Have you ever think about how small changes in each home can lead to a big impact on the environment?
Energy efficiency means you are using less energy, reducing your home's energy waste and saving money. To effectively increase your energy efficiency involves more than just using less energy - it requires you becoming aware of how energy is used, where it's wasted, and how it can be used more effectively and efficiently in everyday life. Here are some tips to help your home or business save energy and be more efficient.
What is energy conservation?
At its core, energy conservation is the practice of using less energy in order to lower costs and reduce environmental impact. This can mean using less electricity, gas, or any other form of energy that you get from your utility and pay for. With finite energy resources available on our planet, actively conserving energy when possible is beneficial individually and to our larger energy systems. There are many simple ways that you can save energy and save money at home.
Energy conservation vs. Energy efficiency
While energy conservation is the practice of trying to use less energy for cost and environmental reasons, energy efficiency means using specific products designed to use less energy. These two concepts are inherently similar but involve different methods. Examples of energy conservation include using smart appliances and energy-saving bulbs in your home.
Saving energy helps you save money on utility bills and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change.
How much light is required for your room?
Amount of lighting required for a room depends on the size of the room and the purpose of the room. Intricate tasks require more lighting and just moving around the room requires much less light. The amount of light required in an area is defined as “LUX” level that is equal to lumens/area (lm/m2). Below table gives a good idea of LUX level for various tasks-
When do you waste electricity?
When you use more lumens in a room than required then you are wasting electricity for extra lighting. If you want to save electricity, make sure that any of the below is not happening:-
More lights are put in a room than desired.
Lights are hidden Many times with false ceilings to decorate the room hence the required lights is reduced.
At times there is some obstruction for the lights and extra lights have to be put to accommodate for the less light.
Why Select LED lights
Life 15 times longer than other = big Money savings
Same brightness (lumens), 70–90% less energy (watts)
Help protect the environment and prevent climate change
Tips To Save Electricity in Lighting System
Consider maximum use of natural day lighting as much as possible.
Consider painting the walls a lighter color and using less lighting fixtures or lower wattages.
Allow daylight to penetrate the room by using light-coloured, loose-weave curtains.
Clean all lighting fixtures periodically to maintain proper illumination.
Use focused lighting - instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where it is needed.
Reduces excessive illumination levels to standard level using switching removing and replacing bulb/tube-light.
Establish lighting level standard. Lighting levels (expressed lumens per surface area) should be set in each section of area. Energy is saved by maintaining different levels as needed for different work areas.
Replace CFLs with LED lamps. A LED lamp last roughly 15 times longer than a CFL. The payback period can be as low as five months.
How to select ceiling fan
Ceiling fans can be great electricity savers during summer months if your electricity bills are high due to high air conditioning load. There is significant amount of electricity that this small appliance can save and can help you avoid air conditioner. It is very important to have a right kind of ceiling fan installed with its right maintenance and operations. A poorly installed fan of bad quality can waste a lot of electricity.
The electricity saving and efficiency of a ceiling fan depends a lot on the type of fan selected and proper installation. It is very important to make sure that you read the instructions by the manufacturer before you buy a ceiling fan. There are two things that one needs to check before installing a fan:-
1) Size: Ceiling fans come in various sizes from 900 mm to 1400 mm with 1200 mm size being the most common. Below table specifies the ideal size of a fan for various room sizes:
If the rooms are bigger it is better to install multiple ceiling fans.
2) Fan Blade Pitch: A flat blade just slices through the air and does not assist air movement, so it is important that a blade of a ceiling fan is tilted at least 12 to 15 degrees. The angle assists air movement. It is also important to note that if pitch increases beyond 12-15 degree centigrade, the efficiency of motor running the fan decreases thus increasing electricity bills.
Care should also be taken while installing ceiling fans. It should be installed at least 2 to 3 meters above the floor and there should be at least 24 inches space between the blade and the ceiling. If the space is not proper, the air delivery will not be right. Care should specially be taken when putting ceiling fans on false ceilings. Make sure that there is enough space between the blades and false ceilings. In case the ceilings are very high, extended mounts should be used.
Tips To Save Electricity in Fan
Ceiling fan’s motor should be lubricated regularly to ensure smooth operation. Motors with sealed bearing require little or no maintenance and thus no lubrication.
If the fan is vibrating or is making too much noise then it is not working efficiently. Typically a fan with a metallic container for the motor vibrates less and lasts longer. Efficiency can also be improved by changing the ball bearings inside the fan if it is making a lot of noise.
Never interchange blades of the ceiling fans as the manufacturers ship the product after balancing the blades for right operation. Interchanging blades may reduce efficiency of the fan.
Use Step type switching (instead of knob type) electronic fan regulator and save 30 % power. The old box type regulator only regulates the air breeze but the fan is consuming full power only.
It is also important to keep a check on the electric controls for a ceiling fan to make sure the speeds are varying on change; else it will keep consuming electricity.
