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Light plan suggested for brighter palace

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Lit up: The Mysore Palace provides the perfect setting for music concerts during the Dasara festivities.
Lit up: The Mysore Palace provides the perfect setting for music concerts during the Dasara festivities.

Special Correspondent

Replace all incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps, says Greenpeace

MYSORE: Environmental pressure group Greenpeace has sought an energy-efficient plan for Mysore Palace and called for the replacement of the 96,000 incandescent bulbs of 15 watts each that illuminate it with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

The electricity thus saved will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy of Greenpeace said here on Monday that Mysore Palace currently consumed close to 1,20,000 kWh of electricity a year. CFLs would save about 80,000 kWh annually and reduce the electricity bill by around Rs. 41 lakh.

“By switching to energy-efficient lighting, which retains the original look, Mysore Palace can set an example to other heritage buildings on energy efficiency,” said Mr. Krishnaswamy. He went on to add that replacement of incandescent lamps with CFLs of 5 watts each would “reduce carbon dioxide emission by 46,632 kg” and help mitigate climate change through reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal is an offshoot of the ‘Ban the Bulb’ campaign spearheaded by Greenpeace internationally to seek an end to the use of incandescent tungsten filament lamps for its energy inefficiency and their replacement with CFLs.

Unanswered questions

Though the proposal looks environment friendly on the surface, there are questions that need to be raised. Greenpeace’s proposal to replace 96,000 bulbs with CFLs has not factored in the hazards of metallic mercury present in CFLs, exposure to which affects the nervous and reproductive systems, causes kidney and lung damage, eye irritation, skin rashes and learning disabilities, to name a few.

Unlike the incandescent bulb, the process of manufacturing CFLs is energy-intensive, and critics have pointed out that the perceived benefits of switching over to CFLs is neutralised by the manufacturing process that involves the use of integrated circuits of chips, transistors, capacitors, etc. Supporters of Greenpeace have argued that mercury in various forms billows from coal-fired thermal power plants and switching to CFLs will lead to a reduction in power consumption, which will obviate the need for new coal-fired thermal plants.

Significant threat

But experts have argued that metallic mercury is more dangerous than inorganic elemental mercury and poses a significant threat to the environment. Also, the process of disposing of metallic mercury is cost-intensive.

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