Energy conservation means using energy efficiently without sacrifice, discomfort, reduction in economic activity. Energy conservation is not only cheap and clean but can also be relatively quick and easy to carry out (Ramachandra 1992). There are three ways to conserve energy, some involves change in attitude, others change in life style.
(a) Conservation through improved efficiency of use like,
* Use of fuel efficient cook stoves instead of traditional stoves.
Improved fuel utilization and reduced smoke emission, together are the goals of improved stoves. ASTRA Ole (improved cook stove) designed and disseminated at rural households in Karnataka by our Institute, has efficiency of 32 - 33% compared to the traditional stove efficiency of 5 - 10% (Ramachandra 1994).
* Improving automobile performance by good maintenance and driving at a lower or more economical speed.
* Using fluorescent rather than incandescent lights which provides better illumination in addition to saving electric power.
* Use of compact fluorescent lamps saves 75% of the energy from incandescent bulbs plus lasts 10 times longer, saving labour hours from changing bulbs as well as saving on electric bills.
* Replacing inefficient industrial equipments: In Karnataka industrial consumption of commercial energy constitutes 44% of the total (Teddy 1990-91 Subramanian et al 1985). A survey conducted on 60 industries reveals that 46.55% of total load is used for heating, machineries 47.25%, welding 1.10%, lighting 1.33% and others like street lighting etc. 3.77%. Since electrical energy is high quality energy and as it is derived form of energy, it is desirable to use it mainly for high quality of work - movements and electrolysis etc. Electrical energy need not be used for heating activities substitution of lower quality energy is desirable in all the industries for heating purposes. Such a substitution will not only match source with end-uses, but also increase efficiency of use.
Study conducted on the energy efficiency of some end-use devices in an Electro metallurgical industry at Bangalore city reveals great scope for conservation by improving the maintenance, educating workers about the energy losses and replacement of inefficient end use equipments.
(b) Conservation by alternatives: For e.g. use of unburnt compacted dense soil blocks in place of burnt bricks. At present brick is manufactured in kilns or traditional clamps using firewood and the efficiency is very poor. Study conducted on utilisation of firewood for brick manufacture shows wide disparities ranging from consumption of 167 kg firewood per 1000 bricks to 700 kg firewood. Improved kiln/clamp with improved drying process saves fuelwood (Kishore and Bansal 1988). Compaction of soil to make blocks saves fuel wood completely and generate employment for rural areas.
* Walking or cycling instead of driving.
* Modernising inefficient industrial process.
* Incorporation of frictionless foot-valves and HDPE piping for irrigation pumpsets.
(c) Conservation by change
* Using public transport instead of private vehicles.
* Use of LPG instead of electricity or kerosene for cooking in urban households
* Using the sun and wind to dry washing instead of tumble dryer.
* Replacement of electric water heater by solar water heater at home.
There are many barriers which prevent the achievement of more efficient pattern of energy consumption:
(a) lack of capital for financing energy efficient projects.
(b) lack of information and technical expertise about energy conservation opportunities.
(c) cooperation of large number of consumers and decision makers.