Recently, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) conducted capacity building programmes in government schools on energy efficiency and energy conservation. The sessions were attended by students of grade 9 to 12 of Chennai Higher Secondary Schools (CHSS) and Chennai Girls Higher Secondary Schools (CGHSS). We received a very good response from the children who asked a lot of interesting questions.

We thank the Education Department, Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) for trusting us and giving permission to create awareness among school students. We conducted the programme at:

  1. CHSS, Subbu Rayan Street, Shenoy Nagar on January 21, 2020
  2. CGHSS, Pulla Avenue, Shenoy Nagar on January 21, 2020
  3. CGHSS, Nungambakkam on January 23, 2020
  4. CHSS, Nungambakkam Boys on January 23, 2020
  5. CHSS, Velacheri on January 29, 2020
  6. CHSS, Taramani on January 29, 2020
  7. CHSS, Thiruvanmiyur on January 30, 2020
  8. CHSS, Tondiarpet on January 30, 2020
  9. CHSS, Old Washermanpet on January 30, 2020
  10. CGHSS, Market Street, Perambur on January 31, 2020
  11. CGHSS, MH Road, Perambur on January 31, 2020
  12. CHSS MGR Nagar, on February 15, 2020
  13. CHSS, Alwarpet on February 26, 2020
  14. CHSS, Maduvinkarai on February 27, 2020
  15. CGHSS, Saidapet, on February 27, 2020
  16. CHSS, Koyembedu on February 28, 2020

The objectives of the training programme were to:

  1. Educate school children on various means and methods of generating power;
  2. Promote awareness on conserving electricity through behavioural practices; 
  3. Highlight the importance of energy-efficient appliances; and 
  4. Demonstrate the use and advantages of solar energy. 

Balaji, Researcher, CAG, and Jeya Kumar, Researcher, CAG, made presentations on energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy, and demonstrated the working of solar energy. 

Image 1: Students at the session in CHSS, Maduvinkarai 

 

Image 2: Students at the session in CHSS, Koyembedu

 

CAG representatives interacted with students on various electricity generation methods, the electricity billing process, functioning of appliances used in their households, etc.   

Image 3: Balaji explaining various energy conservation methods at CGHSS, West Saidapet

 

The presenters explained the various electricity generation methods including a) renewable sources - solar, wind, hydro, and biomass; b) non-renewable sources - coal, lignite, gas, etc. They briefed the students on the disadvantages of non-renewable energy sources and their impact on the environment.  This was followed by a discussion on the  difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency. The students also shared their experiences of energy conservation practices followed and observed in their everyday lives such as switching off the electrical appliances when not in use, etc. 

Discussions around energy conservation included:

  1. Cleaning lampshades to get the maximum amount of brightness from the lights and using downward facing lamps;
  2. Cleaning the blades of the fans at regular intervals;
  3. Cleaning the filters of the air conditioners at regular intervals;
  4. Setting the temperature of air conditioners between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius;
  5. Leaving some space around the refrigerator for air circulation, not overloading or underloading the refrigerator, regular defrosting, etc.;
  6. Switching off the television, set-top boxes, and water heaters when not in use to avoid the standby mode power consumption; and
  7. Not overcharging mobiles as this may affect battery life. 

The students were taught to check the parameters of the appliances while purchasing. For example, the presenters explained the importance of lumens (lumens represents the amount of light emitted from a source) and why it is necessary to check lumens in addition to the watts. In addition the presenters shared information on the standards and labelling programme introduced by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency which was setup by Government of India with an objective to reduce the energy demand in the country and the different parameters like label period, average annual consumed units, type of appliance etc., to be checked in the star rating label while buying an appliance. The presentation included the difference between energy efficient appliances and regular appliances. For example, in the amount of power consumed by appliances such as an incandescent bulb Vs an energy-efficient LED bulb; old fans Vs an energy-efficient Brushless DC (BLDC) fan; and non-star rated appliances Vs star-rated.

As of December 2019, renewable energy contributed around 36% of installed capacity. There was a detailed discussion around renewable energy sources and their installed capacity in India.

Image 4: Balaji demonstrating the working of solar energy at CHSS, Koyembedu

Image 5: Jeya Kumar demonstrating the working of solar energy at CGHSS, Perambur

Finally, the working of solar energy was demonstrated with the help of a solar LED lighting system. The solar demonstration kit comprises a 20 watt solar panel, a 12 volt and 7 Ah battery, a charge controller, and a 2 watt DC LED bulb. Using these, the procedure for installing a rooftop solar system in households was explained in detail. The differences between on-grid system and off-grid system, and unidirectional meter and bi-directional meter were also imparted. 

 

Image 6: Balaji explaining the rooftop solar system installed at CHSS, MGR Nagar

Some of the questions posed by the students and the responses given are listed below:  

  • Use of stabilisers in the household:
    • A stabiliser is a device which is used to protect electrical equipment, such as air conditioner, refrigerator, television, from damage due to voltage fluctuations.
  • Is it advisable to connect two appliances to the same switch?
    • It is preferable to have one switch per appliance as this will reduce unnecessary consumption of power (when one appliance is not being used and the other is).
  • Full forms of abbreviations LED, LCD and CRT 
    • Light Emitting Diode (LED), Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Cathode Ray Tube (LCD).
  • The lifetime of the solar plant
    • The lifetime of the solar plant is 25 years when maintained properly.
  • Approximate payback period of rooftop solar systems
    • Assuming that a consumer consumes approximately 1800 units in a year and installs a 1 kW rooftop solar with a subsidy, as per Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), the cost of installation will be Rs. 43,700 and therefore his payback period will be 10 years (approximately). 

The presenters clarified all their doubts and students gave positive feedback about the sessions, indicating special interest in the process of installing rooftop solar in their premises, and the purpose of star rating label in appliances.

 

Image 6: Students interacting during the session at CGHSS, West Saidapet

 

Image 7: Students interacting during the session at CGHSS, MH Road, Perambur