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Sustainable Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia

3.2.6 Electricity / Energy Conservation

Commonly 50-90% electricity is wasted. Simple light bulb converts only less than 5% of electric energy into light; rest goes waste as heat. Many other applications are similarly wasteful. To avoid wasteful uses energy efficient equipments do exist in market. Its prices are minimal compared to the cost of electricity that is incurred. By employing the energy efficient equipment the power crisis in South Asia can be hal2.ved. For the society it is better and cheaper to switch over to energy efficient equipments than building new power plants and power transmission lines. Use of other forms of energy is also wasteful, whether it is oil, gas, firewood, or others.


Compared with traditional light bulbs, the compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light tubes are 4 times as efficient and new light emitting diodes (LEDs) are twice as efficient. Please refer Table.3.3 for examples of traditional and efficient light sources.
Poor qualities of fluorescent lights have short life while poor quality LEDs get weaker after some years. LEDs are fast improving, and LEDs of old design are not as efficient as the latest types.
Fluctuation in voltage can harm all types of lighting. It reduces life of devices. LEDs also damage when used in high temperatures without cooling. In the following are energy conservation proposals for households, business, and agriculture. Electricity/Energy Conservation Tips

Tips for electricity conservation at home

  1. Use efficient light and equipments.
  2. Use appropriate lighting according to requirement. A so-called zero bulb, uses 12-15 Watt per hour. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are available in 5, 7, 9, and 11 Watt capacities and they give more light output.
  3. A tube light (36/40 Watt) gives more light than 60-100 Watt bulb and will consume 40-60% less power. Tube light with electronic choke is more energy efficient.
  4. For electric water heating instant geysers are considered to be more efficient than storage type geysers; but solar water heating use almost no electricity.
  5. Efficient refrigerators use only 25% of the electricity that wasteful types use, for the same size.
  6. Allow heated foodstuff to cool down before placing it in the refrigerator.
  7. Electronics consume lot of electricity. Equipment with flat LCD screens use less energy than old screens, while the flat Plasma screens use more than most of the older screens. Large screens use more energy than small screens. The most efficient computer screens use 20 Watt, while rest of the computers use 50 Watt and a television (17’’ screen) 60 Watt. Much of the equipments use large part of the power when it is turned standby. This is also true for small devices such as mobile phone chargers, some telephones, etc.
  8. Design houses to cool naturally to avoid or reduce use of air-conditioning.

Tips for electricity conservation at shops and business establishments

  1. Use efficient equipment for light, cooling, cooking, etc.
  2. Do not use electricity when less polluting/cheaper alternatives exist such as efficient use of biomass and solar heating for all heating / cooking purposes.
  3. Design houses for natural cooling and use only the most efficient air-conditioners.
  4. Avoid excessive illumination. Keep only as many fans and lights on as you need.
  5. Do not use neon signboards. Use painted signboards.
  6. Use energy saving compact fluorescent lamps for the illumination of your shops, showrooms, or hotels.
  7. Use solar water heaters for hot water requirements of your hotels and lodges.
Tips for energy conservation in industrial establishments
  1. Undertake regular Energy Audits and monitor energy consumption closely.
  2. Use efficient equipment for cooling, motors, ventilation, etc.
  3. Use variable speed drives to run pumps, machines etc. with only the necessary speed.
  4. Plug all oil leakages. Leakage of one drop of oil per second amounts to loss of >2000 litres/year.
  5. Incomplete combustion leads to wastage of fuel. Observe the colour of smoke emitted from chimney. Black smoke indicates improper combustion and fuel wastage. White smoke indicates excess air and hence loss of heat. Hazy brown smoke can indicate too many particles in combustion.
Tips for electricity conservation in agriculture
  1. Use efficient equipment and keep equipment maintained.
  2. Selection of right capacity of pumps according to the irrigation requirement.
  3. Matching of pump set with source of water - canal or well.
  4. Matching of motor with appropriate size pump.
  5. Proper installation of the pump system - shaft alignment, coupling of motor and pump.
  6. Use of low friction rigid pipes and foot valves.
  7. Avoid using unnecessary bends and throttle valves.
  8. Use bends in place of elbows.
  9. The suction depth of 6 meters is recommended for centrifugal pumps. The delivery line should be kept at minimum.
  10. Check pump system periodically and carry out corrective measures like lubrication, alignment, tuning of engines and replacement of worn-out parts.
  11. Over watering can harm the crops and allows wastage of vital water resource. Irrigate according to established norms for different crop.
  12. Use drip irrigation for specific crops like vegetable, fruits, tobacco, etc. Drip systems can conserve up to 80% water and reduce pumping energy requirement.


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