Palace on energy saving mission

new: The Amba Vilas Palace is being decked up with the new LED lights in phases. dh photo by vishwanath suvarna

T he visitors to Mysore Palace during the recently-held ten-day Dasara festival might have observed some changes in lighting. Yes. All the traditional lamppost, streetlight and focus lamps inside the palace premises that were having incandescent bulbs, are now replaced with Light-Emitting Diode (LED), the most energy conserving circuit. Of late, the government is campaigning for LEDs for twin reasons-to conserve the precious energy and to check the global warming.

As many as 98,000 plus incandescent bulbs are used to illuminate the imposing Amba Vilas Palace-one of the cynosure of the city. The annual electricity bill runs into lakhs of rupees. Let there be rain or shine the illumination of palace is a regular feature on all Sundays, public holidays, national festivals and of course, during Dasara festival. In fact, thousands of tourists flock the palace to see the illuminated palace that just resembles a fairy land. No doubt the traditional incandescent bulbs consume lot of power and have a short life but they give a magnificent look to the 98-year-old palace. Perhaps, no other bulb gives a golden tinge to the palace when lit.

Recently, Prof G L Shekar, vice-principal of the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore visited Shanghai on an official visit. He was astonished to see almost all the buildings, shopping malls and houses were lit with LED. After his return, he contacted the authorities of Mysore Palace Board and explained them the salient features of going for LED. Initially, the board members were reluctant as they were very much concerned about the illumination as it the prime attraction of the Mysore Palace. Prof Shekar had a series of discussion with the electric wing of the palace and submitted a detailed project report.

Subsequently, the proposal was put before the board meeting which is headed by the chief secretary and members include deputy commissioner and other senior-level officials. Then they decided to take up two lamppost on a pilot basis. They were surprised to the results. Subsequently, the board decided to replace all incandescent bulbs of 250 watts, 160 watts and 400 watts with the LEDs. In total, they have put 635 LEDs in the entire palace premises.

Assistant executive engineer, Mysore Palace Board, Parashivamurthy told City Herald that the monthly bill of the entire palace comes to around ` 7 lakh. While the main palace illumination is for hardly one hour on Sundays and 30 minutes on Saturdays, the major power consuming were high-powered incandescent bulbs that are used extensively both inside and outside of the palace. The power of each incandescent bulb is 15 watts.  Since those traditional bulbs were replaced with LEDs recently they are yet to know how much of money is saved.

He said LED comes in different colours and what they have selected is in blue shade. The life of each LED, according to company, is around 50,000 to 60,000 hours. Even the company has come forward to maintain the LED lighting for five years. More than cutting the electricity bill, it checks the global warming which is need of the hour. It is known as ‘eco-friendly’ in the entire world. The company has agreed to manufacture LEDs of Amber Red colour which is used to illuminate the main palace. Ultimately, it is the State Government and the Palace Board that has to take a decision, he added.

Prof Shekar opined that out of the total electricity bill of the palace nearly 25-40 per cent could be saved by switching over to LEDs. Of course the cost of LED may be little high when compared to CFL or incandescent bulbs but the entire cost could be recovered within 2-3 years. They have to see future as global warming is posing a grave threat to the mankind. The National Institute of Engineering is ready to help the Palace Board if it wishes to replace all the 98,000 incandescent bulbs with LEDs in a phased manner.
“According to me it will not changing the colour of the illumination of the main palace in any manner”, he noted.

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