TINY DROPLETS MAKE A MIGHTY OCEAN
Energy-saving tips for the home.
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.
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.
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.