How to save energy at home...

How to save energy at home...

How to save energy at home...

Technologically, we are progressing at a breakneck speed. Smarter and advanced appliances are being introduced in the market by the hour. However, it is a known fact that these devices run on electricity directly or indirectly. This marvel of electricity is responsible for the ‘smart’ lives we are leading today. It is pretty evident that we are extremely dependent on electricity.

This leads us to a major concern — the ever-increasing demand for electricity. With natural resources dwindling, generation of electricity for day-to-day activities is the biggest challenge facing the power industry today. It’s time we took upon the responsibility to help authorities in handling such huge demands. This does not mean that we start generating electricity of our own, but instead, we can start making an effort to use electricity judiciously.

Though our contribution is at a micro level and may appear insignificant, nothing can go to waste. Like they say, tiny droplets make a mighty ocean; if we all become aware of the necessity to reduce and make small changes, remarkable results can be realised. A doctrine followed by electrical engineers is, “A watt saved is a watt produced”. This mantra should be adopted in our homes too. Incredible changes occur with small contributions.

Many of our appliances and gadgets go into auto, idle and standby modes to conserve power. But you will be surprised to know that even in this mode, the appliance is drawing power. It has not completely cut off power; the internal components running to keep them in this mode still draw power. This is technically called ‘vampire power’, ‘phantom load’, or ‘power bleeding’.

The difference lies in the point of the device being off and the power to the device being cut off. Although this may be a small fraction of the entire load, when many devices are running together, it becomes a significant figure. Annually, this becomes a substantial sum in the electricity bill. Also, when cumulated over number of consumers, you will be astonished to see the units of power that can be saved by some prudence.

Energy vampires

Let’s look at a classic example of energy vampires. Take the case of cell phone chargers. When connected to a power socket, with no device plugged in, they draw around 0.25W. With a single device connected, this goes up to 2.5W, even if the mobile is fully charged. This may be a fraction of the power compared to the entire load in the house, but with multiple units connected and many other such vampire circuits, this becomes significant. It is more evident since the chargers and many other devices around the house are left powered 24x7. Moreover, we find each household with more than one charger per person. Also, some of us carry additional chargers with us to keep our devices charged at all times.

Another example is that of the cable set top boxes. There is a tremendous rise in the use of HD and digital TVs all over. These, when just plugged in, draw up to 15-17W. This power consumption rises significantly with DVR facilities (which are popular nowadays). And many houses leave these cable boxes powered throughout.

Surveys and statistics show that energy vampires constitute nearly 10 per cent of our electricity bills. We can begin to contribute towards a greener environment by reducing this consumption. Here are a few suggestions which can take you a long way in doing your bit to the environment by reducing the use of electricity:

 Switch off or unplug devices when not in use. Power off geysers, mixers, microwaves and other units as soon as you have used them. Even simple LED indicators consume power.

 Utilise natural light as much as possible.
 Eliminate unnecessary lighting around the house and get into the habit of switching off lights, AC, fans etc., when not around.

 Upgrade to better and energy-efficient  lighting options as and when your budget permits. Wherever possible, install solar lamps, especially in verandas, terraces and garden areas.

 If you are building a new house, incorporate as many energy saving schemes as possible. Otherwise, take expert advice for your current dwelling and incorporate the necessary changes for alternate power sources.

 Regular maintenance and periodic servicing of back-up power supplies such as UPS and inverters is a must, so that they do not draw more power while the battery is charging.
 Look for energy star rating on appliances. These conform to standards and minimise the consumption in standby mode.

 Reduce keeping computers, gaming consoles and other electronic devices in idle modes. Switch off and restart if you are going to be away for a while.

 Install surge suppressors and other smart devices which automatically shut off devices not in use, all the while supplying power to devices that are running. Power strips are also another option.

 Be vigilant about unnecessary use of electricity around the house and sensitise your family and neighbourhood in power saving habits.

 Last but not the least, avoid extravagant lighting during festivals and celebrations. Look for natural alternatives.

If every house and workplace incorporates these little changes, consumption of electricity will reduce dramatically and there will be a significant difference in the electricity bills too. Not to forget, the burden you would be reducing on the environment.