In this second article of our five part series, we bring to you the ways in which our sustainable consumption of energy can contribute to a healthy and sustainable environment.
Walk, bike and use public transportation more. Drive less. Not only will you be healthier and help to preserve precious energy resources, you’ll also save money. There are dozens of other ways you can conserve energy—from turning off lights and unplugging appliances when they are not in use, to substituting cold water for hot whenever practical, to not overheating or overcooling your home and office.
Whenever possible, choose renewable energy over fossil fuels. For example, with the recent subsidies on rooftop solar installations, per kWh prices are lower than ever. Providing a much cheaper and greener alternative that will go a long way in reducing our carbon footprint, besides providing you with a real payback in three years or even less for larger installations.
- Walk more.
Over short distances which could either be to get to a nearby shop or a station to further use public transport for travelling, it is highly recommended to walk. Largely limiting our carbon footprints and if practiced across communities can make a big difference. Apart from limiting our carbon footprint, walking has enormous health benefits which include regulating blood pressure, aids in weight loss strengthens muscles and bones etc. The parking mess in local markets is a clear sign of the ‘lost’ habit of walking, and its time we discovered it again.
- Using public transportation
Personal vehicles are probably the most challenging to electrify cost-effectively. Carrying one or two passengers around over long distances in a 1 tonne plus vehicle in India takes a lot of energy. The case for electrification is actually stronger for other types of vehicles, specifically public transit buses.
The central government under the new FAME scheme is planning to completely substitute all state run public transit buses with electric buses by 2022. Several states have already started floating out tenders for electric bus revamp. State capitals like Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai have a strong case to make this shift to electric, thanks to their choking pollution too. Each of these capitals with nearly 4000 public buses in the transportation mix, most of which are guzzling on diesel emitting millions of cubic meters of carbon into the atmosphere.
Electrification would mean that buses emit virtually no air pollutants or greenhouse gases. The power plants where their electricity is generated might still generate those pollutants, but even if it is powered by coal plants, an electric bus averages far less pollution per-mile than a diesel bus. Urban air quality would notably and immediately improve. And don’t underestimate the impact on noise pollution too. Indian cities have some of the highest ambient noise pollution levels, which could benefit from a shift to electric.
- Clean your AC filter regularly, preferably every month.
Last year, 5.5 million ACs were sold in the summer season. In short, AC’s have gone mainstream, as the country urbanises, and gets more affluent. But do we know how to make the best of them?
Dirty and clogged air conditioning filters lower the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. The energy that is thus wasted will pollute the environment and add to the greenhouse gas emissions, further compounding the problem of global warming. Moreover, clogged air filters will cause the unit to pull more energy while delivering less cooling.
Cleaning the air conditioning filters regularly will not only improve energy efficiency but also speed up the cooling process and therefore, reduce the need to have the air conditioner on for long periods of time. According to the University Of Maryland Medical Centre “Indoor air quality plays a major role in your respiratory health”. Keeping air conditioner filters clean and dust-free will help improve the indoor air quality and keep the home allergen-free.
- And lastly, stop keeping power equipment in always on mode, be it your geyser, computer, TV, microwave etc. Although ratings mention almost negligent power consumptions in standby mode. Even the small bits cumulatively add up and it all matters.