Malaysia is currently pioneering incredibly successful innovations in the area of sustainability that we could all learn a thing or two from. Malaysian “smart villages” are incredibly cost-effective, easy to build, include many 21st century amenities, and are, of course, very green.

malaysiaThese self-sustaining “smart villages” can support up to 100 families each and greatly improve residents’ quality of life. These smart villages, which occupy about 50 acres of land each, feature 1,000 square-foot homes built largely from recycled materials; they take only 10 days to build and cost under $20,000 each. Technically speaking, these smart villages are very impressive!

A mix of solar-generated power, biomass energy, and mini-hydro electricity power these villages. Technology is no stranger in these communities as well, as each has high-tech education, training, and recreational facilities complete with 4G Internet service for e-learning and e-health services.

Part of the sustainability stems from the production of crops and livestock from these smart villages. The highly efficient process starts with fish farming using a cascading series of fish tanks. Fish with higher sensitivity to water quality are at the top of the “water ladder,” followed by tilapia, guppies, and finally algae. The guppies and algae are used to feed larger fish, and support the self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem.

Next, water filtered from the fish tanks is used to irrigate trees and other vegetation in “Autopots”—three-piece containers featuring a smart valve that detects when soil moisture levels are low and releases just the right amount of water. When plants are composted, the worms that thrive in their remains are fed to free-range chickens. These internal sustainability systems are part of what make the Malaysian smart villages so innovative.

In addition, green higher-education campuses, guides for minimizing the carbon footprints of cities, and improved biomass waste systems are among the other environmentally conscious initiatives to create a greener and economically stronger Malaysia.

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