Climate change & global warming is one of the most dangerous threats to our planet Earth. Both are causing drastic degradation of our environment. Due to which, the temperature of planet Earth is raising and this is adversely impacting the natural cycle of different weather cycles on the planet. With the emission of huge amount of greenhouse gases (viz. carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide), the heat reflected from the earth doesn’t go into the space due to the presence of greenhouse gases, this is causing rise in temperature of Planet Earth.
All the nations (developed and developing nations) are having deep concern over the climate change and its impact over the planet Earth. Climate Change is also causing adverse impact on life of human being as well as on economies of nations. Reports published by United Nations has shown that countries with transforming economies in Europe and Central Asia are facing serious consequences due to climate change such as warmer temperatures and extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods. Thus, climate change & global warming are causing adverse impacts on people, species and the general health of our planet.
United Nations with the support of different nations has been taking necessary measures and steps for the improvement in the environment. United Nations outlined the policies and also implements these policies by encouraging the different nations to reduce the destruction of environment further. Reduction in Carbon footprints is being taken up as initiative for reduction in greenhouse gases. Nations are encouraged to use more and more green technologies for the betterment of our planet Earth.
United Nations is insisting on Sustainable Development which comprises of the following components
– Economic Development, Social Developments and Environment Protection. Such type of development focussed on the sustainable consumption of available natural resources with the progressive human development.
Distribution of Energy Consumption in Buildings
A study by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 2009, suggested that for commercial buildings in India, electricity usage for air conditioning could be as high as of the total consumption.
Energy consumption in commercial buildings in USA and India has been shown in form of bar-chart above.
In USA, it is seen that the largest usage of electricity consumption is in lighting (44%); office equipment & others such as pantry makes up for 31% while HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air-conditioning) up 25%. Whereas, in an office building located in Chennai, India, the electricity consumption is shown during the season of summer, which shows 84% of the electricity consumption is for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air-conditioning) and only 08% each for lighting and other office equipments.
From the bar-chart, it can be concluded that the two key-activities (Lighting System and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air-conditioning) System) are responsible for consumption of maximum amount of electricity and need for special attention. There is need to address these two key-activities, which helps in reduction of energy consumption to a great extent. During design stage, it becomes important and most significant to focus on these two key activities.
Hence, these two key-activities viz-a-viz Lighting System and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air- conditioning) System need to be specially focussed with special attention for green building concepts.
Nowadays, many companies have established their offices and getting certificate (such as LEED Certification, etc.) from Third Parties for Green Building. With such concept, the buildings are designed to harness the maximum utilization of non- conventional types of energy sources and minimum wastage of resources such as water, food, energy. This also helps in the reduction of carbon footprints, which is the essence for control of climate change.
India is a country blessed with abundant sunlight throughout the year in most parts of the country. Thus, during design stage of building, sunlight harvesting ideas can help save on the energy use for lighting during day-time. Further, the provision of light fixtures having additional features such as photo-sensors, dimming functionalities shall be value added, so that when the outside light coming through the windows is insufficient (such as on an overcast day), electric lighting comes on automatically and the brightness adjusts to the required level of the internal illumination.
In addition to sunlight harvesting, electricity consumption on lighting can also be reduced with the application of energy efficient light fixtures such as LED lamps.
Thus, efficient lighting is the essential part of design for a building.
What is Green Technology?
Green technology, can be defined as an environment friendly technology which is developed and used in a way that conserves the environment and natural resources. Green Technology can also be termed as “Environment Technology” or “Clean Technology”. Green Technology helps in reduction of adverse effects caused by human activities on environment. These also help in reduction of carbon footprints and pollutants released in our environment.
To address the problem of climate change and global warming, United Nations is encouraging countries for application of “Green Technology” in their activities in place of conventional technology. Also, countries are investing huge amount of their budgets for development of Green Technology in each and every sector of their economy.
Any products or systems can be termed as Green Technology, which meet the following criteria (Note: these criteria are not exhaustive but are only narrative here) –
- Energy (helps in conservation of energy with efficient utilization).
- Environment (conserves & minimizes the impact on the environment).
- Economy (enhance the economy of the nation with its utilization).
- Social (improve the quality of life).
LED as Green Technology
With the advent of new technologies in Lighting Sector, LEDs are proven as the most efficient over the conventional light fixtures. In this section, it will be learnt that LED fixtures are now essence of time for energy conversation as well as help in reduction in electricity bills. Subsequently upon, LED can contribute a lot in terms of conservation of environment. With the numerous of benefits and advanced features, LEDs are considered as Green Technology, which is contributing for the conservation of planet earth.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) is the latest and most accomplished technology in the field of Lighting (Illumination). During more and more concern for the energy conservation, LED has successfully achieved popularity because of its advantages and now successfully substituting the previously available conventional light sources such as incandescent lamps, CFLs, Metal Halide (MH) lamps, etc. LEDs are Light Sources which are based on semiconductor technology. Various types of LED are available in the market which can be used for different lighting Projects such as Street or Park Lighting, Metro Station Lighting, Architecture or Façade Lighting.
