Energy efficiency is a unique issue because it not only affects earth as a whole but each of us as individuals.
The exponential growth of technology has resulted in extreme energy consumption in our everyday lives. We have developed a slavish dependence on electricity to power our day to day tasks. Because of this we are constantly taxing the non-renewable sources of energy like coal and oil. This is putting the delicate balance of the earth into peril. We are feeling the adverse effects of global warming in our daily lives in the form of climatic fluctuations. But with the help of media and environment-committed personalities, these issues are getting increased awareness. Due to increase in this awareness, energy efficiency optimisation is gaining traction among the communities all over the world.
The energy efficiency measures are largely doable with small adjustments and come attached with significant financial benefits. Advantages of having an energy efficient home are –
- Huge savings in energy bills – An energy efficient home can save up to 40% on energy expenditure.
- Eco-Friendly – By reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, you will be doing your bit for the environment.
- Improved Quality of life – Having a home optimised for energy use will bring comfort and health into everyday life.
Electricity, water and cooking fuel are the three major energy sources in our homes. We can ensure that these resources are being used efficiently through Energy Efficient Technology and Energy Efficient Behaviour.
Energy Efficient Technology
This aims to minimise energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission by ensuring that various technologies used around the home are energy smart. These require an initial investment but pay back their price in no time by causing noticeable reduction in energy bills.
- Energy smart appliances – The major appliances commonly draining power in homes are – Air conditioner, Refrigerator, geysers, and ovens. So while buying these products ensure that they are certified with a good energy rating from BEE. Higher the energy rating lower will the power consumption and carbon emission.
- Architecture and design – Plan the layout of your house to maximise the sunlight and ventilation. Provide ample windows and skylights and avoid using electricity during the day. Use double pane windows to minimise overheating. Using reflective paint or white tiles on the roofs will reduce heat flow, which will ease the load on the air conditioners.
- Task Lighting – Design the lighting in your house depending on the function of the room and avoid having energy heavy lighting everywhere. For example use low background lighting while watching TV, table lamps with concentrated light for reading and writing, track lights in hobby area and kitchen etc.
- CFL and LED – Use the incandescent (25% energy saving), CFL and LED (75% energy saving) bulbs in place of halogen lights to minimise the heat and electricity consumption.
- Solar Power – Solar is clean and inexpensive energy source. Solar panels harness the free heat from the sun and use it for heating water, lighting etc., thus reducing the dependency on electricity. It does demand an initial investment but it is low maintenance and comes with warranty of 5 to 10 years. The solar cookers are another way to reduce cooking gas consumption.
- Dual Flush Toilet – Using dual flush toilets will be an effective way of smart water consumption.
- Low flow shower head – The low pressure showerheads reduce the quantity of water being wasted during bath.
- Rainwater Harvesting – This will help to not only save water for consumption but also recharge the groundwater.
- Tertiary Sewage Treatment Plant – This water recycling system is investment heavy (1 lakh INR) but in the long run provides with abundant supply of greywater for flushing etc. This is best suited for residential complexes that need large amount of non portable water.
- Inverters –Replace diesel generators with inverters for domestic use. As the load requirement is low and frequency of power failures is less in homes, inverters will be the ideal choice.
Energy Efficient Behaviour
These are the zero investment everyday habits which will go a long way in reducing your energy consumption. Making small changes to your energy consuming patterns will accumulate over time into big gains.
- Regular servicing – Appliances and gadgets which are in prime condition optimise the use of electricity and minimise wastage. Regular servicing will also give you hassle free handling every day.
- Unplugging – Unplugging the chargers and other devices when they are not in use will reduce your energy consumption by 15%. Using a power strip with multiple plug outlets with help further in saving energy.
- Switch off – Don’t leave laptops, desktops and TV on standby if you are not using them for more than 20 minutes.
- Refrigerator – Keep the fridge in a shady area away from sunlight to minimise the energy spent in cooling. Leave a gap of 7.6 cm between wall and fridge for airflow.
- Switch off Lights – Switch off lights, fans etc. whenever you are moving out of the room.
- Fix dripping faucets –Dripping faucets can waste as much as 15 litres of water per day. Regularly check the plumbing and faucets for leaks and fix them.
- Use microwave – Use the microwave instead of the Oven for reheating the food and also for cooking whenever possible.
- Gas stoves – Use gas stoves instead of electric ones as they cause less heat overall and are much more precise. Pressure cooking food and not leaving the idle flame will help you save fuel.
- Cooking Vessels – Match the size of your pots to the burner of the stove and use tight fitting lids to prevent heat loss while cooking.
- Thaw the food – let the refrigerated food thaw naturally before heating it up to minimise the fuel usage. Alternatively, wait till the food has cooled down to refrigerate it.
- Laundry – Plan for doing full loads of laundry to optimise the usage of electricity and water.
As the smartest species inhabiting the earth, we are obliged to take better care of it. This planet belongs not only to us but to the future generations – to live and to thrive. Energy crisis has the potential to put the very survival of our children at risk. So, every single person has the responsibility to live an energy efficient lifestyle. Only this can help us to tackle the future energy challenges.