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Colour Matters

October 11, 2010

Colors; the one aspect of our lives that brings us much joy. The colors of the walls in our homes, offices and other spaces; the colors of our cars; the colors we like to dress in. It is through colors that we largely define our personalities and define our unique preferences. Consciously, or subconsciously, we drift towards our favorite sets of colors and use them wherever we can.

Colors are a great way to express our individuality. However, if we are a little mindful of colors and how they impact and interact with the environment we live in, we can make a significant impact on our energy consumption. Find that hard to believe? Well, it’s actually just common sense.

Among others, some of the darker colors include deep blues, dark reds and blacks. While these colors really nice, if used in very warm climates on walls, they attract and trap heat and absorb more light. You will, therefore, need more cooling power, more air conditioning, more lighting and therefore more electricity.

On the other hand, if you decide to have light pastel shades like cream, pale green, and such other shades on your walls; the amount of lights required will be much less. That’s because they reflect and amplify light. The same principal applies to lights’ colors as well. Regular yellow incandescent bulbs are warmer than white tube lights, or the newer LED & CFL lights. These new lights are cooler, use less energy and thus expenditure.

In case you have fancy lighting around your house, e.g. lamp shades, make sure they are transparent enough and of light colors to allow light through for efficient energy distribution. Another tip is to angle your light against a plain surface as this will allow greater distribution of light.

The choices are as endless as the possibilities. The key is to do one’s homework well!




August 27, 2010

India is a country with an alarming energy deficit. In fact, for a nation that is well on its path to becoming a world power; the energy infrastructure tells a contrary story altogether. In certain states, the deficit is as high as 25%. Needless to mention, most of the deficiency is passed on to rural areas & small towns; to prevent the bigger cities & urban population from suffering personally, as well as in business & industry usage

The irony here is plain to see. We’re still an agricultural economy. And that means it is imperative for our rural areas to enjoy full and regular energy; empowering the farmers across the length & breadth of the country, to carry out farming activities unabated. The result, the heart of India, rural India, suffers endlessly!

As aware, conscious, and sociologically sensitive citizens; it is our moral obligation to address this grave matter. There are a number of simple, everyday steps that we in the cities can adopt on a personal & professional level; that will ultimately alleviate the energy deficit across rural India

Its a straightforward conclusion; the less electricity we consume, more the chances of this residual reaching the hinterland. And the good news is, there are now several ways of consuming lesser energy than ever before. Luckily, as our energy needs are rising, so are new technologies that ensure minimal energy consumption. Take CFL or LED bulbs & lights for instance. If we were to replace all the lights in our homes & offices with CFL or LED fittings; our electricity bills can be halved! Longer lasting lights, but cleaner, less burning ones.

Similarly, if we used Solar Power to generate the Heating & Cooling in our homes; instead of it relying on traditional energy sources; we would again shift our dependence on energy to a natural, renewable source. Once again, the residual traditional power would have a good chance of reaching the rural belts. More & more, people are even installing a single dedicated home-wind mill; again, meeting their everyday energy needs through natural, non-polluting wind energy

That’s not all. Even smaller steps that do not entail any expenditure or adoption of new technology, can go a long way in reducing one’s energy consumption. A slew of things one takes for granted. For instance, run your air conditioner at a temperature of 24* Celsius for no longer than 8 hours a day; and it will significantly lower the energy consumption, yielding a monthly bill of approximately 1000 rupees. Likewise, being a little conscious by switching off lights, fans, and other electrical appliances when not in use, will most definitely bring down consumption.

Furthermore, buying products in the first place, with good energy efficiency ratings, will ensure that they run in a relatively clean & frugal manner, compared with other products in their respective categories.

And finally, relish the outdoors. Don’t be a couch potato glued to the TV! The more we are out and about, the lesser we’ll use our AC’s, Fans, Lights & Home Theatre Systems. Like many are now doing, have a day-out each week with your entire family. That one day every week where you go out for a picnic, play board games, take in the natural surroundings.

The copious consumption of energy by us urban dwellers is what has largely caused the deficit in the rural areas; and it is our responsibility to make amends. Why not start simple, it will really go a long way!


Think Before You Buy

August 18, 2010

The world, as we know it, is rapidly changing. There are tremendous advances taking place in almost every sphere. Science, technology and new modes of communication have transformed our way of life. In this modern, new age, super-fast way of being; there is a constant possibility of selling out to over-consumption. The downsides are environmental erosion, increase in pollution, and a growing dependency of depleting sources of energy!

With a little care and caution though, we can curtail not just the damage to our planet, but also the burden on our everyday expenditure. By adopting a few simple habits, we can ensure that we preserve the planet and reduce our individual carbon footprints. Though tough to begin with, we will eventually leave behind a clean and substantial set of resources for our children.

