Sustainable Power

Before you begin:

Key questions for sustainable design and manufacture to ask yourself before you begin

(Note – not all the questions will be appropriate to your particular design idea or product)

  • Is the product something that people want and need?
  • Will it always be wanted and needed? Is it subject to the whims of fashion? Is it economically feasible to make the product given the whims of fashion and the marketplace?
  • Who would benefit the most from this product given their available income and their local environment?
  • Will production (and any subsequent repair, recycling) provide work to help people earn money?
  • Which raw materials will be used? Are they renewable?
  • What pollution is caused by the extraction and processing of the raw materials?
  • How will the product be manufactured?
  • What other materials are needed in order to use the product? (eg fixings, surface paints or varnishes)
  • Can the product be made locally using local skills and local materials?
  • How much energy is used at different stages of the product's lifecycle?
  • How will the product be packaged?
  • How will the product be sold / transported to the shops?
  • How will the product be promoted / marketed?
  • How will it be used? Will it only be used for its intended purpose? How many times will it be used before being thrown away?
  • How will it be disposed of after use?
  • Could it be repaired? Re-used? Re-cycled?
  • Can the product be easily repaired using local materials? How many parts can go wrong? How likely are they to go wrong?

Question Web reference

What is hydro-electricity

A good overview from the Alternative Energy Institute…

Site of the Wisconsin Valley improvement works.

Click on How hydropower works for a reader-friendly introduction

What is micro-hydroelectricity

A Dutch site (in English) with information about and links relating to micro hydro-electricity

The Green energy site of the National Energy Foundation

Click on Renewables and then on hydropower

What sort of equipment is needed?

The site of a British company which specialises in developing equipment for hydro-electric power

Micro-hydro electricity

Before you begin

Web References

Background to Kenya

The Mbuiru Community

Practical possibilities for small scale enterprise



Vulnerable Groups



Energy Supply





Potential markets

Existing small enterprises

Design possibilities