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  Environmental Health & Green Living

April 2010
Nutan Sehgal
Upgrade your house the eco-friendly way with these simple alternatives…

Times are changing, especially for the increasing number of educated and trendy young people, and so are priorities. Till a few years back, the first thing a newly married professional couple did was to upgrade their apartment with stylish furniture, drapes and other trappings of luxurious living. Now there’s an altogether new trend – to upgrade a house the eco-friendly way.

The changed logic is simple: go ahead, buy what you want, but do things in sync with the environment. These new-age eco-warriors, concerned over the greenhouse effects and depleting natural resources, are making some seminal changes in the way they live. The belief is, that by making relatively straightforward alterations in the way we use energy at home, we could cut our fuel bills and also the amount of carbon dioxide generated in the atmosphere.

Stuck for ideas at what you can do to make your home eco-friendly? Try these simple changes...

Harvest & Conserve
Adopt rain harvesting system at home: the age-old cost effective technique of natural replenishment of ground water. This will not just come in handy on a non-rainy day but will also make the surroundings greener.

Loo & Behold
Replace the conventional toilet with a modern loo which has a pressurised low-flow alternative. This will save many litres of water a day.

Go The CFL Way
Although they cost more, low energy CFL light bulbs use only half of the electricity of an incandescent bulb and last up to eight to 15 times longer than a conventional light source.

Let The Light In

Opening your curtains can cut the costs of your electricity bill by around Rs. 750 annually and save 125 to 190 kg of carbon dioxide a year. Sunlight will eliminate the use of artificial light.

Discard The Saucepan

Use a pressure cooker instead of a saucepan for cooking. This will save you a lot of cooking gas, as the time for cooking will be shortened.


Microwaves use less electricity than conventional ovens and are best for defrosting, or heating up cooked food. Like pressure cookers, they are very fast in their job and take up just 10 percent of the time of other conventional methods.

Replace Refrigerator

Replace your old refrigerator for a new energy efficient model. It can save you up to Rs. 2,000 a year in running costs. Look for the new energy efficiency label on fridges in any big showroom.

Insulate pipes

Insulating hot water pipes attached to the geysers can save from 60 to 125 kg of carbon dioxide annually. In fact insulating the full geyser will further save 125 to 190 kg of carbon dioxide an year.

Wind-Proof Your House

Avoid using electric heaters in winters. Wind proofing your windows and doors with simple plastic or metal strips can save around Rs. 1,000 or so every year, plus 190 to 500 kg of carbon dioxide a year.

Temperature Control

During summers use air conditioners as little as possible. But if you simply must, then buy one with temperature control. So if you don’t want too much cooling you can turn down the thermostat saving considerable electricity.

Get Under A Shower

Take a shower instead of a bath. This will use one-fifth of the hot water that is consumed in conventional bathing, resulting in saving 60 to 125 kg of carbon dioxide a year.

Load Up The Washing Machine

Believe it or not, there are even ways of saving up electricity while using a washing machine. Wait until you have a full load if possible, or use the economy programme if your washing machine has one. This will save a lot on electricity.

Plug That Leak

A dripping water tap can waste a bucketful of water a day. Ensuring taps are turned off properly and fixing dripping taps can save up to Rs.100 an year.

All these are simple workable ideas. For, not only will you be saving the environment by using less electricity, you could also end up saving thousands of rupees every year without it really affecting you any great deal.

The best time to start is TODAY. Remember, time is running out for planet Earth. Help reverse the process by making your home eco-friendly.

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