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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Reva – Maini’s electric car

Posted by Williams on November 24, 2007

On a slightly offbeat note today, I thought I’ll cover the electric car produced by the Maini Group in Bangalore – Reva. It’s an old India based innovation story, but one that is only beginning to get its due.


The car is amazingly small in size compared with the conventional choices available from the more established car manufacturers. This makes it a dream vehicle to commute about in the intensely crowded Indian city streets. However, I would not recommend it for long distance drives on the Indian Highways. The fact that its commutation distance is only 80 km (under ideal conditions) is only part of the reason; the real reason is that safety wise Reva is not as sturdy as its conventional cousins and driving on the highway is a far more risky proposition than driving in your typical evening traffic jams.

Interestingly, it is being sold aggressively in London recently under the brand name of G-Wiz. Apparently, the response has been overwhelmingly positive since certain restrictions in London make owning cars there a very expensive proposition. The car is so tiny that it actually qualified to be sold as a quadricycle, thus bypassing many of the existing car regulations there!

I think Reva is a very decent choice for an urban setting, especially if it is a family’s second car purchase. If the electricity you use to charge the car is coming from renewable sources, the usage of the car is carbon neutral. If the electricity is from more traditional sources, the carbon emissions are two thirds lower than normal and the power consumption is 75% lower than normal.

Not to mention, the cost per distance travelled is as low as 40 paise per km !

It was not a long while back that I said in a post here that we Indians are not getting enough options to get into a carbon neutral lifestyle in India (unlike say in America). Well, this just goes to show what a ridiculous statement that was. No doubt, I’ll make more ridiculous claims in future as well.. 🙂

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Switch on to Save

Posted by Vivek on November 2, 2007

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Our coverage on environment friendly homes has been consistent. Williams wrote about it in the following articles:

Some things to do for a Green home

A carbon negative home?

Going carbon negative

 The other environment topics which we covered so far were:

Water conservation at home

Waste Disposal

Today’s Hindu newspaper has a huge government advertisement on CFL Technology and requests people to “Switch on  to Save”.


This advertisement echoes all our thoughts and suggestions and we thought of elaborating on the details in case you miss the same on the paper.


The image above (please click to enlarge) conveys many details:

CFL Advantages:

  • Four times more efficient
  • Lasts upto 10 times longer than incandescents
  • Uses 50-80% less energy than incandescents
  • Uses 1/3 the electricity and lasts up to 10 times as long as incandescents
  • Single 18 watt CFL in place of a 75 watt incandescent saves about 570KWH over its lifetime
  • Replacing single incandescent bulb with CFLs keep out half-tonne of CO2 out of the atmosphere
  • Saving electricity reduces CO2 emissions, sulfur oxide and high level nuclear waste
  • New CFLs give a warm inviting light instead of the “cool white”light of older fluorescent
  • They use rare earth phosphors for excellent color and warmth
  • New electronic ballasted CFLs do not flicker or hum
  • CFL can be applied nearly anywhere where incandescents are used

The advertisement says

Judicious use of electricity is our responsibility

Save energy for benefit of self and nation

This message is brought to us by:


Bureau of Energy Efficiency India

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Posted in Electrical Accessories, Environment, Lighting, Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Waste Disposal

Posted by Vivek on October 26, 2007

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Humans are the only species who do some irreversible damage to our environment. Every other living creature helps maintain the food chain and the ecosystem except us. 

Most nations in Europe have already taken steps to ensure that our waste is not dumped into the environment. They take steps to separate the garbage and wherever possible recycle it for the betterment of mankind. They even have laws which forbid people from dumping electronic waste into landfills. Similarly companies are restricted from using  certain chemicals and heavy metals like lead in their products. These are being done to prevent ground water contamination.

What do we do with our waste?

Waste Bin

Image Courtesy : jasco.com.au

Most people do not encourage separation of waste material at home or even collect garbage in an effective manner. Food leftovers, vegetable waste is all combined with other garbage and piled into the plastic containers which are found in streets or on the streets too.

What we try through this post is to try and inculcate some common details, which if followed can reduce the amount of waste disposed from one’s home, help save our nation’s resources and protect the environment which has to be inhabited by our children and grandchildren.

