A discussion on the conservation of energy by household

A discussion on the conservation of energy by household

Introduction

Energy usage has increased over the recent years. This has mainly been due to increased industrialization that has increased the demand for energy.  Governments are increasingly finding it difficult to meet the energy needs of the growing population. Also the environment is finding itself in the wrong end as unsustainable practices lead to wastages and have negative impacts on the environment. It is therefore, important for individuals to understand their roles in proper energy use to avoid wastages. This is critical as it would also lead to reduction in the spending in the energy and contribute to the environmental management efforts.

Energy conservation is increasing becoming a central interest both for government, corporate and individual citizens due to the renewed awareness and need for conservation (Chiras, 2006). Apart from conservational benefits, energy conservation in households could lead to lower costs in maintenance, lower energy costs and better quality of homes.  This process has to be holistic starting from the design element of the house to the furnishing and the appliances that use energy in that particular house and how they are actively managed on a day to day basis. There has been a considerable number of academic and scientific research on methods of reducing carbon footprint in household and this study seeks to apply such knowledge in a small household scenario.

This particular essay will briefly look at the energy consumption in an ordinary household and examine the methods and strategies that could be employed to improve energy use. This is a simple illustration of how energy is used in a household and the impact energy saving efforts can have on one household and later on the translated to thousands of homes across the country and the globe.

 

  1. Energy Calculation of Appliances

Energy is calculated using watts = voltage x amperes. The billing for energy costs is usually in kWh kilowatt hours.

Table 1: Energy calibration of various electrical gadgets

  Voltage Amps watts
a.       Laptop[1] 240 0.2 48
b.      Fridge 240 5 1200
c.       Microwave 240 5 1200
d.      Toaster/Sandwich maker 240 5 1200
e.       Games console 240 0.25 60
f.       Lamp 240 0.5 120
g.      Television 12 16.25 195
h.      Kettle[2] 240 4.5 1080

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Five Day Consumption

Table 2: Energy consumption over 5 days in Kilowatt hours for various electrical gadgets

  Daily Usage(hour)

A

Watts

B

kWh

AxBx5

a.       Laptop 10 48 2.4
b.      Fridge 24 1200 144
c.       Microwave 1 1200 6
d.      Toaster/Sandwich maker 0.5 1200 3
e.       Games console 4 60 1.2
f.       Lamp 12 120 7.2
g.      Television 8 195 7.8
h.      Kettle 2 1080 10.8

 

Graph 3: distribution of energy use over the five days

The table above gives the amount of energy used by the various gadgets over a period of five days in kilowatt hour. This is very useful for comparison so as to form a beginning point for the energy evaluation. From the graph it can be noted that the largest consumer of electricity in the household was the refrigerator. The second largest consumer was the kettle followed by the television. This is similar to previous surveys that have been conducted by various energy bodies that show that the fridge is a big consumer of electricity. With this information, designers of fridges have put in place various designs and models that work to ensure that they minimize energy consumption and still achieve optimal performance in refrigeration functions.  The electronics such as the games console and the laptops use relatively low amounts of energy due to their nature and applications. Also innovation in the electronics sector has seen development of more efficient gadgets by all major players in the industry.

  1. Analysis in the difference between the consumption of different electrical gadgets

The various gadgets have different wattage due to the fact that they require different amounts of energy to perform their function. For instance, the fridge requires a lot of power so as to perform its cooling functions. It takes up a lot of power due to the fact that it is operational 24 hours a day for most cases. The other heating elements like the kettle equally consume more power since they have to begin from zero every time they are switched on. Since heat cannot be stored, there is a lot of energy that is needed to power the heating element.

4.0 Strategies for energy conservation

4.1 Making the refrigerator more efficient

Typically the refrigerator is the second largest consumer of electricity accounting for some 13.7%, second to the air conditioner at 14.1%. Energy saving in electrical appliances can be obtained by using the appliances less times. However, it is very difficult to do the same with the refrigerator. The most effective way of saving energy and money is to use the most efficient models. It can be noted that most manufacturers have developed advanced and more efficient fridges that can cut as much as 75% of the overall energy usage of the appliance. For instance the older 1986 18 c.f. models used 1400kWh annually while most modern energy efficient models would only consume 350kWh annually (Department of Energy).