We need to start with thinking before we buy. Take solar powered products, for example. By employing solar power for certain functions such as the heating & cooling needs of our homes, we can significantly reduce our dependence on electricity. Today, solar technology is more affordable than ever. It is also more efficient than its ever been. Placing a part of one’s needs on solar power will generate lesser electricity consumption, will be cleaner and will reduce our monthly bills!

Similarly, the products that we buy for our homes & offices can be selected thoughtfully. By buying an incrementally more expensive CFL or LED light fitting (as against the traditional light bulbs), we can easily ensure that we use a greener, long-lasting, and energy efficient product. Likewise, if we’re a little conscious, even heavy-consumption products like refrigerators & air conditioners can be identified as energy efficient or not, by simply looking for the BEE rating of the product. Much like the ISI system, the BEE is a energy efficiency & consumption standard from the government of India, that tells you exactly how much, or how little power a given device will consume. If the product you buy has a good Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) rating, rest assured, it will use a lot less power than the competing products.

Our planet’s natural resources are depleting at an alarming rate. Add to that the pressures of global warming and the melting polar ice caps; the world is being stretched to its limit. Fortunately, we now have a bevy of products and services that we can use to arrest this problem. Even at a personal level, there are various steps we can take to lead healthier, cleaner & less polluting lives. Taking public transport rather than a personal vehicle, car pooling instead of driving alone and best of all, using alternate fuel or hybrid vehicles are some measures.

The onus is entirely on us. Having abused the planet for generations; it is now in our hands to control the damage. The upside is, while we can go green in our energy consumption habits, it will inadvertently help us save money in the long run too! So go green, and save green!


Clean Up Your Business

August 13, 2010

Ever so often, we lead two lives in one. Our personal and home-lives are totally different from our professional work lives. As the saying goes, it is unhealthy to mix business and pleasure. While this duality might be correct for the most part, there is one aspect where the two ought to meet. And that is in our efforts to go green and clean. If we are doing so at home on a small scale, we can now, just as easily, affect a green change at the work-place as well!

Thanks to Havells new range of Energy Saving Commercial Lighting Fixtures; we now have a real opportunity to be better Business Citizens too. With a large amount of investment in R&D, and a solid commitment to the cause of a Greener Environment, this new range of “Equilibro” and “Ivy Mirror Optics” lighting systems from Havells is telling proof of the company’s green philosophy. Now it is our turn to recognize these products and use them extensively.

Built to provide maximum light without being intrusive or high-power consuming, the Equilibro range is ideally suited to illuminate today’s modern and aesthetically pleasing open-plan interiors, executive offices, meeting rooms, stores and banks. Similarly, the Ivy Mirror Optics range of lighting fixtures incorporates cutting edge technical innovations such as iridescence free MIRO aluminium reflectors; polycarbonate louvre optics and parabolic aluminium cross louvre with batwing optics. All this wizardry sounds complex, but it essentially makes for low-electricity consuming but bright & clean burning lights, superb for very large spaces such as Airport Lounges and Large Departmental Stores.

The best part about the entire range of commercial lighting solutions is that unlike the one or two lights that we have in our homes; large spaces like factories, offices, shop floors and airports use hundreds, even thousands of lights. Therefore moving from traditional lights that burn and produce polluting substances & push up electricity bills; these new energy & environment friendly lights really make a large scale impact! Its like buying an electric car for personal use instead of one’s traditional gasoline burning vehicle. Sure, it will make a difference. But imagine an entire taxi fleet being replaced with zero emissions electric cars. The sheer numbers will make a much more significant difference, than the stand-alone personal vehicle would

The Havells green story goes even further. Both these lighting systems ranges are available with Dimmers. So not only do you begin with a green and energy-efficient lighting solution, you can optimize it even further by bringing down costs using the dimming options.

It is time to make a difference. We do it at home by using LED and CFL lamps. Now, even our businesses can be just as clean as our homes, and be lean and profitable all at the same time. It’s the Havells way, and it can just as easily be your way! So go out there and clean up your business.


