02 June, 2008

Tips to save energy!

I went through some information on energy saving on a US website here, and have contextualised it for an Indian audience below:

The energy we use at home accounts for quite a bit of India's contribution to global warming. As incomes rise and consumption increases, this energy and co2 will only increase.
This means making smart choices at home matters, not only for saving on utility bills, but also i helping reduce global warming.

Heating and cooling
This is a top home energy user, with the average household producing about four tons of heat-trapping pollution a year (in the US, data for india not available) . It is heavily influenced by weather. Warmer summers increase greenhouse gas pollution from heavy air conditioning use.
Even as the weather varies, your choices can help spew less global warming pollution.
• In summer, keep shades drawn to keep the cool in.
• In winter, open shades to let the sunlight to help warm rooms.
• Use water coolers in the first few months of the summer when the humidity is not high. An air cooler is much more enery efficient than an air conditioner and it saves you electricity bills as well
• Buy air-conditioners whic have an energy star rating only
• Buy air-conditioners which can be programmed to be at a particular temperature.
• Temperatures of upto 28 degrees are comfortable. Every degree higher will translate into energy savings, less electricity consumption and Co2 reductions.
• Clean or replace the air filter on your air conditioner.
• Plant trees around your house to cut cooling costs in summer if you can. They help the local water table (which can reduce the cost of water pumps)
• Insulate your walls and ceilings.
• In case of a house, use a light-colored or reflective paint on the roof.

After heating, refrigerators and freezers are generally the home's next two big energy eaters. Other appliances follow closely. Together, these items account for nearly eight tons of heat-trapping emissions per household per year.
• Upgrade to Energy Star products. Not all appliances are equal. Whether you're in the market for a new fridge, toaster or air conditioner, look for Energy Star choices, which offer the best energy savings.
• Size counts. When in the market for an appliance, make sure you buy what suits your needs. Items too large or too small waste electricity and your money.
• Unplug. Your electric meter is often adding up kilowatt hours when you don’t think you’re using an appliance. Unplug toasters and cell phone and other chargers when they’re not in use.
• Use power strips and switch off the whole strip: Cable boxes and video game boxes, and to a lesser extent TVs and VCRs, use almost as much energy when they're off as when they're on. Make it easy to turn them all the way off—plug them into a power strip and turn off the whole strip. Consumer Reports also offers more detailed ratings and green buying guides for appliances, from vacuum cleaners to laundry machines.


Lighting accounts for about fair amount of enery consumption after heating and cooling have been accounted for. In terms of heat-trapping pollution, that means the lights in the average household produce just over a ton of carbon dioxide each year. Here are a few steps to lower those numbers.
• Use energy-efficient lights. Changing just one 75-watt bulb to a compact fluorescent light cuts roughly 1,300 pounds of global warming pollution(Again a US number, but I think that apart from power cuts, the number woul be the same in India). They also last up to 15 times as long and save you money.
• Turn off lights. A good chunk of lighting expenses is from rooms that stay unnecessarily lit.
• Use natural light. Open shades and use sunlight to help light rooms.
• Install motion-sensors so that lights automatically turn on when someone is in the room and turn off when empty. (A very US oriented tip, however, such technology is now available in India and is cheaper than you think!)
Other energy efficient choices for your home
• Use the energy saver cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when full.
• Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.

And a really big one:
Raising animals for meat is more co2 intensive than using the piece of land for crops.
Going vegetarian helps the environment as it cuts out the middleman (Meat!). This one will be a tough nut for me to crack.

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