4.2 Purchasing Energy Star-rated appliances

The Energy star standards basically provide the yardstick for efficient power usage for electrical and electronic appliances. It enables the consumers to compare the power usages when making the purchases. Despite the fact that highly efficient energy star appliances would be typically be more costly, the reduced power costs soon defray the initial cost of investment (EnergyStar, 2014). Using this approach, the home could do an energy audit to ensure that only the most efficient appliances such as microwaves, kettles, televisions and lamps are purchased for home use (Department Of Energy, Mines And Resources (Canada). (1979)..

4.3 Using LED light bulbs in the lamps

As a way of reducing energy costs of lighting, the more efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) should be installed. This is because they last longer and uses less energy, durable, are eco friendly and light up instantly. Furthermore they can be light up instantly and switched off frequently without affecting the durability of the lamps (Hassell et al., 2003).

4.4 Turning off lights when not in use

The other very obvious way of saving energy costs is turning off lights when not in use. This is because when lights remain on even when not in use, the cost the owner valuable dollars both in terms of energy used and reduction in the life of the bulbs (Stern, 1985).

4.5 Reducing Consumption

This is one of the strategies that can be actively employed to save energy related costs. This is possible by some simple methods such as reusing heated water to avoid excess heating costs. This can be achieved by ensuring that heated water is stored in thermoflask to prevent cooling and hence necessitating the need for further heating. Another method that could be employed is reducing the calibration of thermostats in iron boxes or air conditioner by a degree could lead to huge savings in the overall energy bill over long periods of time.

4.6 Using dry irons

Dry irons use less energy as compared to the steam iron since they require an extra element to heat the water for steam production. To save energy, the household could aim to iron clothes at one big instance and also use dry irons as opposed to the steam irons.  Frequent ironing process uses more energy and may lead to wastages when the iron has to be reheated to the required temperature for pressing.

5.0 Conclusion

There is need for energy to be conserved so that environmental degradation is minimized. Energy conservation can best be done at household levels since over the last couple of year, urban households have increased globally and this has lead to a need for more energy. The world is mainly dependant of fossil fuels and if they are not utilized wisely, it might lead to shortages that would affect the economy negatively.

There are practical strategies that can be applied in a small household in order to achieve energy savings. These strategies if applied on a large scale would lead to massive savings which would improve the well being of our environment as well and reductions in actual spending on energy and these could be put into other investments.

 

References

CHIRAS, D. D. (2006). The homeowner’s guide to renewable energy achieving energy     independence solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower. Gabriola, B.C., New Society       Publishers.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2014, from             http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, MINES AND RESOURCES (CANADA). (1979). 100 ways to             save energy and money in the home: tips on how you can stretch Canada’s energy          resources and put money in your pocket. Ottawa, Office of Energy Conservation, Dept.         of Energy, Mines and Resources

ENERGYSTAR (2014). Retrieved June 28, 2014, from http://www.energystar.gov/

GEORGIA POWER (2014) Retrieved June 28, 2014, from http://www.georgiapower.com/in-your-            community/electric-safety/chart.cshtml

HASSELL, S., WONG, A., HOUSER, A., KNOPMAN, D., & BERNSTEIN, M. (2003).           Building Better Homes Government Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing.           Santa Monica, RAND. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=202790.

STERN, P. C. (1985). Energy efficiency in buildings: behavioral issues. Washington, D.C.,            National  Academy Press.

HITTMAN ASSOCIATES. (1975). Technology assessment of residential energy conservation      innovations:     final report. Washington, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development,         Office of Policy Development and Research.

[1]  https://secure.www.upenn.edu/computing/resources/category/hardware/article/computer-power-usage

[2]http://www.georgiapower.com/in-your-community/electric-safety/chart.cshtml