At 3800 metres above sea level, winters are brutal and summers too short in Laya. The Laya Central School has introduced Ondul, a traditional Korean Room Heating Technology to heat one of its classrooms.
Also known as Gudeul , Ondol is an underfloor heating system that uses direct heat transfer from the wood smoke to heat the underside of a thick masonry (stone, sand and mud) floor.
The school currently uses Bukhari (wood stove) to keep its students warm, but it comes at a cost. Bukharis produce a lot of smoke, which is unhealthy for the students and teachers. Each student is also required to contribute around 60 kilograms of firewood to the school annually. The parents bear the burden of firewood collection. The use of Gudeul will ease all these challenges.
The technology was piloted at the Gasa Dzongda’s residence prior to its implementation in Laya. The initiative by Gasa Dzongkhag is supported by the Royal Government of Bhutan and GEF-UNDP Small Grants Programme. Korean Gudeul masters are providing technical assistance.
Gudeul is fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Five to six pieces of firewood is enough to keep a room warm for 24 hours. The use of Gudeul is also known to have health benefits and is designed in such a way that no smoke is released indoors.