  • Encourage use of dust-bins in all rooms of home, not just the balcony or kitchen. This alone would lead to selective separation of junk in your home. If this is followed, almost exclusively the kitchen waste bin would have only food related waste items , living rooms have probably lot of paper wastage and so on.
  • Use waste-bin disposable plastic bags which are available in leading supermarkets. These plastic bags are designed to disintegrate easily and would not pollute the environment. Also using such bags would keep your bins clean and make collecting junk easier.
  • Dispose waste in two separate bags from home and please tie the top of these bags. This would eliminate foul smell on the streets and also keep the flies and rodents in check.
  • We Indians already believe in “Raddiwala” , so recycling is not an issue for  paper , glass and plastic bottles. Make sure you do not throw as much of paper as possible. Try to give them off to these shopkeepers.
  • For those who have a small patch of garden or so, use the vegetable waste as a composite for the plants. It is an excellent nutrient and helps you grow your own mini vegetable mart ! Check out this post and this from Sudarsan.
  • Do not dispose batteries and similar material onto regular garbage. If possible when you are staying in an apartments, try to have a common box to throw batteries and electronic waste. These can by picked up separately by the cleaning agencies and handled appropriately.
  • Teach Young children the value of recycling and wastage. They are the next generation who would make a huge difference.

Try to think of the streets as part of your home. No one in their right mind would dirty their homes right?

Hope this post encourages you to handle waste more efficiently at your homes. Your comments and criticism would help us improve our content.

have a great weekend.

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Going carbon negative

Posted by Williams on October 18, 2007

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Check this link for information on how much emissions you are personally responsible for. The average figure for Americans is 7.5 tons every year. Now if you want to offset this by some carbon absorbing activity, pretty much the only thing you can do is to plant more trees. Unfortunately, the average tree can absorb only one ton of emissions in its lifetime (and that lifetime is usually very long, which means the offset is not done in the present time but in the future).

This leaves really leaves us in a corner as far as turning carbon neutral goes, leave alone the dreams of carbon negative. One has to plant something like 10 trees every year one is alive to offset our present modern lifestyle! This is too much to ask for, considering the fact that most people don’t have enough land to plant that many trees for even couple of years. Besides, ensuring that those trees grow correctly for the next 5-10 years is probably too paintstaking a task.

The other option is to drastically reduce our travels & power consumption patterns. However, even if we were to do that I doubt whether the 7.5 ton figure will more than halve, which leaves us with the same problem.

So the only way out appears to be in the use of clean energy like from wind turbines (nuclear as well?) and in the development of vehicles with hybrid fuels or biofuel. Indian market is not yet giving people these options, unlike in US where both these options are already being marketed. Let’s hope we catch up soon. 

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Some things to do for a Green home

Posted by Williams on October 17, 2007

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In an earlier post, we had briefly touched upon some activities that one can do in order to keep one’s home as environment friendly as possible. At that time, we didn’t know the exact carbon emissions due to household activities and had hoped to research it later. Well, now we have come across some interesting statistics at http://www.climatecrisis.net, which I am summarising below.

It is basically 9 simple things ordinary people can do in their day-to-day lives to help combat global warming.

  1. Change lights – Replace regular light  bulbs with CFL bulbs. One such move alone will save 150 pounds of Carbon Dioxide in a year.
  2. Drive less- One pound of CO2 saved for every mile you don’t drive. We don’t have to cut down on our travel; rather we should use car pooling, bikes or even buses more than usual.
  3. Recycle more – Recycle 50% of household waste will save 2400 pounds per year. Not sure whether we can recycle stuff easily in India. Anyone with knowhow on this, please feel free to comment.
  4. Check tires frequently – Proper inflation of tires save 3% on mileage. 1 gallon of gasoline saved means 20 pounds of CO2 emissions saved.
  5. Use less hot water – It takes a lot of energy to heat hot water. So use less of it by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of CO2 emissions saved in a year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds of  CO2 saved in a year)
  6. Avoid products with lot of packaging – 1200 pounds of CO2 is saved by cutting garbage by 10%. This probably assumes some garbage disposal mechanism requiring power consumption. Again, unsure whether this is true for India as well.
  7. Adjust your thermostat – If you place it 2 degrees from its usual spot, it will save 2000 pounds of CO2 in a year.
  8. Plant trees – A single tree will absorb one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere in its lifetime. I know.., that figure seems dissappointingly low compared to the earlier emission figures. And to think, trees are such huge creatures. 😦
  9. Turn off electronic devices – Turning off your television, computer etc. when you are not using them will save 1000s of pounds in emssions every year.

There now.. we can’t claim ignorance about what we have to do, so that earth remains habitable.

Err.. hope that didn’t sound too fanatical…

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