The cleanest watt is the one not generated

The cleanest watt is the one not generated

Although it should be noted that in regards to solar there is concern that the substances used in thin-film photovoltaic cells may prove toxic; and in terms of wind power, the threat to migrating birds can be substantial. There are very few free rides with power generation.

The cleanest watt is that one that is not generated. The best way to help each other is for each of us to use as little energy as possible. Here in Tanzania, for those of us connected to the TANESCO power grid, decreased intensity of usage would mean more hours with electricity.

Energy needs are often not intensive. Energy wants can be huge. Energy wants are often further inflated by carelessness, thoughtlessness, disregard, and lack of knowledge – willful or real. Millions of kilowatts can be saved just by not being wasteful.Energy efficiency is considered the “low hanging fruit” of the desires to lighten the load on the environment and our own electricity bills.

Not even mentioning the costs due to global warning, energy is very expensive.  When I look at my own electric bill I can see that I am paying about $0.14 (TZS.200) per kilowatt hour.  Medium sized institutions can have energy bills of hundreds of millions of shillings. There are hundreds of ways to decrease electricity use.

And many useful web sites to help us think how. For example  www.michaelbluejay.com provides a power calculator to  cost the power usage of a particular device and www.ehow.com has many “electricity saving tips”. I will touch on just a few here. The biggest electric energy users are: heating, air conditioning, lighting, clothes washer, clothes dryer, refrigerator, water heater/coolers, and unused electric devises.

Fortunately Tanzania’s heating needs are not high and often people wash the clothes with unheated water,  using  the air to dry them. That leaves us with the problems of air conditioning, lighting, refrigerators and  water heater/coolers and unused electric devises. The idea of phantom power load consumption is something I had never thought of: unused electrical devices can be draining electricity even when we are not using them.

Simply having a device plugged into a wall socket may result in wasted electricity. If your electric devices including:  computers, lights, stoves, coffee makers, phone chargers, blenders, etc. are  plugged into a wall socket which is not, or cannot be switched off, it is still draining electricity ( – in readiness that you might turn it on at any moment).

Items left on standby use up to 85% of the energy that would be used if fully switched on!! It is a must to switch off power appliances at the wall socket. When leaving a room turn off the lights, and other electrical devices that are on. Do not leave the television on if you are not watching it.

Turn off computer monitors when you are out of the room. Computers.  Desktop computers consume about six times more energy than laptops. Using the rate of TZS.200 per kilowatt hour a laptop using 50 watts 10 hours a day, for 365 days costs about TZS. 36,500 per year to run.  A desk top however at 300 watts 10 hours per day for 365 days costs about TZS.219, 000 per year to run.  If you are buying a computer, consider a notebook. 

Ensure your power saving/management options are enabled and properly configured. (In Windows this can be found in Settings/ Control Panel/ Power Options.) Shut down your computer at night to prevent it from using energy needlessly. One assumes that these and other tips that would create a less intensive, more equitable energy usage pattern would be modeled by TANESCO workers. We want them to be our guides.

Offer:  VETA is offering a course called “Photovoltaic Solar Electric System” for solar electricians and their helpers.  It starts on 27 January 2012 in Dar es Salaam.  Jack Josephson Fund is sponsoring two applicants for this one month course.Best applicants will be people with some secondary school education and preferably a Class C electricians’ license who are interested in being able to  set-up and maintain solar systems.

Applicants should apply to naturenotestz@yahoo.com.

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