3. Air Conditioner
Energy efficient air conditioners are continuously being developed as the demand for them continued to increase as the fight to reduce global warming accelerates. Reduction in the power used by air conditioners will translate to a reduction in carbon footprint as most of our power utilities still use fossil fuel to generate the electricity.
Ozone-unfriendly refrigerant such as R22 is no longer in production and although you can still purchase equipment with this gas through recycling process, it will eventually be replaced by other ozone-friendly refrigerants such as R407C, R410A and R32. These refrigerants have zero ozone depletion potential.
Choosing Energy Efficient Air Conditioners
In general, the more efficient the equipment is, the more costly it is compared to the regular ones. Here are some steps that you can take when choosing energy efficient air conditioners to purchase.
a. Cooling Capacity
Determine the cooling capacity that is required of the room. A rough estimate of how to do this is provided here. Buying an oversize air conditioner is not a good choice as it is more costly and does not necessarily provide better comfort level.
b. Inverter Vs Non-Inverter
Choose an inverter model as it will be definitely more efficient than a non-inverter unit. The inverter compressor's rotation can be varied according to the requirements of the load hence the power savings is there.
On the other hand, the non-inverter compressor is only able to turn ON or OFF. It is not able to vary its speed according to the load. The frequent turning ON and OFF will consume more energy.Choose also a DC inverter compressor as it is more efficient compared to the AC inverter.
c. EER, COP and SEER
Check the brochures for the efficiency of the model. Every model will have different values and it also varies with different manufacturers.
EER is the ratio of the Amount of heat removed per hour/ power consumed.
Thus, EER = BTU/hr/watt
Thus, higher the amount of heat removed per hour per unit of power consumed, higher is the efficiency of air conditioner. Also, higher the EER, better is the air conditioner.
COP is the ratio of the cooling capacity (W) vs. the power input (W). The higher the value, the more efficient it is as it is able to provide more cooling for the same power input.
If it is not given, do your own calculation. Before defining COP, consider the conversion from BTU to kW hr(kilowatt hour).
1kW hr = 3412 BTU Thus, using basic math’s, 1kW = 3412 BTU/hr or 1W = 3.412 BTU/hr
The above relation gives the amount of heat removed in 'W'. Now, COP of air conditioner is given by COP = amount of heat removed in W/ power consumed in W.Thus, COP is a unit less quantity.Thus, just like EER, higher the COP, better is the air conditioner.
The following relation establishes the relation between EER and COP
EER = 3.412 * COP
d. ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the ratio of the total annual amount of heat that the equipment can remove from the indoor air when operated for cooling in active mode to the total annual amount of energy consumed by the equipment during the same period.
The star rating parameters for ISEER is as follows:-
Show efficiency and be a 'star' performer
Every country has its own energy ratings for the model of the air conditioner that has been tested. Choose one that has the highest rating as this would mean that the unit is much more efficient compared to another lower star rating. Whenever we go to buy a new air conditioner, we find a label on the same. This is probably the most important factor apart from the cost, which determines the selection of an air conditioner. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) mandates every air conditioner to have this label. A representation of the same is given image.
e. Infra-Red Sensor
Some manufacturers have built-in infra-red sensor that is able to detect the presence or absence of the occupants in the room. If it does not detect any movement for a certain period of time, it will adjust the set temperature higher automatically to reduce the temperature in the room. This will help to save your electricity bill.
Tips To Save Electricity in Air Conditioner
Ensure proper sealing of doors and windows.
Set the room temperature between 25°C to 27°C.
When a hot day is expected, turn on the air conditioner early rather than wait until the building becomes hot.
Have your unit serviced regularly, and keep filters clean.
Install your air conditioner on the shady side of the building and make sure the air flow around it isn’t obstructed.
Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not to block the airflow.
A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
Always prefer a higher star rated air conditioner than a lower rated one. Although higher rated air conditioners are a bit more costly than lower rated ones, but the energy conservation that they provide will act as a profitable investment in the long run.
Use film / tinted glass on windows.
Prefer air conditioners having automatic temperature cut off.
Keep regulators at "low cool" position.
eave enough space between your air conditioner and the walls to allow better air circulation.
Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat, the thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Have your air conditioner maintained annually by a qualified technician and check your air filter monthly.
Consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR air conditioner. If the central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified model could cut cooling costs by 30%.
Close blinds, shades and draperies to reflect the sun’s heat. Remember that white window coverings reflect sunlight, and dark coverings will absorb the heat.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. By changing the direction to counter-clockwise in the summer, the fan will circulate the cool air.
Turn off the ceiling fan when not in the room.Ceiling fans cool people — not rooms. If the room is unoccupied, turn off the ceiling fan to save energy.
Turn up the thermostat. An optimal setting for improved energy efficiency is at or above 78 degrees. For every degree you turn up the temperature, you could save 2% to 3% on your cooling bill.
