Thursday, June 2, 2011

Steps to go green and save energy at homes

We wish all our readers a "Very Happy and Green World Environment Day".

Can I adopt green technologies and reduce my electricity bills ? This is a question that runs in one's mind who is conscious of our environment. I believe that with few simple steps one can easily turn their home in to a green home and reduce their electricity bills by as much as 30%.

Here are few steps that one should follow to conserve:

Step 1: Energy Audit

Take a sheet of paper and conduct energy audit of your home. Energy audit is simply identifying ALL of the electrical equipments in your home, which includes even a small zero watt bulb.
  • Count number of lights in your home. Identify and write down number of tune lights and bulbs.
  • Assign wattage for each of the lights. Example : Tube lights consume 28 to 40W + 20W( choke and starter). So they consume anywhere between 50 to 60W of power for 1 hour of usage.
  • Next count number of water heater (geyser) in your home. Depending on the capacity, they consume anywhere from 1 Kw to 2 Kw per hour of usage. if you have solar water heater then you are saving lots of power.
  • Write down rest of the equipments in your home such as fans, television (you will find the wattage on the back of a TV), DVD player, music system, surround sound system, Computer, Laptop etc.
  • Identify the wattage consumed by your Fridge.
  • Note down the wattage consumed by your washing machine.
  • After identifying each of these equipments, create a table and write approximate hours of operation, that these are used on any given day.
  • When you multiply the watts and number of hours of usage, you will be able to identify exact electricity usage per day.
Step 2: Identify power leakage in your house
  • Identify key plug points in your home, and check if any equipments are plugged in and not being used.
  • When any electronic equipment is plugged in to the wall outlet (such as TV, DVD player), and even if the power is turned off in the device, there will be some loss of power within the wires and cables.
Step 3: Start making changes to save energy

Lighting:

  • First replace bulbs and tubes that are of higher wattage. A 18W CFL will produce similar amount of light as of a tube light, and hence can replace a tube. This will save close to 60% of of your lighting cost assuming that tube lights are used most of the time in nights.
  • You can also opt to go for LED lights ( even though they cost more), they will produce similar amount of light as a tube light by consuming just 6W of power. I will talk more in my next post about LED's and CFL's.
  • Replace all the bulbs in your home with CFL's or LED's. Don't forget to check your balcony and outdoor lights.
  • Switch to solar based DC lighting, so that your basic energy need for lighting is catered by clean energy.
Water Heating:
  • Water heaters consume close to 30% of daily energy usage in every home. If the heaters are old then they will consume close to 50% of power. Hence replace geysers with solar water heaters, which will save money in the long run. Typical break even for solar water heater is in the range of 2 to 3 years.
  • Check your geysers and usage pattern. If the geysers are old, then you will need to replace the inner lining ( due to scaling). This will help in saving 20% of energy. If you plan to replace the geyser, then purchase a 5* energy rating ones with adjustable temperature control (AO Smith).
  • When a geyser is turned on, check how long it takes to boil the water and turn them off immediately. Even if the geysers have , they automatically turn on when the temp of water drops.
  • Schedule showers of all members in a home at a stipulated time, to avoid turning on geysers multiple times. ( This sure will require lots of convincing of all residents in a home :) ).
Unplug all devices when not in use
  • It is very important that all devices when not in use be unplugged from the wall socket.
  • If a plug is left in the socket, then there is leakage of some power through the cables.
  • I have noticed that even the cell phone battery chargers pull some power, and when left alone over 24 hours time can not only cause damage to mobile batteries, and also result in loss of power.
  • If you unplug your TV, DVD player, music system etc during night, you would save 5 to 8% of energy bills. ( consumes close to 60W of power per hour).
Step 4: Install smart energy meter at home
  • Installing a smart energy meter at home, helps you monitor and understand energy use at home.
  • These meters also helps in detecting any power leakage within your home.
  • These meters also will help in determining, the amount of energy you require to run each equipment in your home. Using this data, one can replace devices at home with energy star units, so that they save energy cost.
Step 5: Install Solar PV system at home
  • Once the energy needs of a home is determined, design appropriate solar PV system ( Building integrated photovoltaic, Grid-Tie, Solar-DC system etc.) and implement in your home.
  • If the initial cost seems to be high, then add additional panels in stages (one or two per year).
I hope that these tips will help in adopting green solutions, and also help in reducing your electricity bills.

Remember : "Every unit of electricity saved, will help save our planet".

Thanks for reading and Happy Green Day.

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