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Bengaluru Environmentalist Reveals How to Save on Water & Electricity Bills Without Losing Comfort

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Sunil Sood, an energy consultant and environment activist, can show you the way to save energy and water in your homes and workplaces without losing comfort.

It is summer and the temperature is climbing rapidly. Fans are going to be on duty overtime, and the monthly bills are set to soar. If you have installed air-conditioners, then even more so.

If you are looking for a way to cut the spending and still stay cool, you must call Sunil Sood, energy consultant and green activist. He will tell you about ‘gorilla’ fans with 65% savings, efficient air-conditioners and more. Founder of the Indian Association of Energy Management Professionals, engineers committed to make India energy-independent by 2022, Sunil is an active campaigner for energy conservation. And more.

He is a one-man brigade battling for energy and water conservation, garbage and traffic management, cleanliness and hygiene and everything else one can club under ‘green’ activity.

Sunil, who was a senior electrical engineer with Mecon for many years, took a break to pursue energy activism, fought a few bitter battles, founded IAEMP, set up an energy consulting firm and finally rejoined Mecon after 15 years. Retiring from there, he is back in Bangalore where he resides with his wife.

He has set up a ‘Green Shoppe’, where he sells, among other items, one of the most efficient fans under the brand name Gorilla. The fans that run on a special DC motor need a mere 5 watts of energy at lowest speeds and go up to 28 watts at maximum speeds. This is a third of what regular fans use. They allow for 65% savings as against the normal fans. Priced slightly high at Rs 2,900, what they offer is long-term savings. Buyers have claimed as much as Rs. 200 drop in bill per fan.

Every weekend, he holds a mela at the shop, enticing people with discounts and green innovations.

At his shop, you can find solar lanterns, herbal concoctions, copper bottles, bioenzymes, gardening items, washing products without any chemical components, etc.

One of his pet products, besides the Gorilla fans, is the gardening can fitted with a spray and mini pump. “Using this, you can clean your car with one litre of water,” he will demonstrate to the last detail if you wish. In fact, he has begun to use the spray for his bath too, to save water. The spray can is also useful for mopping floors and cooling rooms, he says.

Encon on top

His activities may have mushroomed to encompass a vast segment of public life. But energy conservation remains his top passion. Negawatts, he holds, is any day better than adding megawatts — he is referring to units of energy that can be saved by adopting some practices and using efficient devices. One unit saved is equivalent to two units generated, he will tell you.

“Let them give me half of the money spent on new power plants I can save more energy than what the new power plant can generate,” he says during a discussion on nuclear power. He is not against nuclear per se, but against supply-side management.

Sunil is widely known in energy circles across the country for his campaign to implement the spirit of the Energy Conservation Act 2001 in more than gesture tokens. He has been at the helm of the fight against the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the power ministry to widen the scope and bring more big energy consumers under the ambit of the act.

He has since helped establish the LCG Energy Consultants of which he is director. Besides energy audits, they also provide other related services.

For some time he was involved with volunteers in cleaning up Lalbagh and educating people on the need to use plastics wisely. Then, he realised there were too many players and quietly withdrew. With his savings, he then opened a small shop in Jayanagar where he sells green items. Networking with a host of others involved in niche green consumables, Sunil now has a large following.

Traffic plan to save crores

Sunil thinks about fuel, or saving fuel to be specific, all the time. He has been trying to approach the traffic inspector near his home and sell a pet idea he had suggested two decades ago. By stopping vehicles 30 metres from the pedestrian crossing, he calculates that it could enable vehicles to pick up speed of 30-40 km per hour and clear the junction faster than now. He estimates the fuel saved could add up to Rs 40 crore – 50 crore. It would also mean lesser waiting at signals and save thousands of man hours as there’ll also be fewer traffic jams! Anyone listening?

When a friend bought Gorilla fans from him and left behind the old fans, Sunil was quick in handing the same to a couple that irons clothes for the locality using coal press. “They didn’t have a fan and were thinking of buying a local make which would have cost them Rs. 700 and also would have consumed more electricity than the fans in hand. So it was a net positive energy activity.”

The way Sunil sees it, he calls it an ‘ABC Approach’. Whether it is water, energy, resource or waste management, it involves A- Accounting, B – Budgeting/Best Practices sharing and C- Controlling.

Sunil can be critical of some ‘green’ attempts. For instance, the vertical gardens adorning the pillars of Bangalore’s flyovers by SayTrees does not quite convince him. Quoting a UN report, he notes that if cities occupy only 2% of the planets’ surface to house 70% of the population, should urban forestry/greening be the priority or decongestion and putting limits on further growth of cities?

Chances are you may find him rigid in his views, but you won’t find him lacking in sincerity and enthusiasm. On Water Day, while everyone was busy sending forwards on WhatsApp groups, he had listed out an elaborate set of dos and don’ts for people keen to save water. Details included a suggestion to collect bathwater and use it to cool the roof or splash on dusty roads to bring down pollution!

He believes that every citizen should actively participate in the cleaning and greening of his city. The logic is simple — if he can do it, so can others.

 

If you can assemble residents in your area, Sunil is ever ready to come give a talk on how you can cut down on your energy consumption and bills. He can give you a clear idea on how much power is lost when the television or laptop mat is left in idle mode. Power used in sleep mode accounts for almost 10% of total power consumed by a household.

You can follow him on Facebook or hop over to his shop in Jayanagar, 4th Block, opposite the BSNL building. Or call him at 7739802112. If he is not out someplace in the country as part of energy awareness workshops, you bet he will welcome you to his green parlour.

(Written by Jayalakshmi Menon)

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