"We forget just how painfully dim the world was before electricity. A candle, a good candle, provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100 watt light bulb."
Says author of many best-selling books, Mr. Bill Bryson. His insightful words can be considered no less than a fact.
Since its discovery, electricity has illuminated our lives in a way one cannot imagine. But in the present times of scarcity of resources, the careless abuse of electricity is hurting us the most. When it comes to people's own resources, they do care a bit. But when it's about the common masses, they take it lightly and rarely try to save it. Although being one of the prestigious technical institutes of the world, IIT Kharagpur should have been showing the way as torch bearer to the common people but in reality we are no different than anyone else. Let's have a look and analyse the consumption trend of electricity in the campus.
The real problem lies in our casual behaviour; by "our", we don't only mean the students, it's also the mess workers, the staffs, and the faculty. The infinitesimal ignorance of the thousands of residents compounds up to a major problem. It's not we who are talking, It's the data of the past electricity expenses which indicate a completely different story regarding the scenario. First, let's have a look at the past data on electricity bills.
Shocking, isn't it? That's a lot of money far beyond our imagination. Now let's have a look at which month is more friendly for Kgp when it comes down to paying a share of the total electricity bill.
The month of August and September welcomes the freshers and their enthusiasm can be easily reflected in the sudden spike in the electricity consumption.
Wandering about the share of electricity that has been used by the halls, the guest houses and the staff quarters? The below three graphs show the consumption respectively.
This ignorance isn't only limited to the halls, it's also there in the guest houses and the staff quarters. The concern is even more there as the wastage in TVs and ACs adds more than that by fans and lights.
The improvement of electrical efficiency may prove to be one of the most cost-effective ways to concurrently improve the security of electrical supply, to assure affordable energy prices, and to improve economic competitiveness. Although the consumption and the awareness are just going in opposite direction in the present scenario, but there have been mitigation measures taken by the authority and the students itself.
Future is Bright
IIT Kharagpur Start-up, Alive Home, offering Smart Energy Management System:
The Home Automation startup Alive Home is currently working on providing options for optimal electricity consumption. Once the system is completed, it will connect all appliances of a house and if one has internet connectivity, and will help in automated optimization of the uses of appliances and the best part is that the effective cost will be one tenth of other alternates available in the market.
One hostel (Meghnad Saha Hall- two blocks) has been approved for installation of Smart Switch Modules under this project. Approval has also been given a floor in the Nalanda Academic Complex wherein a Wireless MCB Controller will be installed. Wireless AC Controllers in the offices and quarters will also be installed.
A user can access all automated appliances using the smartphone app or web application and control all appliances.This will give access to real time data of energy being used by the appliances.
The cost of installation of the Smart Switch Modules for a 2BHK apartment will be available at a flat price of Rs 50,000 against the current market price of about Rs five lakh.
During a night out before exams, when you go out of the Maggu room, just for a walk, the dark ways suddenly lights up with a sound in that pin drop silence. You get frightened for a while but soon you realise that Kgp is changing and our campus is becoming smarter. The installed sensors regulate the lights of the corridor according to the presence of the humans around. One can imagine the amount of energy savings it is helping us to achieve. We can hope to see this things working everywhere in the campus in near future. These measures give us hope, hope for a brighter future.
It's a brighter LLR
The panels on the rooftop of LLR hall attracts both, sunlight as well as our attention. The first hall to get solar panels on the top of it. The plan is to expand this project and to install it in other halls as well.
Taking Different Measures
1. Surprise Visit
A vigilant committee can be formed to bring the attention of students/staffs towards misuse of electricity, which may consist of 3-4 members of officials. Committee will be giving surprise visits in every hall/residents on a random basis and without any notice and will fine the students misusing the electricity in any possible ways. The fans and the bulbs could be easily seen switched on in different places even in absence of the human beings there. This step of monetary punishment will arise a sense of consciousness in the students and it may lead to a better awareness system throughout the campus. This will encourage students to switch off the lights and fans.
2. Removing the old fellows
Almost every hall and departments are using the old CFLs, rather than this, we can employ new alternatives with lesser power usage. There's no harm in replacing the old fellows in market with the new and efficient ones. CFLs can be replaced with LEDs. LEDs use less power per unit of light generated (lumens). Also, LEDs have more lifespan than CFLs. LEDs- 50,000 hours , CFLs- 8,000 hours.
The differences in the requirements could easily be seen from the table below. We can conclude that lesser number of LEDs than CFLs are required for producing same luminous intensity.
Although LEDs are costlier but according to a data, due to its large savings, the cost of LEDs can be recovered within 6 months.
3. The Solar Panel
It's like a one-time investment. Once they are established, within few months their cost can be recovered and can lighten your rooms for long. LLR hall has already been using this method and the need is to expand it in other halls as well.
We don't know how much fruitful it'll turn out, but surely the "Junta" is not in a jolly mode right now.
“With greater Power, comes greater electricity bill.”
It doesn’t take much to switch off the fans and lights before leaving your rooms. So just for the sake of humanity, before leaving your room, make sure there aren’t any light brighting the dark room. One can imagine the amount of energy savings it could help us to achieve. We know that alone IIT Kgp can not suffice the needs of the hour, but think of the plights of 19706 villages of India which are unelectrified yet, as of the data released in 2015. If saving even an ounce of energy can help them, why not do it with full force. Leave those far situated villages, let's just think of the nearby village. The separation of the campus boundary really separates our world to the outer world, in every sense. Watch them at night and you will find the differences.
We'd have to take small steps, and only this step by step process will lead us to the desired result. If we could make a difference in life of even one family, it would be far more satisfying.