15 Ways to Save Energy at Home
While Nepal has been continuously struggling to develop a sustainable supply of electricity during the last decade, the daily energy demand of 1,500 MW is four times more than what the country can produce. Nepal has one of the lowest energy consumptions in South Asia, posting only an annual average per capita electricity consumption of 130 kWh or units, in contrast to India’s 700 units and Sri Lanka’s 500 units, respectively. The global average is 3,000 units. The 10% annual growth rate of domestic consumption necessitates a policy-driven approach to promote efficient use of electricity, particularly in the consumer appliance market.
Eliminating low-efficiency rating products, formulating a minimum baseline standard for efficiency rating, and implementing a labeling system will significantly reduce the demand for electricity, and eventually increase energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is about utilizing less or minimum amount of energy to accomplish the same amount of work.
In buying electrical appliances, look for products with high energy efficiency ratings and international health and environmental compliance standards. The top green energy efficiency standards include Energy Star, RoHS, and EPEAT. The RoHS compliance, for example, certifies products with no presence of lead, cadmium, mercury, and other hazardous materials.
It would be useful to know that we can implement power saving measures in our households:
Hemendra Bohra is a businessman and an environmental engineer who built an energy-efficient house in Kathmandu. I had the privilege of finding out what makes his house unique and interesting.
What motivated you to build an eco-friendly and energy-efficient house?
I wanted something natural, a house made of inexpensive, readily available, and indigenous raw materials. I liked the concept of a green house because it promotes sustainable use of the environment.
What makes your house eco-friendly?
I built my house using the rammed-earth design where walls are made of compacted sandy soil. My house has natural heating and cooling capability. The 18-inch thick walls serve as heat storages or thermal sponges and the configuration of the rooms with double-glazed glass windows effectively trap the heat as it is being gradually dissipated from the walls. During the entire winter, our room’s average temperature is 18 ?C. In summer, our house is cool because it has a cross-ventilation mechanism that effectively flushes out the heat.
Would you say that your house is energy-efficient?
My house is completely solar-powered and I only use electricity from NEA as a back-up. It is equipped with a 2,800-watt solar panel and a 4,000-watt inverter—enough to power up all our household appliances. I do not have heaters or electric fans at home.
How much do you pay for your electricity?
I only pay NEA Rs.360 when I charge my electric car for 5-6 hours. If I will not use my electric car in a month, then my bill will be practically zero.
1 Lighting (5-200 watts). Replace all incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs. CFLs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. A 15-watt CFL that costs about Rs.200 will perform better than a 60-watt incandescent lamp. The return on investment for buying CFLs is only 4 months.
2 Electric iron (1200-1500 watts). Buy electric iron with automatic temperature shut-off. Avoid ironing one or two pieces of clothes only. Do not iron wet clothes.
3 Refrigerator (150-200 watts). Replace old refrigerators with ones that have energy certification. This will reduce the power consumption by 20%. Clean the indoor rubber seals with lemon extract to eliminate oil and food debris stuck to it. Set the thermostat to medium cooling position.
4 Electric fans (25-100 watts). Replace electric or conventional regulators with energy efficient electronic regulators for ceiling fans. Buy fans with timer. Clean the fan blades regularly to reduce the drag.
5 Microwave oven (850-1200 watts). Do not use the microwave for baking; instead, use your gas stove. Avoid heating coffee or liquids in microwave oven.
6 Electric oven (1000-2000 watts). Use your electric stove instead, which only consumes 800 watts.
7 Electric kettle (1800-2200 watts). Unless you are in a hurry to boil water and drink your tea or instant coffee, avoid using this power-hungry kitchen gadget. Always use your regular kettle on your gas stove.
8Electric stove (800-1000 watts). Use flat bottom pan to maximize the contact points against the heating plate of the stove. Turn off the stove even before the specified cooking time is done.
9 Washing machine (320 watts). Replace or buy a new washing machine with an Energy Star certification. Use the machine in full load capacity and set it to the shortest cycle. Have your winter blankets and bed covers washed by a laundry shop. Electric dryers consume 4,000 watts, so choose natural drying.
10 Television (90-200 watts). When not in use, turn off the multi-plug outlet where it is connected. Avoid putting the television on stand-by mode overnight.
11 Gas stove. Use moderate flame to conserve gas or LPG. Ensure that the stove is emitting blue flame. Yellowish flame means that the burner needs immediate cleaning. Use pressure cookers if possible. Thaw all food ingredients to room temperature before cooking.
12 Internet routers, Wifi (5-20 watts). Turn off the wall outlet switch where your Internet router and Wifi are plugged-in during daytime when everyone is out of the house or no one will be using it.
13 Computers, Tablets, Smartphones. Desktop computers consume 150-350 watts while laptops only consume 45-90 watts. Pull the plug if your laptop is fully charged. Recharge your tablets and smartphones 3-4 hours before bedtime. These gadgets consume more energy if these are plugged overnight.
14 Electric water pump (180-400 watts). Do not forget to turn off the pump when the water tanks are full. Ensure that the pipes and joints connected to the electric pump have no leaks.
15 Electric and oil heaters (1200-2200 watts). Buy heaters with timer and automatic shut-off. Electric heaters easily dissipate heat during winter. Oil heaters are slow to heat up the room but they dissipate the heat slowly when turned off.
These power-saving measures will definitely allow individual households to save more money, improve power efficiency ratings, promote healthier environment, and significantly lower or optimize the national energy consumption.