Friday, September 14, 2007

Energy savings through lighting technologies

For those Greens and those interested in reducing their energy budgets, there is an interesting article by Ashley Seager, Illuminating Ideas.

Seager claims to have changed all his lights to energy saving fixtures, and thereby reduced his lighting load from 3000 Watts to 650 Watts, or a saving of 2350 W. If 1000 houses could do this, we could reduce our load by 2.35 MW! We can make a very serious dent in our crippling power deficits by such small and simple interventions.

It is also an ideal stage for implementing some economic concepts. Apart from the high energy bills, the regular energy guzzling bulbs generate negative externalities, by contributing to our power shortages. In contrast, the energy saving bulbs generate positive externalities by not only reducing the individual power bills, but also by bridging our power shortages.

The resultant market failure calls for incentivizing the sellers of such energy saving bulbs and disincentivizing the sellers of the normal, energy guzzling bulbs. This can be done by taxation and through regulations. The energy saving bulb manufacturers can be given tax incentives, and the energy guzzling bulbs can be taxed heavily as a disincentive.

It can also be made mandatory for all Government Institutions and buildings with plinth area beyond a certain extent to go for energy saving devices. The building regulations can be appropriately modified to bring in these conditions. There is already a precedent of mandatory requirement for installing solar heating systems for apartments and certain categories of establishments.

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