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Energy efficiency is the new source of energy

The whole world may be looking to find the next best source of energy, so we can reduce the dependence on fossil fuel, and generate environment-friendly energy. But do you know that one of the largest sources of energy may just be energy efficiency?

Source: Danfoss

India, at present, is the fourth largest consumer of energy in the world. The energy requirement will only grow in the coming years and it is projected that India will become the 3rd largest energy consumer by 2020, after the US and China, and will double its demand by 2030. In the face of its growing energy constraints, the country needs to use its energy as efficiently as possible. A developing country like India needs energy efficiency as a key to meeting energy demands in future.

With the passing of the Energy Conservation Act and the constitution of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the energy efficiency movement is gathering steam in the country. This is particularly important since the expected rapid economic growth will lead to increased power demand and higher installations of electricity-based appliances, especially for household and industrial equipment. Each kW saved at the end-use side is equivalent to almost 1.8 kW saved on the generation side. It is estimated that the deployment of energy efficient lighting, more efficient refrigerators in households, and more efficient motors in industry could save as much as 10% of the power generation.

Residential & Commercial Buildings, Industries, and Civic Infrastructure account for most of the electricity consumption. We'll cover how each of these sectors can help save (and in a way generate) energy through energy efficiency measures, in a two-part blog series.

Buildings Sector

The buildings sector is responsible for one third of India's total electricity consumption. Electricity consumption in the commercial building space has been growing rapidly at 11-12% annually, while that in the residential building sector is growing by 9.76% annually. In such a scenario, it is imperative to invest in energy efficient building construction and avoid the long term effect of inefficient, high energy consuming building structures.

Zero Energy Buildings

Net-zero energy buildings (NZEB) are the buildings that produce as much energy as they consume over a defined period offers the potential to substantially decrease building energy use and enable buildings to become energy self-sufficient. Achieving the vision of net-zero energy buildings requires the pursuit of multiple strategies, including development of new, cost-effective technologies and practices, revision of building codes, integration of renewable energy into building designs, and adoption of innovative strategies for using energy and resources within the building community.

Source: Danfoss

District Cooling Systems

District cooling system is an energy-efficient air-conditioning system as it takes full advantage of economy of scale, diversity in cooling demand for different buildings, and high standard of plant operation and maintenance. Typically, a district cooling system consumes 35% less electricity as compared with traditional air-cooled air-conditioning systems and 20% less electricity as compared individual water-cooled air-conditioning systems using cooling towers.

Lighting

Lighting accounts for 15% of total energy consumed in India and forms a major component of the peak load. The commercial sector lighting demand contributes 25-40% of the building energy requirement. Lighting technologies, including Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and high efficiency lighting systems can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Building Energy Management Systems

Building Management System (BMS) is a centrally administered electronic system that monitors and controls energy use. The system incorporates sensors, information management and communication networks to enable optimal use of a buildings' energy systems like lighting, electrical systems, chillers, cooling towers, chilling water pumps, condenser water pumps, fan coil units, plumbing systems, water management systems, exhaust systems, fire and security systems and power backup systems. BMS ensures energy conservation and optimisation across buildings.

We'll see how Industries and Civic Infrastructure can contribute to energy efficiency in the next part of this blog.

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