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Saturday, August 25, 2012

How green technologies like Geothermal-based AC systems, hot water systems & efficient lighting can help you save energy

In today's world, a 'green' investment on residential dwellings is no longer considered a luxury. Apart from yielding environmental benefits, homes that invest in green technologies save hard cash for homeowners and open up huge commercial opportunities for businesses.

A green home is defined as one that uses less energy by making efficient use of resources and materials without compromising on occupant comfort. This has been made possible by employing new non-conventional technologies, some of which are already in vogue in commercial establishments.

Homes use up a major portion of their energy supply in airconditioning, heating and lighting. For example, a typical upper middle class family shells out an electricity bill of Rs 7,000-8000 a month. But with the help of new non-conventional tech— namely, geothermal based airconditioning, hot water co-generation and energy-efficient lamps — the household can slash its energy bills by up to 80%.

Geothermal-based AC Systems

A traditional air-conditioner functions by absorbing heat from the room and expelling it into the environment. It uses more power when the outdoor temperature is high (say, 45-49 degrees centigrade) and less when the outdoor temperature is lower (for instance, in September or October).

This effect is put to use by new geothermal based air-conditioning systems to enhance efficiencies of traditional AC systems by more than 60%. The geothermalbased system makes use of the ground (or the soil) to generate cooling for the air-conditioning equipment throughout the year, thus saving energy required for operating ACs. In fact, a geothermal system can help cut your power bill by as much as 80%.

Hot water Systems

Geysers or boilers consume a large amount of electricity. Hot water co-generators that replace the energy-guzzling geysers have made it possible to slash energy consumption by over 80%. The cogen system works on the principle of 100% heat recovery. While geysers offer only 0.7-0.9 Kcal output for every 1 Kcal input, co-gen systems offer over 6-7 Kcal output for every 1 Kcal input. Operating costs with co-gen systems can drop by over 80%.

Efficient Lighting

The third category that consumes a sizable amount of power is lighting. Energy-guzzling lamps and even compact fluorescent lamps not only consume high power but also have shorter lifespan. Newer technologies such as LED, induction and cold cathode fluorescent lamps can replace halogen and incandescent lamps and CFLs, and save 50-90% energy. These new lamps have a lifespan of more than eight years and are free of hazardous elements such as lead or mercury vapor.

So if a 2,000-unit housing apartment complex adopts these three technologies, it can reduce power consumption by 17 million kWh units a year—enough to power three small villages. In money terms, this comes to around Rs 10 crore a year. For the environment, this means a reduction of 26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission, which is equivalent to planting 1.1 million trees.

Imagine the impact if every single apartment complex in the city implements a similar initiative. So it does make perfect sense for every homeowner to go green!
Source : The Economic Times, August 25, 2012

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