|The Karuna Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. Funding is based on ongoing initiatives.|
High Performance Building Initiative
Bhutan’s modernization and growth has increased the demand for electricity in the country's urban and rural populations. While Bhutan is able to provide citizens with inexpensive electricity through hydropower, the government is dependent on revenue generated by selling the majority of this electricity to India. In order to maintain this revenue stream while encouraging positive in-country development, power consumption must become more efficient. However, rapid urban growth is propelling the construction of new building stock that is not thermally appropriate to the region. Traditional Bhutanese farmhouses were constructed with meter-thick rammed earth walls that provided insulation, but modern buildings are constructed with concrete and lack insulation.
The Karuna Foundation Board President is a green building advocate who immediately saw the natural potential for successful high-performance construction in the country, owing to the powerful solar resources available in Bhutan’s high-altitude locale. The Karuna Foundation began contributing high-performance building expertise and resources to the Royal Institute of Law with the goal of promoting a sustainable development strategy that provides citizens with comfortable, productive, and healthy indoor environments while decreasing electricity consumption. The Board President enlisted local Pacific Northwest partners Holst Architecture, Indicator, LLC, and Arctic Sun, LLC to consult on integrating energy efficient building methods into traditional Bhutanese architecture.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law
The Karuna Foundation sought to work with a Bhutanese partner on a lighthouse high-performance building project that would combine local materials and international expertise to demonstrate the feasibility of energy efficient construction to the Bhutanese building community. The Bhutan Foundation connected the Karuna Foundation with the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law (JSWL) project team in early 2014. The JSWL is led by Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, a princess of Bhutan and a Stanford and Harvard Law graduate. The JSWL team is assembling a curriculum, faculty, and campus for the study of Bhutanese Law in the hills above Paro, Bhutan. The JSWL will be the first Law School in Bhutan and help the burgeoning democracy to serve the interests of the people.
With the help of Portland partners Cory Hawbecker and Yuki Bowman, from Holst architect, Seattle partner Dan Whitmore, of Indicator Consulting in Seattle, as well as Thorsten Chlupp, of Arctic Sun in Fairbanks, the Karuna Foundation is providing expertise and resources to enhance the build out of the Jigme Singye School of Law campus.
HEROES (Climate Data Collection Initiative)
The 2007 IPCC report made clear that there is not enough compiled data in the mountainous Himalayan region to estimate the impact of anthropogenic climate change in the coming decades. In 2012, the Karuna Foundation searched for local institutions in Bhutan that were engaged in climate data collection that varied over region and elevation. The Bhutan Foundation facilitated a connection with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER) and together we established the Himalayan Environmental Rhythms and Observation System (HEROES) project. The HEROES project, also called the Bhutan Phenology Network (BPN), is a community-engaged effort to record both meteorological data at varying altitudes and latitudes as well as long-term phenological and wildlife population data. HEROES has engaged with schools in 21 locations throughout the country to implement data collection systems that will increase understanding of changes in temperature, precipitation, phenology, and animal populations throughout Bhutan.