5 Cool Gadgets to make your Home Greener!

toto glass toilet

1) Toto Washlet Toilet

Who would have thought that a toilet could contribute this significantly to environment conservation! From manufacturing, to distribution and use, it conserves biodiversity, lowers carbon dioxide emissions and water usage and promotes waste recycling. One of the most intriguing parts of this toilet is a warm water faucet with pulsing and oscillating modes. Other features include a heated seat, automatic flushing, an energy saving timer, and a water saving dual flush system.


2) Droplet Sprinklers

Water sprinkler systems for the garden are known to waste a large amount of water! The droplet sprinkler is one of a few solutions that’s helping cut that wastage significantly, and also saving energy by combining robotics, with cloud services. It is known to reduce a garden’s water consumption by as much as ninety percent per year. All one needs to do is to attach it to the water supply, set it up using your smartphone, and then configure the device on the Droplet website to tell the system about the plants you have. Their vast data network takes over and tells the sprinkler when, where and how much water to sprinkle.


3) Ecoisme

Ecoisme is a single sensor, intelligent home energy monitoring system that tracks the energy consumption of all devices in your house. It then gives you recommendations on reducing energy usage. What’s fascinating is that it claims to be able to alert you about things like forgetting to close your fridge door, or leaving the iron on. Ecoisme was crowd funded through Indiegogo and is currently under development. I’m sure its being eagerly awaited!


4) Nest Smart Thermostat System

The Nest is one device you’ve probably heard or read about at some point. Typical thermostats are built within devices like air conditioners, and require you to manually program them to adjust the temperature each time. They, however, cannot sense people around. The Nest uses sensors and algorithms to understand who and how many people have entered or exited the house, and automatically adjusts the settings for you. So you’re no longer left worrying about whether you’ve turned off the AC or heating when you leave the house. Thus saving you money while offering plenty of convenience.

water pebble

5) Water Pebble

The pebble is a little stone that you place in your shower, and it helps you reduce your shower water consumption. It starts by baselining the amount of water you are using, and then day-by-day helps you bring down the usage by training you to use less water. It can bring you down to one third of your normal usage, thereby saving a fair bit in time.

While most Indian homes are probably not ready for all these devices just yet, we hope you enjoy reading about some of these cutting edge consumer products in the energy space. We can only hope that some of them hit our markets soon.

How to Reduce Your Electricity Bill by 25%

With all the hullabaloo about Green Tech and Energy Conservation, carbon footprints, and all the smart and geeky sounding jargon, we decided to take some baby steps and speak to Arjun Gupta, about how he helps conserve energy in commercial buildings. What came out, were a bunch of interesting data points, insights and tips.
What Made you Start Smart Joules? 
Arjun: Quite Simple. The fact that we end up wasting at least 25% of energy consumed because of inefficiencies, saving which, would not only make energy available to those who need it most, but also save money for building owners and eliminate the need for constructing additional power plants.
So How Do You Actually Help Save Energy? What, in Layman Terms, Do You Do? 
Arjun: Smart Joules took birth with the realization that most companies prioritize running their systems at any cost, rather than optimizing their energy consumption to maintain the desired service levels. Even if companies know how to save energy, they typically lack the financial and/or human resources to be able to implement energy saving measures. That’s where Smart Joules comes in. We offer 360 degree solutions when it comes to saving energy. From evaluating energy requirement vis-a-vis consumption, to monitoring wastage, to evaluating the areas where wastage could be reduced, and installing our perceptive energy optimization systems, to financing the project, we do it all.
How Much Do Companies End Up Saving, Month on Month?
Arjun: Well, they end up saving minimum 15% and 25% on an average. For our customers, that means Rs 10,000 or more every day. Smart Joules charges a fixed percentage of the savings for a fixed period of time, typically five years.
How Does India fare, Basis International Standards of Energy Consumption?
Arjun: If you look at the Energy Performance Index of commercial buildings, India stands at250-300 kWh/sqm/yr, where as the international standard is around 150 kWh/sqm/yr.
So we are lagging far behind. 
Arjun: Yes.
Do you have any simple tips on how we could catch up? 
Arjun: Of course. Not going into the basics, using LED Lights etc…The first place to look is blocking air and water leakages, improving operations and following proper maintenance procedures. Keeping an explicit building energy manager within the maintenance team will go a long way, and will more than pay for the position. Low cost solutions such as painting the roof-tops white, or using reflective paint on the exteriors, helps in reducing air conditioning load. Importantly, using less Glass, in a country like India, helps remarkably. Glass wall exteriors end up creating a Green House effect, dramatically increasing the Air Conditioning costs.
In fact, Super Efficient Buildings can cut electricity costs by more than half.

Planning to Go Solar? Get Your Questions Answered Here

Solar Energy is one of those amazing solutions to a perennial and growing problem, and even though many of us want to adopt it, the dearth of information and relatively high installation costs kill the urge in the crib.

