En­ergy-sav­ing tips for the home.

Woman's Era - - News - Susheela Srini­vas

With de­plet­ing nat­u­ral re­sources, gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity to meet the for­ever in­creas­ing life­style de­mands is the big­gest chal­lenge the en­ergy in­dus­try is fac­ing to­day. As mod­ern gad­gets and ap­pli­ances func­tion on elec­tric­ity to op­er­ate, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, it is im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine even a short time with­out it.

As con­sumers, we are of­ten un­aware of the dif­fi­cul­ties that go while pro­vid­ing house­holds faced an un­in­ter­rupted power sup­ply. Dur­ing the sum­mer months, ap­pli­ances like air-con­di­tion­ers and cool­ers run con­tin­u­ously; this is also the sea­son when we see elec­tric­ity bills spi­ralling, de­spite power cuts, in­creas­ing our woes. How can we change the sce­nario and en­sure a sus­tain­able so­lu­tion?

It is pos­si­ble to bring a change if you are a be­liever in the maxim ‘tiny droplets make a mighty ocean’. Your ef­forts will be re­warded firstly by the re­duced amounts on the util­ity bills; and in the long run, by the brownie points you earn as a con­trib­u­tor to a greener en­vi­ron­ment. Here is how.

The hid­den vam­pires

Did you know that gad­gets like mo­biles, lap­tops and desk­tops con­nected to a live power source draw cur­rent even when they are in auto-off, standby or idle mode? Tech­ni­cally, the elec­tron­ics of the de­vice is draw­ing a small amount of cur­rent to keep them work­ing in this way, and con­tribut­ing to ‘phan­tom load’ or ‘vam­pire load'.

For ex­am­ple, the stan­dard mo­bile phone charger con­tin­ues to draw nearly 2.5 W even when the phone is fully charged. Though this ap­pears as an in­signif­i­cant fig­ure, when mul­ti­ple de­vices are plugged in, it adds up. By the end of the month, it con­trib­utes to a con­sid­er­able num­ber of con­sumed units. Given the num­ber of

de­vices we use per per­son, soon this fig­ure reaches a sub­stan­tial value. An­other clas­sic ex­am­ple of en­ergy bleed­ers is the ca­ble set-top boxes. They draw as much as 1520W when plugged in (with­out any view­ing). Power turned on and left unused by mix­ers, grinders, mi­crowave ovens and other ap­pli­ances all draw power and con­trib­ute to vam­pire cir­cuits that ex­ist around the house, cu­mu­lat­ing the wastage. Sur­veys in­di­cate that th­ese phan­tom loads com­prise 15-20% of the en­tire en­ergy con­sumed.

Make haste and weed out the vam­pires. Not just at home but in the of­fice too. Power -off all de­vices from sock­ets that are not in use.

Waste not, want not

How of­ten do we find lights and fans switched on in bed­rooms, bal­conies and bath­rooms when no one is around? The same goes with gey­sers too, in spite of the auto cut­off fa­cil­ity. This habit leads to a lot of wasted elec­tric­ity and can alone con­trib­ute to a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the elec­tric­ity bill.

Tweak­ing our habits now will yield mean­ing­ful re­sults. Sensitise fam­ily mem­bers and do­mes­tic staff about th­ese care­less prac­tices, and in­struct them to switch off elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances that are not in use.

Let in sun­light as much as pos­si­ble and re­duce the need for ad­di­tional light­ing. Dur­ing the nights, don’t just be ha­bit­u­ated to air-con­di­tion­ers; but take ad­van­tage of out­door breeze by open­ing win­dows and doors when­ever pos­si­ble. Have you tried sleep­ing un­der the stars on the ter­race? Noth­ing can be more in­vig­o­rat­ing dur­ing the hot and hu­mid months.

Cel­e­brate re­spon­si­bly

Sum­mer is a time for fun, frolic and par­ties. While you en­joy them, be watch­ful about ex­trav­a­gant light­ing. Utilise the bright and sunny sea­son and theme the event out­doors, like the gar­den or in a park. So­cial­is­ing will take on a new di­men­sion amidst na­ture.

Dur­ing wed­dings and fes­ti­vals, in­dulge ju­di­ciously in the light­ing ar­range­ments. Try al­ter­na­tive sources like so­lar lamps. Strate­gi­cally placed oil lamps and can­dles can add an ele­ment of nov­elty to the ar­range­ments, all the while min­imis­ing elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion.

Smarter op­tions

In­cor­po­rate al­ter­nate en­ergy sources, such as so­lar power, as

much as you can. Cal­cu­late the sav­ings on the util­ity bill, and in­vest this amount in up­grad­ing the ex­ist­ing light­ing sys­tems. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are com­ing up with bet­ter and en­ergy-sav­ing tech­nol­ogy for ap­pli­ances. Th­ese are graded by en­ergy star rat­ings. Re­place all old de­vices by th­ese smarter ones.

Get the best of both

In­dia en­joys plenty of sunshine through­out the year. Sun­light not only dries but dis­in­fects the clothes too. Re­serve the use of clothes dryer for the dark mon­soon times. Even when you need to run it, choose a lower tem­per­a­ture op­tion, and hang them out to dry the re­main­ing mois­ture. Al­ways run dish­wash­ers and wash­ing ma­chines on full load to op­ti­mise elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion.

Main­tain to re­tain

Ma­chines need to be well main­tained at all times to keep them run­ning smoothly and also draw less power. A pe­ri­odic check should be a part of your reg­i­men. Seal all leaks; close win­dows tightly to pre­vent air- con­di­tion­ers get­ting ex­posed to this ad­di­tional load; make sure the UPS bat­tery is well charged and checked pe­ri­od­i­cally. With th­ese point­ers in mind, do your bit to bring about im­prove­ment. I am sure once you take stock of the sit­u­a­tion, you will min­imise the con­sump­tion of elec­tric­ity. Keep at it then! Be­ing deeply loved by some­one gives you strength, while lov­ing some­one deeply gives you courage.

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