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Going Green and Saving Green

Manager - Energy Management

Eng. Sujeewa Fernando

Manager - Energy Management

Access Energy Solutions

 

Electricity bills can empty out your wallet (P1)

Owing to rising living costs, you’re probably looking for ways to have something left to save at the end of the month. Cutting costs is always hard and if you’re the one paying the electricity bills at home this challenge is exponentially harder. Being able to reduce this monthly expense would be helpful. However where do you even start?

The main causes for high electricity bills are;

1. Air conditioners

2. Lights

3. Water heaters

For each of these loads there are new products that help consumers save on their monthly electricity consumption. In this article we explore if they are worth the cost to upgrade to them.

 
 
Air condition and remote

For maximum energy savings set the temperature above 23 deg°c (1) (P2)

Inverter Air conditioners

A standard AC takes between 45-60 min to cool a room to the desired temperature. After which the AC will alternate itself on and off every 10-15 minutes. Inverter type ACs will take the same time to cool a room. But thereafter the AC will operate at a 30% output to maintain it. Which is about a 40% energy saving over a 6-8 hr window of operation. If your ACs are used for long periods daily, you could be save between Rs. 7,000-9,000 per month, per AC. This means that you can recover the initial cost of upgrading your aircon within the first two years from only the savings in your electricity bill.

Make sure that your AC is sized correctly to ensure maximum energy savings and reduced maintenance costs, as overtaxing the compressor unit of the AC significantly increases its wear and tear over time.

 
 
LED with Heat Sink

Look for a LED lamp with a good heatsink (P3)

Lighting

You can expect a 50-70% savings in lighting costs when using LEDs over cfl bulbs and tube lights. If you are still using incandescent bulbs this saving will be 90% or more. Which means that if a bulb is on for more than 5 hours a day, you will save the cost of the bulb, in electricity expenses, within its first year of use. This is great as LEDs have a lifespan of 3-5 years. They can also be found in warm colours, and some models even allow you to even switch between colours, helping you set the mood at home.

However, as these bulbs are usually expensive, make sure the product you’re buying is durable. And either from a reputed brand or a with a good heat sink made of metal or ceramic.

Make sure that the absorber panels and tank are sized correctly (P4 )

Solar Thermal Water Heaters

Instead of using electric water heaters, homeowners can install solar thermal panels with a storage tank. A 300L Unit should be able to provide you with ~60 minutes of hot water for showering (at about 45 deg Celsius) over the month, with normal shower heads. This translates to a saving of Rs. 6000 per month and results in a payback period of around 3 ½ years on your initial investment. To further save on your solar water heater make sure you upgrade your shower heads. A standard shower head uses about 15 to 25 litres of water per minute while a more efficient one uses between 7 - 14 litres per minute. It is best to first improve the water efficiency of your shower heads if needed before installing a solar water heater to save on your initial investment.

   

References

Citations

1. Kite Air Conditioning. (2017). tips for running your air conditioner for less

Images

P1. Inside Access 

P2. Source Unknown

P3. Source Unknown

P4. Image courtesy Solar


 

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Inside Access is a local initiative powered by Access to curate and promote information with the aim of facilitating more informed conversations. The initiative works together with local organizations, private and public to create a resource of knowledge that will be beneficial to the development of individuals, business and in due course, Sri Lanka.