Over the last few years, many new technologies have been introduced to save electrical power. With increased adoption, prices of these technologies is falling rapidly. We discuss two such technologies in this article, LED tube lights and Brushless DC Motor (BLDC) fans. Both these products are available at a moderate premium to existing products. Further, the savings available from them through low electricity usage over their lifetime are substantial and far exceed the initial cost of purchase.

LED Tube LightsThe table below compares the costs of lamps and electricity usage of a Fluorescent Tube Light (T8) with a LED Tube Light, over the lifetime of a LED tube light.

Parameter Fluorescent Tube Light (T8) LED Tube Light
Power Consumption 36 Watts 18 Watts
Luminous Flux (Measure of Amount of Light) 2,850 lumens 2,100 lumens
Lumens/Watt 79 117
Life 10,000 hours 40,000 hours
Number of Lamps for 40,000 Hours 4 Numbers 1 Number
Price of Lamps for 40,000 Hours 4 * Rs. 45 = Rs. 180/- Rs. 450 (With Holder)
Usage Per Day 6 Hours 6 Hours
Electricity Use for 40,000 Hours 1,440 Units 720 Units
Cost of Electricity Rs. 5 Per Unit Rs. 5 Per Unit
Cost of Electricity for 40,000 Hours Rs. 7,200 Rs. 3,600
Total Cost of Lamp & Electricity Rs. 7,380 Rs. 4,050

Although the initial price of an LED tube light (~ Rs. 450/-) is much higher than a conventional tube light (Rs. 45/-), the substantial savings from lower electricity usage over the lifetime of an LED tube light makes it far cheaper to the user. In fact, a single conventional tube light could be replaced with 2 LED tube lights, with marginal addition in costs over its lifetime.

Other benefits of choosing LED lights are:

  • No flickering
  • Starts immediately, even on low voltage
  • Closer to white light (6500 K temperature)
  • No blackening of tubes
  • No choke or starter, hence low maintenance
  • Futuristic, slim look
  • Runs longer on inverter during power cuts
  • No mercury, hence environmentally safer

Companies selling LED tube lights in India include Philips, Havells, Crompton, Syska, Eveready etc. They are now freely available in stores as well as online sites.

Fans Fans are not a category that come to mind when it comes to innovation and new technology. They have remained essentially the same for many years. Enter Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) Motors. Without going into technical details, these motors offer high efficiency, low wear and tear and reduced noise when compared to their conventional counterparts (Induction Motors). The following table illustrates the difference in lifetime costs of traditional fans versus those with BLDC motors.

Parameter Traditional Fans Fans with BLDC Motor
Power Consumption 75 Watts 30 Watts
Air Delivery 210 Cubic Meter Per Min (CMM) 210 Cubic Meter Per Min (CMM)
Efficiency (Service Value) 2.8 CMM/Watt 7 CMM/Watt
Price Rs. 1,600 Rs. 3,500
Usage Per Day 12 Hours/Day 12 Hours/Day
Usage For 5 Years 21,900 Hours 21,900 Hours
Number of Units Used In 5 Years 1,643 657
Cost of Electricity Rs. 5 Per Unit Rs. 5 Per Unit
Cost of Electricity for 5 Years Rs. 8,213 Rs. 3,285
Total Cost of Fan & Electricity Rs. 9,813 Rs. 6,785

Despite the higher initial cost of a BLDC fan (more than double), its costs over a period of 5 years is far lower than a traditional fan. This is because a BLDC fan uses just 30W of power at peak speed, compared to 75W for a conventional fan. In fact, at lower speeds, a BLDC fan would consume power much less than 30W! At the end of 5 years, for the assumptions stated above, there are savings of over Rs. 3,000 per fan. Yes, you can buy one more BLDC fan for free with the savings!

Other benefits of BLDC fans include:

  • Remote controlled operation
  • Additional features like Sleep Mode, wherein fan speed can be reduced over time automatically.
  • No need for a speed regulator
  • Adequate differentiation between speeds 1 to 5. Traditional fans with faulty regulator typically give relatively low speeds from 1 to 4 and very high speed at 5. A BLDC fan provides adequate differentiation between speed settings.
  • Runs longer on inverter during power cuts
  • Lower heat generation during operation

The manufacturers/marketers of BLDC fans in India include Atomberg Technologies (http://atomberg.com/), Super Fan (http://superfan.in/) and Orient Fans (Ecotech Model, http://www.orientelectric.com/fan/ceiling-fans/energy-savers/ecotech). As of now, it is easier to buy these fans online on ecommerce sites. For offline purchase, it would be prudent to get in touch with the nearest electrical shop or contact the manufacturer directly.

Next time you buy lights and fans, choose wisely! In the next part of this article, we will tell you about how you can get energy and cost savings from two other appliances, refrigerators and air conditioners.