Green: It’s My New Obsession!

A couple of weeks back we celebrated World Environment Day (Did you?). Was I aware? No! Volunteers from a NGO were distributing pamphlets at the gate, to create awareness among people like me. I’m definitely ashamed of the negligence but at the same time I am, like others, concerned too.

So what are we doing?
To keep it short, we’re screwing up big time! A citified person adds about 7000 Kg of CO2 each year on account of electric consumption (direct & through services) and transportation. With this and the fact that we’re husking quondam forests, my friend Rohit points out that it will take the entire life-time of 15 trees YoY to eat that away. Look how much we’ve disappointed the rain Gods: today is June 19th and we’ve only seen the first shower. It has rained off-hand all through last year and there have been floods in areas forever damned by droughts. And a few habits we imbibed as part of modernization & sophistication: air-conditioning kitchens, heating up yoga rooms, leave hankies back home to use hygienic paper tissues at work and printing paper we will never use.

World – Hold On! (I love the trance version of this Bob Sinclair track)
You will agree that we have gone berserk with our resource consumption; either we stop or face the heat (we already are). At most times we cast-off all responsibility and relegate it to the administration. That includes me too: I think that the state should control the number of vehicles on the street by issuing permits through lottery. But then how do I commute? Is the public transport infrastructure mature to handle this model that small countries like Singapore use? No. I feel that budget cars should never hit the roads? (I’m saying that despite of not being able to afford a moped in my salary) So only off-springs of the gentry get to ride fast cars? And where is science heading if 100 years of automobile research has not made it affordable technology? (Ironically, only a couple of years have done enough for that industry to go belly-up) There are several socio-economic & political constraints for the government to check on further impairment. It’s time we start bothering about it – either contain the expenditure or do something to counters the fallout.

Korbo, lorbo, jeetbo re!
There’s really a lot that we could be doing – in our own small way – and without any special efforts. Here are a few tips, some original and others from that pamphlet I received at the gate (which is likely to change our fate) {rhymes right?}

When Indoors:

  • We’ve been taught to put off equipment when not in use since we were kids, but do we? At the same time, don’t go crazy (like my brother) and put-off every button that matches your sight – changing states too, can often, damage equipment (leading to greater use of resources) and also add some fixed start-up load
  • Try CFL bulbs: aapka apna savings account! (en-US: Your own savings account) The savings more than off-set the initial investment – you could almost have two running at the cost of one
  • Courtesy:
    Dual-option Flush tank
  • Install toilet flush tanks with half & full flush options; Sounds funny? Imagine saving over 3 liters per piss!
  • Another way you can save some coal or electricity is by leaving folded clothes (atleast pants, jeans) underneath your mattress and have them pressed under your own weight
  • Set your ACs at a comfortable temperature, only a couple of degrees high could mean massive saving. I’m personally comfortable at 25; 26 in case the louvers are directed at me
  • Spend a little more on energy efficient equipment, you’re sure to win back on this. The first thing I learned as a mechanical engineer (Hope you’re aware of my qualification) was that not all heat can be converted to electricity, and more heat (thermal losses actually) than you thought will be generated in the reverse.
  • Make optimal use your geysers, ovens, and other heating equipment (Try a CNG geyser, it saved us a lot) Do not overuse the heating function of your washing machine; you could at least turn on the machine around noon to get pre-heated water from your roof-top tank (also see Solar Equipment)

When outdoors:

  • Freaks go a step ahead using Blackle, but shutting-down your PC daily alone could mean a lot of savings. Don’t be careless just because you don’t realize the savings, you never know when the company starts passing the benefit to you (Sweet dreams!). For ye CIOs, Green IT is the thing of the day: consider blades, virtualization, optimal air-conditioning, efficient processors, moving servers to colder regions, etc
  • In case you are still dependent on paper napkins in the washrooms, its time you started carrying your own hand-kerchief. Most IT companies are already helping us with this (see Cost-cutting), but you sure could save a lot of trees that way
  • Save paper cups by using your own mug; It works more like a personality statement, helps create awareness and compels (competing) colleagues to ape 🙂
  • Avoid prints wherever possible: useless email, bills & statements end up in the trashcan soon than you thought. Recycle papers used on one side, like we do as part of L&T CSI Cell’s Project Sankalp, which is all about that!
  • Prefer smaller cars with common rail diesel engines, use gears wisely, pump up your tires, clean your air filters, and renew spark plugs. Try parking in shade and using (legitimate) films to reduce air-conditioning loads. Please ensure your cars are not washed with running water – it’s easy, but comes with a price
  • Drive less, Drive smooth and Drive light – doesn’t mean you drop-off your portly/stout partner at the bus station (By the way, men are portly and women are stout)
  • Keep doors between air-conditioned and open areas closed at all times. Vanishing blinds, especially on west-facing windows, along air doors or curtains, optimal lighting and power-efficient equipment will greatly improve cooling.

This post is now open to all of you for sharing innovative, eco-friendly thoughts or ‘green ideas’. I shall keep adding as I contrive new ideas. By the way, while at college I studied Renewable Energy as an elective subject and was involved with PCRA. Some food for thought here 😉