Your Choice Of Home Appliances And Its Careful Usage Can Preserve The Planet

The ‘Only One Earth’ theme for World Environment Day this year is rightly emphasizing the importance of living sustainably in harmony with nature by enacting transformative policies and adopting cleaner, greener lifestyles. Today, home appliances touch every aspect of our lives, making day-to-day tasks much easier for us and our loved ones. The convenience that appliances provide, comes on the back of resources like energy or water which is consumed on a recurring basis apart from the resources used to manufacture these appliances. Given this, it becomes an important intervention area for appliance manufacturers and consumers, to drive sustainable appliance production and appliance usage.

As per the recent India Energy Outlook report, India is the world’s third-largest energy consuming country, mostly a result of rising incomes and improving standards of living. India’s population continues to grow, and income levels rise as our infrastructure develops – manifesting in improving quality of lifestyle with electrical devices, energy consumption will jump by leaps and bounds. This will have a direct impact on the climate crisis impacting our country directly as well as the world at large. At this juncture, it is critical that each of us starts adopting best practices to safeguard our planet – starting with energy efficient and eco-friendly appliances.

Cooling Responsibly

Amongst the various appliances that make life easier for consumers, the one with the largest environmental footprint is the Air Conditioner and hence, must be the first area for focused sustainability-oriented action. It is a common observation that summer temperatures are worsening year-on-year. This year, according to IMD, heat waves in summer were record breaking; with more than 45 degrees Celsius temperatures recorded in several cities across India. In such a scenario, ACs can no longer be deemed a luxury and are becoming must haves to get relief from the extreme heat.

Every AC uses some refrigerant in its air conditioning system to lower the room temperature. What many consumers do not know is that these refrigerants have an adverse impact on the environment. While most brands have switched to ozone friendly refrigerants, it is important for consumers to be mindful of the global warming potential (GWP) of the refrigerant used in their AC. R290 is the most eco-friendly AC refrigerant with a GWP of just 3, followed by R32 at a distant 675 GWP. Other refrigerants like R410a used by some brands have an even more adverse GWP of 1800 or higher.

They also use refrigerants and the commonly used R600a that has a low GWP of 3. There are advanced cooling technologies like thermo-electric technology, which is completely refrigerant free with 0 GWP, currently deployed in smaller cooling solutions. These can be used as an extra cooling solution for bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms or offices.

Energy Saving features

The purchase of any large appliance requires significant investment, but on top of that, the operational cost of running the home appliance is a continuous cost that is borne by the consumer, throughout the product’s lifetime. The Government of India under its Bureau of Energy Efficiency Regime has laid down the energy rating system which accords stars ranging from 1 star to 5 stars, to home appliances such as Air Conditioners, Refrigerators, Washing Machines, based on their power consumption. Higher the rating, lower the energy consumption. Therefore, consumers must look at the appliances’ star rating and beyond that, study the energy efficiency rating to choose the more efficient option. Air Conditioners consume the maximum energy and the energy label details out the ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) – a ratio to measure the AC’s energy efficiency, along with the estimated power consumption in units.

Water is another most important resource; although available in abundance we must be careful to avoid its waste and ensure prudent usage for our future generations. Many home and kitchen appliances are dependent on water – like Washing machines and the most recent one – the Dishwasher. consumers

should adopt eco-friendly modes when using these machines, for example the Eco mode that automatically adjusts water, energy and time and ensures lesser energy consumption as well.

Think Green, and act Smart

Apart from carefully considering the environmental impact and factoring it in to make a more ecofriendly choice at the time of appliance purchase, consumers must also use their appliances more consciously, being mindful of their impact on environment. This translates to simple acts like switching off all electrical appliances immediately after their usage – not just putting it in a standby mode but switching them off at the plug point, avoiding unnecessary usage, conducting regular maintenance checks etc. For Air Conditioners – setting it at an optimal temperature like 24 degrees instead of running it continuously at very low temperatures which consumes more energy, using the sleep mode at night to ensure comfortable sleep and ensuring it doesn’t get too cold, keeping the doors and windows closed when using the AC, drawing curtains when using the AC during day time, keeping the filters cleaned for optimal performance – these are some of the basic hygiene checks consumers should adopt when using ACs in a more sustainable manner.

Companies and consumers should also pay attention to sustainable, recyclable, and ecofriendly product packaging and use proper recycling options for e-waste. We owe it to our future generations to adopt green choices today and make a sincere effort to address the climate crisis the world is facing as a direct consequence of our indiscriminate use of the planet’s resources. If we need a further reason, these choices will also lower the product usage costs and help the customers save more money. Eco friendly choices are therefore clearly a win-win situation for all.

(The views expressed in the article have been drafted by Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice President at Godrej Appliances, part of Godrej & Boyce specifically for BW People publication)

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