I have been a green convert for a long time now. Here are few things I do every day to keep my carbon footprint low:
1.This is the most basic step. I switch off all lights, fans and anything that works on electricity when not in use, and not on standby.
2. I turn off the laptop monitor every time I take a break. I follow other ways of saving energy while using computer, such as using power saver mode when downloading torrents. I’ve attached all devices on separate spike strips with switches, I print on both sides of the paper and turn off WiFi, Bluetooth radios when not in use.
3. There is no incandescent bulb in our house since 2010. From CFLs, I started switching to LED lights since the last 4 to 5 years. As LED lights were expensive back then, I started replacing the ones that were mostly used, such as those on pathways and common areas. Once the government started selling LED bulbs for INR 85, I’ve replaced most of our lights to LEDs, except a few highly efficient florescent tubes that I’ll replace with LED tubes once their life is over. I use the old working CFLs where we rarely need lights, such as the store room, terrace, etc. It elongates their life and avoids sending them to landfills. I’ve stored all the defunct CFLs and incandescent bulbs in a box.
4. I use an efficient inverter AC that helped us get the lowest summer bill this time. It is set at 28 to 29 degrees Celsius (we never had to put any of our ACs on 16 degrees) and use fans to reduce dependency on AC. I also set the timer to turn it off after a few hours. I’ve put shades over the outdoor units using scrap boards and make sure the filters are clean.
5. I use force ventilation by an exhaust fan fixed in reverse that helps eliminate AC use on some nights. This uses 10 percent the energy of the AC.
6. I have a 1.2 watt LED bulb in my bathroom apart from a normal 5 watts one. This gives very less light, like a night lamp. Basically, you know your bathroom and unless you are shaving, you don’t really need a bright light (unless you prefer so of course). It is also easy on the eyes when you wake up in the middle of the night.
7. I use a 0.5 watt LED night lamp. The ‘zero-power’ bulbs are a misnomer – they are incandescent bulbs and consume 15 watts. Replace it today, it will cost around INR 40, you will save money and the environment, and you probably won’t have to change it for the next ten years.
8. There is no vampire power wastage as I installed strips with separate switches throughout the house, such as using separate switches for the set top box and the TV.
9. I’ve stored used CFLs (contains mercury) in a box as I haven’t found someone who can recycle them safely. I store every bit of paper (ATM receipts, bills, printed paper), cans (deodorant bottles, soda cans) and give it to the recycler after I’ve collected enough.
10. I turn off the engine at traffic stops, use engine kill switch on the bike to turn off the ignition at stops. I set the car AC to moderate temperature to reduce consumption and roll up the windows on highways to avoid drag. I drive or ride mostly in the economy range, without sudden changes in speed.
11. I like buying used things and maintaining older things if they are efficient. I have a used laptop, printer and speaker, and even a used car. I refill the printer ink on all printers in the house and avoid buying new cartridges. I keep a stack of one sided printed paper near the printers so that we can remember to use them when necessary.
12. I clean, lube and maintain every appliance in the house.
13. Saving water saves energy too, as water is pumped through electric motors. I use a ‘foam-flow’ faucet which I close in between brushing or shaving, take ultra quick showers, flush when absolutely necessary. I use cold water for bath. In winter weekends, I wait till the water in the pipes are warm in the afternoon to take bath.
14. I use the induction cooker and microwave oven more, instead of gas.
15. I also make everyone in our house follow the same and keep suggesting to people how and why to save energy (even when I visit someone’s home).
Things I Plan To Do In The Future:
1.Rainwater Harvesting – Our house has five different levels of terrace space and the ground floor is congested. Hence it requires a few modifications to accommodate rainwater storage tanks. We have planned to recharge an old defunct borewell using the rainwater from the main terrace.
2. Solar Power – When it becomes cheaper and net-metering will be enabled.
3. Bio Gas Digester – Yet to find something suitable with service backup in my area.
4. Grey Water – Rewiring waste water from washing, baths for flushing and other activities. And fitting dual flush and low flow taps and showers. Requires major overhaul.
5. Electric Car – Tesla – the ultimate dream.
Saving energy is simple. Once you start doing these, it becomes a part of your daily life. Try today and you will feel good about it too. Let us know your experience, suggestions or queries.
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