Caulk and weather strip around windows and doors to keep the cold air from escaping.
Minimize the use of ovens, stoves, dryers and other major appliances on very hot days. Their usage could require the air conditioner to run longer.
Old refrigerators consume a lot more than the new energy efficient ones and because refrigerators are kept on 24 hours a day all 365 days, it always makes sense to buy a 5 star rated refrigerator.
As per analysis of BEE data, the difference between yearly units consumption in refrigerators for each additional star in star rating is about 60-100 units. But if we factor in the above observation the difference comes out to be 100-150 units per year. Which means a 3 star rated refrigerator will consume about 100-150 units more than a 4 star and similarly a 4 star rated refrigerator will consume 100-150 units more than a 5 star per year. It we take average tariff of Rs. 5 per unit then it converts to Rs. 500 – Rs. 750 difference in operational cost.A refrigerator will go on well at least for next 8 years, so after the recovery period it will be savings in electricity bills.
Replace old refrigerators (12+ years old) with new energy efficient refrigerators. Buying a new refrigerator will not only save electricity but also give better cooling and more/latest features in the same sized refrigerator. While buying a new refrigerator one should just keep a note of the year of rating as BEE star rating changes every year. It’s always good to buy a refrigerator with the latest year rating.
Choose an inverter model as it will be definitely more efficient than a non-inverter model. The inverter compressor's rotation can be varied according to the requirements of the load hence the power savings is there. On the other hand, the non-inverter compressor is only able to turn ON or OFF. It is not able to vary its speed according to the load. The frequent turning ON and OFF will consume more energy.
Tips To Save Electricity in Refrigerator
Do not open door frequently.
Set thermostat in medium cooling position.
Keep adequate space from wall.
Do not overload the refrigerator.
Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup increases the amount of energy.
Leave enough space between your refrigerator and the walls so that air can easily circulate around the refrigerator.
Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold.
Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight.
Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
Don't leave the fridge door open for longer than necessary, as cold air will escape.
Use smaller cabinets for storing frequently used items.
Avoid putting hot or warm food straight into the fridge.
Geyser uses electricity to heat the water. Knowing these terms will help us to understand more about decision factors.
Strictly avoid gas geysers
Gas geysers were considered economical in water heating cost. But we do not recommend Gas Geysers considering its significant safety risk.
The Geyser size
How to select best geyser needs consideration of the geyser size. As a matter of fact, the best geyser size should be close to the hot water volume needed at once. Ideal geyser sizes produce an adequate amount of heat good for utmost immediate use.
Another important factor affecting how to select best geyser is geyser wattage. The wattage of a geyser makes it faster or slower. The water will heat faster if you by an immediate geyser of 4.5 kW instantaneous geyser, unlike geyser of 2 kW. In some cases, 4.5 kW instantaneous geysers can save electricity and heat the water needed for bathing by putting a stop to wastage of more hot water.
Most important point is to avoid local plumber for installation as they do not follow best practices and safety guidelines. Install the Geyser with the help of Authorized service center. Many manufacturers provide the installation service.
How to reduce geyser electricity consumption?
Best thing is while purchasing the geyser look for BEE star ratings and take the best rated geysers. Follow the below geyser usage guidelines.
Switch off when not required.
Reduce thermostat setting from 60 0Cto 50 0C, if manual setting is available.
Use Solar Water Heating System.
Select geyser size to be close to the hot water volume needed at once.
6. Electric iron
Tips To Save Electricity
Select electric irons with automatic temperature cutoff. Most modern electric irons have this feature, so if you have old irons you may think of replacing them.
Some modern electric irons have energy saving control that switches off iron if it is not used for 10-15 minutes. This is also good from safety perspective.
Minimize the use of ironing by: a. Spinning less if using washing machine. b. Hanging the cloths to dry and use hangers for the same, as the cloths are less crumpled when dried on hangers.
Use appropriate position for thermostat while ironing. Extreme high temperatures are not good for cloths as well as your electricity bills.
Do not iron wet clothes or put water on cloths before ironing.
Turn off iron when you have only one or two cloths left for ironing.
7. Washing Machine
Tips To Save Electricity
Run washing machine only with full load.
Use the shortest cycle time.
Use optimal quantity of water.
Use timer facility to save energy.
Use the correct amount of detergent.
Use hot water only for very dirty clothes.
Always use cold water in the rinse cycle.
Prefer natural drying over electric dryers.
8. Gas Stove
Replace your old LPG gas stove with new BEE star rated LPG gas stove for reducing your LPG consumption.
Tips To Save Electricity
When cooking on a gas burner, use moderate flame settings to conserve LPG.
Remember that a blue flame means your gas stove is operating efficiently.
Yellowish flame is an indicator that the burner needs cleaning.
Use pressure cookers as much as possible.
Use lids to cover the pans while cooking.
Bring items taken out of refrigerators (like vegetable, milk, etc.) to room temperature before placing on the gas stove for heating.