Energy is the foundation of economic development of any country. India too, in its march towards the forefront, is a significant consumer of energy, ranging from industries to agriculture, transport to households. Thus, there is an increased dependence on the need for natural resources of energy like fossil fuels and natural gas. This is leading to a severe depletion of the energy resources, and there is a need for the public to be aware of the importance of conservation of energy because these are not renewable resources. If not used intelligently, the resources will become extinct soon. Apart from the depletion of the natural resources of energy, increased consumption is also resulting in pollution of the environment.
Energy conservation means the reduction of consumption of energy, obtained by way of using lesser energy services. This results in benefits like a better and greener environment, national security, and higher individual savings. It prevents future energy resource depletion and is at the top of the sustainable hierarchy.
Keeping in mind the importance of conservation of energy, the Government of India passed the Energy Conservation Act in the year 2001. This Act aims at employing professional managers of energy so that it can be used efficiently with optimum results. India celebrates Energy Conservation Day on 14 December every year.
Need for alternative, renewable sources of energy
Renewable energy is a clean energy resource. It has a lesser impact on the health of the environment. It is generally defined as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. With the advancement of technology, these energy resources can be tapped to the optimum level, through different modern types of equipment including biogas plants, solar water heaters, solar cookers, street lights, pumps, wind-electric generators, water-pumping windmills, biomass gasifiers and small hydro-electric generators.
It is common knowledge that fossil fuels are drawn from finite sources. They cannot be replenished. However, tapping the renewable energy resources will help a nation protect these limited resources, with the added advantage of the reduction in production costs and overall advancement of the country and improved environmental conditions.
At present, renewable energy resources are contributing to only 9% of the total consumption in India.
Citizens can also participate
Yes, the Government of India holds a significant responsibility towards the conservation of energy; however, we the citizens of India are also very much obliged to help the Government succeed in its mission. It is said that little drops of water make a mighty ocean. And thus, every citizen can contribute, no matter small, towards the conservation of energy.
Apart from switching off unnecessary lights and fans and saving water, there are many more ways and means by which we can save energy. Some of them are:
- Carpool helps in the reduction of fossil fuel consumption, and one leaves lesser carbon footprints.
- Replacing Desktops with Laptops helps because the latter uses half the energy.
- Washing clothes with normal room temperature water will help save 90% more energy individually.
- Using unused ice cubes to water plants will help save water and thus, the energy that is required to generate water.
- Clean the condenser coils of the refrigerator every year, as dirty coils consume more energy.
- Those using electric stoves can switch off a couple of minutes earlier as the hot burner is enough to help finish the cooking. Collectively, the two mins of saved energy will amount to a lot.
- Leaving the computer even on Sleep Mode is a waste of energy. So when not in use, learn to switch off the computer.
- Watering of plants before sunrise and after sunset will avoid unnecessary evaporation, thus saving water and in the process the energy required to generate it.
- One can use the advancement of Information and Technology in the day to day activities to save electricity by using sensors which detect the absence of human presence and switch off lights.
- Sensors can be used even for street lights so that, when there is no vehicle on the road, the street lights dim themselves, thereby reducing the consumption of energy.
- Housing complexes can opt for solar-powered lights to keep their parks and paths lit.
The ways and means to save energy are innumerable. All that we need is the knowledge as to what would happen if we do not do the needful, and the will to be a responsible citizen and contribute towards conservation of energy.
Someone has indeed said, ‘Waste not the smallest things created, for grains of sand make mountains and atomies infinity.’ Every citizen of India must save energy. After all, we want to leave our children a bright future, not a dark one. Former president Pranab Mukherjee has said, “Energy conservation implies the substitution of costly imported energy by cheap energy. This will help in reducing our foreign exchange outgo. Energy security has become synonymous with national security.”
Nature provides for every man’s needs, but not enough for anyone’s greed. Let us all pledge our support towards the conservation of energy. Life itself is a form of energy; if we do not want to waste away life, then how can we waste energy. Let us help India forge ahead with a healthy environment as well as sustainable natural resources.