Four years back when I was moving back to India, I had one thing on my mind: will I get the comforts that I had in the US. After coming back we had to buy appliances for our home. Luckily for us, while buying, two kinds of thought processes were working with each other: one was mine, which wanted all the comforts and another was my wife’s, which was also concerned about energy. We came back in December 2008 and initially our electricity bills were between Rs 1800 – Rs 2500. But 2 years of sustained efforts in improving efficiency in the house has helped us reduce our electricity consumption, and for the first time this month we got an electricity bill which is less than Rs 1000. This prompted us to write our own case study and explain to people how we are doing ourselves.
To give a brief profile we have a 2 BHK with 4 members in the family (3 adults and one kid). We have
- Air conditioner in all 3 rooms. When we first bought AC in 2008, there were very few 3 star rated or above window ACs. In 2009, we could manage to find a Carrier AC with 3 stars. While there were many 5 Star rated ACs in split type, we were restricted to window type due to installation issues.
- A 350 lts Frost Free refrigerator (BEE 4 star rated in 2008)
- 2 storage water heaters (10lts and 6 lts). Both are not BEE star rated.
- A 32 inch HD LED TV with a HD DVR set top box
- A T5 tubelight in each room (including kitchen) along with a BEE 5 star rated ceiling fan in every room
- A top load 7kgs washing machine
- A chimney, microwave, OTG, mixed grinder, RO water purifier in the kitchen
- A Kinnect XBOX video game console, a DVD player and a music player in the living room, which are used occasionally.
- 2 laptops that are heavily used.
- One 8W small T5 tube in one bathroom and a 40W incandescent in another. And one exhaust fan in each bathroom.
Units Consumption in December
The units of electricity consumed, which used to hover between 250 and 350 (initially in 2009-10) have come down to 195-240 in 2011-2012. The last electricity bill we got had 195 units for this month. Now to compare apples to apples, this is how our December electricity bills have come:
Dec-09: 250 units
Dec-10: 296 units
Dec-11: 236 units
Dec-12: 195 units
December is a month when we do not use Air Conditioners, ceiling fans run at low speeds, refrigerator also consumes less and water heaters are being used for heating water. Based on our consumption here is how our 195 units add up:
How did we achieve efficiency?
Here are the few things that have contributed to increased efficiency:
- All ceiling fans are BEE 5 star rated ceiling fans that are rated at 50 watts in comparison to regular fans that are rated 75 watts. This saves 30% on electricity used by fans. As you can see fans are a big component in the electricity bill and thus 30% saving gives good saving.
- We switched from a 130 Watts 38 inch LCD TV to a 50 Watts 32 inch LED TV that saved us a good 80 Watts for 8 hours of TV viewing per day. Which is good 60-65% electricity saving on TV.
- We switch on our water heater before using and switch it off after using, which saves us a good amount of electricity on water heaters. Please note that the water heaters are not star rated and thus there is scope of some minor savings over there.
- We use T5 tubelights in all rooms that saves us good amount of electricity. Each T5 tubelight is 28 watts and is good enough for lighting all the rooms. Occasionally in the living room we use CFLs when some extra light is needed. Mostly it is just 1 T5 tubelight that is sufficient.
- Refrigerator is never stuffed and there is good space around it for air to flow.
- TV and HD DVR boxes are switched off when not in use. Thus they are on only for 5-8 hours a day.
- In one of the bathrooms we had 2 8 W CFLs which we replaced with 1 8 W small T5 tubelight which saved 50% on the lighting of the bathroom.
- Last and the most interesting thing that we have is our 3 star rated Air Conditioner. Our air conditioner has a “power saver” mode on which it runs for 10-15 mins in an hour and shuts of for the rest of the period. We keep it at 26 degrees with ceiling fan on. We have measured that throughout the night it consumes just about 1.5 units. And never during the night do we feel hot as the climate in Mumbai is more humid than hot, and the air conditioner removes the humidity.
Scope of improvement
Yes we do have scope for improvement. And we can bring it down further. Here are some ideas that we plan to implement:
- Remove the only 40 W incandescent bulb in our house with 8W small T5 tubelight.
- Switch the 3 Star AC with the 5 star rated one which is rarely used.
- Buy BEE 5 star rated water heaters when our existing water heaters need to be phased out.
- Switch to a BEE 5 star rated refrigerator when we phase out our existing refrigerator.
We hope that people find this article helpful. We will update it in case we are able to reduce it further.
About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. More from this author.