Save Energy This Summer With Smart Moves
It is getting HOT – and quickly too! Summer is upon us with temperatures touching the mid 30s in the month of February and March itself. As the heat increases, so does our consumption of most resources — making us live a little larger than we usually do in the cooler months.
The use of energy and water in a typical household more than double and sometimes can be four times more than the average use in non-summer months. This summer, let us all take a look around our homes to see how we can be more energy efficient and cut back on our electricity usage.
While talking about energy, there are two ways to scale back on our general usage — one through efficiency as discussed and secondly through conservation. Energy conservation ideas typically include turning of fans and lights when not in use and general discipline when it comes to energy usage. It is more a ‘waste-not-want-not’ kind of strategy. While conservation is a definite requirement and has its virtues, it will not result in the performance of products at optimal levels — this is only achieved by opting for energy efficient products, which can save us resources and money too.
Efficient products are those that do the same or in cases even more than what we require while using lesser energy. An efficient air conditioner for example, will use less electricity but still keep you as cool as a conventional air conditioner. That’s why we need to address and understand energy efficiency in order to cut back on our energy bills.
So what does energy efficiency mean for a homeowner? Many efficient products are available in the market today — most of us would have heard of appliances that are “star” rated or of “LED” lights being more energy efficient than conventional bulbs. Let’s get down to the basics to dig a little deeper in to this subject — energy is measured in watts and kilowatts — and it is measured over time as kilowatt–hour. As a thumb rule one KWh is equivalent to turning on one conventional 100W bulb for 10 hours. Let us now consider a more ‘efficient’ fixture such as an LED bulb. In order to give out the same amount of light as a 100W bulb we will need to use a 16W LED bulb. Calculated over the same 10-hour period, an LED bulb will use only 0.16kWh of energy over the conventional bulb. This efficiency saves a whole lot of energy.
Energy efficiency of appliances is also calculated in a similar way. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) came out with the star-rating program in 2006 as an equivalent system of evaluating energy efficiency as the Energy Star Programme available in other countries. Ratings are available through this label for a variety of white good appliances — including refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters, washing machines, televisions, tube lights, fans, etc.
There are a total of five stars that are awarded and as usual, the higher the star the better the energy efficiency of a product. Remember we have to conserve and also be efficient in order to get the maximum savings on our energy bills!
(The writer is an architect, urban designer, dancer and
chief designer at Shilpa Architects)