Thursday, October 2, 2008

Simple steps, big savings

Here are tips to help us in these times of shooting power costs.
SIMPLE SOLUTION: One simple way of saving electricity will be to remember to turn the switches off.
With power cut and a thermal surcharge in place, electricity consumers are scurrying for tips to save power and optimise energy use.
From energy audits to sparing the use of the electric iron, consumers leave nothing unattended to save electricity because family budgets and corporate budgets threaten to go haywire in the middle of the financial year.
The most important question now being asked is, Can we enjoy a better lifestyle with much-reduced consumption of electricity? G. Sreenivasan, Public Relations Officer, Kerala State Electricity Board asked this in his blog on World Energy Day (http://meet-tamperfinder. december14- world-energy-day.html).
If sufficient attention is given to the design of the house, use of artificial lighting can be controlled. Windows and ventilators should be placed in such a way to maximise the use of natural light. If the placing of the windows and other openings are right, no artificial lighting will be needed during the daytime.
In the same way, use of the right paints can enhance the light effect. Lampshades should be cleaned regularly.
Lighting equipment, fans and refrigerators are the key items used in a middle-class family which account for the bulk of the power consumption.
The ordinary incandescent bulb is the major culprit in electricity wastage. Only five per cent of the power drawn by an electric bulb is converted into light.
The fluorescent lamp is a better source of light and gives 50 times more light than an ordinary bulb of the same wattage can. Using electronic chokes increases its efficiency.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are more energy efficient than fluorescent lamps, but they should be avoided in study rooms and laboratories where the strain on the eyes have to be taken into consideration. In a broad and spacious dining room, one or two CFLs of 12 watts each will be sufficient. The CFLs are recommended for the kitchen where light has to be on for five to six hours, portico, TV room, prayer room and so on. In short, a CFL gives the same light as that of an ordinary bulb with only 15 per cent of the latter’s energy consumption.
Use task-lighting rather than whole room lighting when a small amount of light is required. The best way to control power consumption is to switch off the lights when no one is in the room. It is estimated that 10 per cent of the average home expenditure on power can be controlled by switching off lights that are not needed.
The myth of the ‘zero-watt’ bulb has to be busted. If a so-called zero-watt bulb is on for 24 hours a day, as in most cases it is, it consumes seven to 10 units of power a month.
Using electronic regulators can help reduce power consumption in running fans. Old fans may need attention.
Cold facts
Refrigerators are the biggest consumers of power in an ordinary home. An ordinary single-door 165-litre refrigerator requires between 30 and 35 units of power a month and a 10-year-old refrigerator will consume one-and-a-half times more power than that.
Use of the refrigerator has to be regulated. Open them only when needed. Keep the doors closed properly. Repair them regularly and replace old refrigerators. When moving out of station for more than a day or two, keep the refrigerator off.
One straight way is to ensure buying an energy-efficient refrigerator as about 40 per cent of the power consumption in a middle-class family is attributed to the refrigerator.
Use of electric irons as and when one requires leads to electricity wastage. Ironing all the clothes at a time can save a lot of power. Turn off the plug switches of television sets and DVD players instead of using only the remote to put off the equipment. Unplug appliances that are not in use.
Using the washing machine in a planned manner can save power. For example, load the machines so as to use its optimum capacity. The instructions on maintaining the water level should be followed to optimise power consumption.
The computer monitors can be switched off when listening to music on the computer so that power can be saved.
Old wirings and leakages are other culprits that cause loss of electricity. These have to be attended to on a regular basis.
(Courtesy “The Hindu”)