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Tips to save energy

This page covers tips to save energy.

Our non-renewable energy sources like coal and petroleum are getting exhausted at an alarming rate due to increasing population and indiscriminate use. Alternate energy sources using animal waste or natural forces like wind, water, ocean tides, etc. are being experimented with and are in the process of being perfected.

Meanwhile, it is up to each one of us to adopt energy saving measures in our day-to-day activities, measures which are simple and cost-effective and do not call for drastic changes in our lifestyles. Here are a few tips to help you along ......

Lighting

  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Use light bulbs of minimum wattage.
  • Eliminate unnecessary outdoor and decorative lighting.
  • Replace your present light bulbs with electronic fluorescent lamps. They last 10 times longer and use about 75% less electricity than an ordinary bulb.
  • Substituting a compact fluorescent bulb for a traditional bulb will keep half a tonne of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. They are more expensive than an ordinary bulb but work out much cheaper in the longer run because of saving in electricity.
  • Interestingly, one large ordinary bulb is more efficient than two small ones in a multi-bulb fixture. A 100W bulb, for example, generates about as much light as two 60W bulbs, and it saves energy.
  • Cut down on the use of electrical appliances.
  • In summer, shut windows, blinds, curtains and doors early in the morning to keep the house cool.

Water Heaters

  • Use your heaters sparingly. Switch off soon after your bath, for heaters are great guzzlers of electricity.
  • Setting your water heater too high (about 150°F), wastes energy.
  • Lower the thermostat. After all, most of us mix cold water with hot to get the right temperature.
  • If you can, install a solar water heating system in your home.

Stoves

  • Turn off the stove immediately after use.
  • Use pressure cookers as much as possible.
  • Plan well and keep things ready before you start cooking.
  • Keep the vessel closed while cooking and always use small,narrow-mouthed vessels.
  • When food is almost cooked, switch off the gas stove and keep the vessel closed. It will get completely cooked with the heat already present.
  • When you switch off the gas stove, switch off the regulator of the cylinder as well, to prevent leaks.
  • Use ISI mark stoves which use less kerosene.

Ovens / Microwave Oven

  • Microwaves use around 50% less energy than conventional ovens: they are most efficient for small portions or defrosting.
  • Check the seal on your oven door to see if there are cracks or tears in it.
  • Develop the habit of cooking to consent lower temperature settings.
  • Carefully measure water used for cooking to avoid having to heat more than is needed.
  • Begin cooking on highest heat until liquid begins to boil. Then lower the heat control settings and allow food to simmer until fully cooked.
  • Rearrange oven shelves before turning your oven on and don’t peep at food in the oven! Every time you open the oven door, 4-5oC is lost
  • When preheating an oven for baking, time the preheat period carefully. Five to eight minutes should be sufficient.
  • For large items, stove-top cooking is most efficient, especially with gas.

Refrigerators

  • Decide what you want out of the refrigerator or freezer before opening the door.
  • Check if the door is properly closed after you have finished. Don't stand and gaze into the refrigerator with the door open while making up your mind.
  • If your fridge and freezer are 5 degrees colder than necessary, their energy consumption will increase by 25%.
  • The 'fridge door will not be air-tight if there is dried food stuck on the gasket. Ensure that it is always clean.
  • If your refrigerator needs to be refilled with gas, it means there is a leak. Fix the leak first.
  • For efficient operation, clean the condenser coils on the back or bottom of your fridge at least once a year.
  • Keep your fridge full for more economical operation.
  • Let foods cool to room temperature before storing.

Air Conditioner

  • Use ceiling or table fan as first line of defense against summer heat. Ceiling fans, for instance, cost about 30 paise an hour to operate – much less than air conditions (Rs.10.00 per hour).
  • Reduce air-conditioning energy use by as much as 40 percent by shading your home as windows and walls.
  • Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room.
  • A good air conditioner will cool and dehumidify a room in about 30 minutes, so use a timer and leave the unit off for some time.
  • Clean the air-conditioner filter every month and air conditioning unit checked every 6 months.
  • The gaps around the windows and doors leads to A C loss. You can use a candle to look for drafts. It the flame flickers or dances, found the place to seal.
  • Draperies on windows help reduce energy loss.
  • Buy split ACs instead of window ACs. They cost more, but they are more energy efficient and consume lesser electricity.
  • Do not install AC units on the west and south walls as these are exposed to direct sunlight through a major part of the day during summers.
  • Do not apply dark colors on the external surfaces (roof and walls) of the house. Dark colors absorb more heat than light colors, leading to increased use of the AC.
  • Ensure that the condenser of the unit must have enough space around it for air to circulate and help the refrigerant dissipate its heat easily.

Washing Machines

  • Washing machines can account for as much as 20% of the electricity you use.
  • Use Cold water, as almost 90% of the energy consumed by washing machines goes to heating the water. Set the washing machine temperature to cold or warm and the rinse temperature to cold as often as possible.
  • Each wash cycle uses up to 60 to 90 liters of water. Use washing machine on full load and plan washing periodicity to save on water too.
  • Adding too much detergent actually hampers effective washing action and may require more energy in the form of extra rinses.
  • Soak or pre-wash the cloths for effective cleaning.

Computers

  • Avoid using screen savers to save energy. Turn off the monitor when you are not using the computer.
  • Start-ups and shutdown do not use any extra energy, nor are they hard on your computer components.
  • Shutting computers down when you are finished using them actually reduces system wear and saves energy.
  • Use flat-screen LCD/LED monitors.
  • Setting computers, monitors and copiers to sleep-mode when not in use helps cut energy costs by approximately 40%

Automobiles

  • The easiest way to make your car more fuel efficient is to keep it tuned up. The well-tuned car uses upto 9% less petrol than a poorly tuned car.
  • If 100,000 car owners who had neglected tune ups started getting their cars tuned up regularly, some 90 million pounds of carbon dioxide could be kept out of the atmosphere every year.
  • Keep fuel filters clean. Clogged filters use more petrol.
  • Check to see whether you are hauling around unnecessary weight in your car. Surprisingly, an extra hundred pounds will decrease your fuel economy by more than 1%.
  • When you are buying a car, keep fuel efficiency in mind.
  • Optional equipment like power steering and automatic
  • transmissions need a lot of energy to run.
  • Inflate your tyres to the right pressure. It reduces fuel consumption by 5%.
  • Drive gently. Don't race the engine; accelerate and slow down gradually. You can improve the mileage by 15%.
  • Drive between 40 and 50 km/hr. The faster you go, the more wind resistance your vehicle will face. You can get 40% extra mileage at 40 km/hr as compared to 80 km/hr.
  • Always drive in the correct gear. Incorrect gear shifting can lead to as much as 20% more fuel consumption.
  • Plan your trips and your route before setting out.
  • Be a one-car family. A car uses up 50 times more energy in its production than in its lifetime.
  • Car sharing is an effective way of cutting down on cars and thus on energy consumption.
  • Try using the public transport systems like trains and buses.
  • Better still, use a bicycle - it occupies little space, releases no pollution and provides healthy exercise.
  • Fit your car with tinted windows to help keep the temperature constant and lessen the need for air-conditioning.
  • Join a car pool. Share lifts to and from work and family outings.
  • Walk rather than drive wherever possible. Walking is one of the best exercises for your health.
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