Our chat with Kanika Khanna, broke a lot of misconceptions regarding harnessing and suing Solar Energy. To give you a little background, Kanika has done her Bachelors in engineering from Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), and her masters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and has worked with Cummins in the US, in the manufacturing sector.

Q: Hi Kanika, It’s great to have you enlighten us about Solar Energy, and how we can harness it. To begin with, what are the pre-requisites one needs to bear in mind when planning to install a solar panel?
Kanika: Well, all you really need is a Electricity connection and a roof that you own. Typically, a panel generating 3kw of energy requires 250 square ft of shade free space. But if that’s not available, you could build super structures or solar pergolas,for the panels.
Q: How does one calculate how much energy should the solar panel generate, to bring down the electricity costs significantly?
Kanika: We follow a few thumb rules here. Typically, from my experience, a 3Kw panel reduces the bill by roughly Rs 3000 per month. This typically helps you break even by 6 years. A 5 Kw system, similarly, helps you break even in less than 5 years. Since a solar panel system lasts for at least 25 years, this turns out to be a huge saving, as solar energy becomes free for the customer after he breaks even. The savings depend on the electricity tariff in your city. For example, Rs. 10.41/kWh is charged on the top slab in Delhi, so if your bill comes around Rs. 6000, you could save about Rs. 2500 on it. You could infact look up Sunkalp.com’s calculator and feed in your pincode, consumption, and rooftop space, to get an idea of how much you could save. 

Q: Wow, this is pretty interesting! What if I don’t use as much energy as I generate, or I need more at night? What happens then?
Kanika: Most of the systems installed these days, are linked to the grid. So, if you generate more energy, you could reverse meter it back to the grid and earn credits. These credits could be used to take electricity back from the grid when you need it. You will of course, be billed only for the balance.
Q: Is it possible to have a home in India completely running on solar energy?
Kanika: That will still take some time. Solar energy is a good supplement to your existing source, though, since the systems installed these days, offer grid synchronous voltage and frequency. This basically means, that solar systems, these days, connect to the regular electricity grid. So, even though it cannot be the only source of electricity, it can bring down costs significantly, as it costs only about Rs. 4-5/unit.

Tips to keep your Home Cool In the Summer Heat

Summer, along with the scorching heat, also leads to higher electricity bills. This is more so, because our homes are not optimized to beat the summer heat. It’s time you prepped up your house before the summer sets in. Here are some ideas to optimize your home for the summer.

Terrace Gardens: If you happen to have a house on the top floor or a bungalow, you’d be grappling with the exposed ceiling getting all heated up. Planting a terrace garden is an excellent way to ensure all the sunlight falling on the terrace gets absorbed and doesn’t heat up the floors below. There are however some measures you need to take before you plan the same. You need to ensure there is a proper drainage system on your terrace, such that the water flows through the appropriate channels; and you need to get layers of waterproofing done, to avoid water seeping through.

Terrace Gargden                 Source Credit: www.evergreenlandscape.in

Insulated Films on Windows: If you have big windows adorning your house, worry not. You could easily install an insulating film on your windows. These films reflect the sun’s rays and reduce your home’s overall heat gain. As a result, your home feels cooler, and your air conditioner runs less. Insulating films also retain up to 55% of your home’s heat in winter. These films provide comfort you can feel and savings you can see in your utility bills. Insulating films also block out up to 99% of UV (ultraviolet) rays, which we all know are bad for the skin.

Insulated Windows

Reflective Paint: Reflective or insulative paints use a technology where a broad spectrum thermally reflective coating is applied to block heat radiation and to dissipate heat rapidly. This type of paint reduces heat transfer through the coating and reflects back 90% of solar infrared radiation and 85% ultraviolet radiation. This paint should be applied on rooftops, asbestos sheets, exterior walls, and most importantly, roof top water tanks- to avoid water from heating up in the harsh summer.

Reflective Paint              Source Credit: www.decorationlife.net

Awnings: Way to reduce the amount of sunlight entering the house in the summer is by installing awnings. These retractable window and door shades are very effective in blocking sunlight and offering shade right outside windows and doors.

Awning         Source Credit: www.tmucd.com

Frosted Glass, Blinds: Other ways of blocking the sun are, installing frosted glass and blinds. If you plan on adding a green touch to the house, you could hang a lot of planters from the ledge over your window, and add to the beauty and the comfort of your house.

Frosted Glass            Source Credit: www.sanssoucie.com

Kitchen: While planning the renovation, install effective kitchen chimneys, to ensure the kitchen doesn’t heat up.

Chimney                Source Credit: www.uniwoodproducts.com

Aside from these, you could integrate solar cell panels as an alternate energy resource to supplement your incremental power needs in the summer.

Energy Regeneration                 Source Credit: www.energyinformative.org