Presently, world renowned companies are investing huge portions of their expenditure in their R&D establishment, so that LED Technology may improve with more efficacy and benefits.
It is worth mention that LEDs fulfil necessary requirements for declaration as Green Technology. These features are discussed further:
Energy Efficient – (more lumen with less wattage).
- LEDs are more efficient than conventional lights such as
- fluorescent and incandescent lights. In LEDs, more than 95% of the energy is converted into light and less than 5% is wasted as heat. Whereas in conventional type of light sources, the situation become reverse.
- LED with higher efficacy (lumen per wattage) has resulted the less consumption of electrical power i.e., LEDs draw much less power in comparison with to the conventional lights. Thus use of LED means lowering the energy demand from power plants and that decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
Above figure shows the Historical and predicted efficacy of different light sources. From this the figure above, it can be seen that the efficacy in all light sources except LED does not have almost any improvement in recent years (Source: Lumileds).
Thus, LEDs are energy efficient.
Environmentally Friendly – No Toxic Elements which damage to environment.
- LEDs are environment friendly. LED lights do not contain any toxic materials such as mercury or any other harmful metal, which may degrade the environment.
- LEDs are primarily consisting of electronic components such as PCBs, diodes, semiconductors, etc.
Thus, these components can be treated in the same way that traditional electronics treated. Thus, LEDs are recyclable. Which helps reduce carbon dioxide emission. Also, nations are encouraging their citizens for installation of LED in place of conventional light fixtures.
- Generally, LEDs are operated at less power for a given application in comparison to conventional light sources. Thus, the overall electricity consumption per year is less, this helps in reduction of the overall CO2 emissions.
Hence, LEDs are environmentally friendly.
- Low Operational & Maintenance Cost – It’s a fact that LEDs are costlier than other conventional light fixtures. But with the day-by- day new advancement in LED technology, the prices of LEDs are getting more and more comparable to prices of conventional type light fixtures. Further, due to the high efficacy (more lumen output per wattage) of LED fixtures, the operational cost of LED (i.e., electricity consumption bill) has been reduced to a great extent. Higher efficacy resulted to obtain high lux level with fewer quantities of LEDs. This helps in reduction of installation cost.
Thus, the usage of LEDs has resulted savings on huge expenditure been incurring on paying of electricity bills
- Long service life (Life Span) – LEDs have a very long life span in comparison to the conventional type of light sources. The different components of LED are designed in such a way to extend LED’s lifespan. LEDs don’t have any types of metallic filaments (such as in incandescent bulbs, Metal halide, etc) or any type of gas (inert). Life of components of conventional fixtures weakens with the passage of time, which causes them to get fused. While LED don’t burn out in the same way. LED has low heat levels, durability and high efficacy which make LED’s more outlast.
- A brief summary of Average Rated Lifetime Hours shows the LED capability –
Thus, LEDs are economically much better option than the conventional type of light sources.
- Social – LEDs in comparison to conventional lighting, emits electromagnetic energy as light when electrical current pass through it and generate nominal amount of heat due to their high & efficient performance. Thus, working under LED lights, doesn’t cause any increase in room temperature for long duration works.
- Also, LED does not emit any harmful UV Rays and hence doesn’t cause any damage human skins who are working under LEDs for long duration.
- Heat generated by LEDs is dissipated by a special heat sink, which is designed to absorb any heat and disperse it safely away from the diodes, this helps to enhance the lifespan of LED fixtures. Hence, LEDs don’t emit infrared radiation during illumination, which means that there is no warmth to it. Thus, this feature encourage for optimal usage in heat-sensitive and high temperature areas, such as displaying artwork because they won’t cause fading or other heat damage to paints or dyes.
- “Color Rendering Index” (CRI), which measures how true-to-life an object will appear under a light source. Conventional light sources had very low CRI, which result the appearance of objects dull or vague. Whereas LEDs are available with High CRI which make colors look their most natural and vibrant.
- Also, the flexibility offered by LED is of beyond expectations. LEDs are provided with dimming options, which further reduce electricity consumption and helps in energy conversation. Further, direction of beam of light can be easily controlled in LEDs, which helps in focused lighting design as per the application.
Thus, LEDs help in the improvement of quality of life.
Although, human activities have already destroyed the environment to a great extent that is resulting depletion of natural resources as well as causing adverse impact on human health. All these led to poor quality of life.
However, with the application of green technology such as utilization of LED technology, conservation of environment can be initiated and restored.
LEDs are Green Technology, which is helping human beings in improving the quality of their lives.
Er. Chaudhary Rajneesh K. Singh
Deputy General Manager,
Electrical Rail Vikas Nigam Limited,