To BEE or not to BEE…

August 7, 2010

Have you walked into an electronics store and wondered what the big bright yellow labels on most of the appliances are? Have your rising electricity bills been bothering you? Well, there is a direct connect between the two questions I have just asked. And that is the Bureau of Energy efficiency, constituted on March 1st, 2002 under the Electricity Conservation Act.
With the globe reeling under an energy crisis, it is up to every country to lead a change in its consumption patterns to save the earth. The Government of India is also taking certain steps and measures in the form of the bureau of Energy Efficiency.  As a part of its duties to spearhead electricity conservation and regulation, it launched the BEE labeling system. This system was launched by the in May 2006 to help consumers like us to understand the product we are buying. Till the introduction of this labeling, one had no idea how the appliance we were buying would effect our electricity consumption. Was our new AC or Fridge going to be an electricity guzzler? Thanks to the BEE labeling, we now know.
The dial like stickers, are labels that indicate the BEE Star Energy Efficiency. The appliances are tested for electricity consumption under standard conditions and are then given these standardized energy efficiency ratings. It is a Star Rating System that ranges from One Star to Five Stars. One star denotes the fact that the appliance is least energy efficiency and therefore saves the least electricity and money. On the other hand, a five star on the label, like on the Havells Energy Saving Fan, the 1st fan product in India to garner this rating; certifies the appliance to be most energy efficient, thus saving us the most money and electricity.
Currently it is in place for only a certain number of equipment and appliances. This list includes;

  • Frost Free Refrigerators
  • Tubular Fluorescent Lamps
  • Air Conditioners
  • Direct Cool Refrigerators
  • Distribution Transformers
  • Induction Motors
  • Pump Sets
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Electric Geysers
  • TV Sets

Armed with this knowledge, we are now not only aware consumers but aware citizens as well. BEE labeling has found favor with most manufacturers and it is now our duty as a consumer to encourage purchase of products that are energy efficient. After all, it is like killing two birds with one stone. Saving the earth and saving on electricity bills…


My CFL experiment…

June 8, 2010

Till a couple of years ago I thought it was a new product out in the market. A new fad. I never even gave it a second glance, because I saw no need to change! I am talking of Bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are so intrinsic in our lives that we can’t even fathom that there can be and that there is a better alternative. Let me tell you how I changed…

It all started as a very simple experiment. The electricity supply in my city is very erratic. Besides frequent power cut, the voltage isn’t too stable either. So when I was at the hardware store buying yet another batch of bulbs to stock up at home, a salesman suggested that I try out a CFL, since they have a longer lifespan. I was apprehensive at first, seeing that the CFL cost much more than the regular bulbs, but then I thought that buying one won’t really hurt my budget.

When I brought the bulb home, I put it in the most used area in the house…our kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the new CFL easily fit in my existing fixture. The light was even, warm and inviting. But soon after I had switched on the bulb, there was a power surge. Now in my experience, a regular bulb would surely have fused, but not this CFL. Over the next few days I noticed that the temperature in my kitchen was also reduced.

This not only shocked me but also made me curious. I just had to find out more… I researched and found out that by replacing that one incandescent bulb in my home, with the new CFL, I had saved half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb! This is done simply by saving electricity. Yes, that was the next realization. Switching to CFLs would not only help save the environment but also electricity and subsequently reduce my electricity bills!

I immediately went to the market and bought CFLs to replace the bulbs throughout my house. They are available in all wattage, warm and cool tones etc so they fit the requirements through my house. They were quite an investment but they turned out to be an investment with immense return.

My electricity bills reduced. I saved on having to regularly replace the bulbs in my house. I did not have to make frequent trips to the hardware store to stock up on regular bulbs. There is less heat generated in my house now. And most importantly, I am doing my bit to save the environment. I suggest that everyone switches to CFLs to see the difference…


Saving History with the Future

June 4, 2010

Change is always difficult. We find comfort in constancy. But when our habits and our way of life is causing permanent damage to its future, then there is no choice but to wake up and take charge. I am talking about the need for us to be more energy efficient; to save and sustain our way of life, and it certainly isn’t easier said than done…

Take the example of the city of Mechelen in Belgium. The question looming large over its city counsel was to find a lighting designer who would solve their existing problems of excessive wiring and high maintenance costs. And the answer came in the form of an architect from Bruges. His solutions were simple, cost effective, and sustainable. And to top it all off, it would cause no damage to these ancient buildings.

All old lighting fixtures were removed since they had a short lifetime, lit insufficiently and were damaged easily by moisture. These were replaced with specially designed LED lights. These were used in ambience lighting, spot-lighting and flood-lighting as well. A wireless system was used to switch on and switch off these lights, as and when visitors entered and exited the rooms.

The benefits of this new age technology to light such buildings are manifold;

  1. The light can be controlled and this leads to the prevention of light pollution.
  2. The energy saving in such a set up is immense. LEDs are known to use substantially lesser energy than any other conventional lighting source.
  3. Maintenance is minimal, so there is also reduced wear and tear to the buildings.
  4. They don’t emit UV or IR rays and are therefore healthier for the environment and the priceless objects they are lighting.
  5. They save costs. The life expectancy of a LED bulb is 50 times more than that of an incandescent bulb!

These efforts are a part of a growing revolution. A revolution that should cause us to widen our horizons and consider the fact that every small effort of ours will be a step towards saving Earth.