been burned to heat water.

Hot water from the communal stoves is a basic need, and can be made with coils in the fireboxes. Hot water not only provides for cleaning and bathing, but hot water also has an important conservation function. Water that is already heated by the stove's exhaust gasses does not require as much fuelwood to cook with. The residents already use thermos bottles to conserve hot water throughout the day.

Rinpoche's presence is an important asset because he empowers and administers the community. He frequently makes new rules which are dutifully followed. His administration of "public policy" will greatly facilitate the residents' acceptance of new conservation guidelines. Rinpoche is taking an active interest in this project.

Fuelwood useage is the #1 resource issue. There are over 350 small homes, with at least two people living in each. Every household burns 50 loads of wood per year, for a total of 17,500 porter loads. Most nuns collect and haul at least a portion of their own needs. If wood is purchased, it costs 50Rupies (or 67 cents) per load.

The monetary value of the annual aggregate fuelwood consumed by the monestary is $11,500 per year. There is huge pressure on the forests, and consequently there is pressure on the nuns to both travel further for wood, and to conserve. As a conservation measure, they often use small kerosene stoves to flash-heat water for tea, rather than build a fire. Their collective annual expenditure for kerosene is about $5,000.

Sewage is an ongoing issue for 700 people and for their neighbors. Even though the monastery's sewage is now partially contained in a septic tank, there is still a significant volume of "processed waste," and that waste is still dumped when the tank is cleaned. As of May 2003, the septic tank is overflowing, and thus provides no benefit.

The monastery's size in relation to its neighbors is an important public health issue. There are dozens of villages nearby. Most villages in the area have a population of about 40 people.

The residents use a large number of D and AA cells, which are often thrown on the ground when exhausted. This not only contributes to environmental toxicity, it is an eyesore, and a cash drain. The community spends over $500 per year on dry cell batteries for flashlights and radios. Toxic litter is left behind.

Other types of batteries, such as NiMH, are easily recharged and non-toxic, and can be kept out of the environment by being recharged at a charging station. Dead batteries can easily be culled at that time. Offering rechargeing services will also keep this cash in the community.