Karthik Subramanian

LED-cluster bulbs, rooftop gardens and pipe-embedded walls cut consumption

"The AC has a considerable load if the wall temperatures are high"

CHENNAI: Surging temperatures usually mean surging electricity bills for most Chennai residents; but not for T. Jayaraman.

The 53-year-old entrepreneur from Perungudi has considerably cut power consumption at his factory as well as his residence by using LED (light emitting diode)-cluster bulbs, maintaining a rooftop garden and circulating water in the pipe-embedded concrete walls. His solutions are summer-proof too.

The key to improving the efficiency of air conditioners, according to the IIT-Madras graduate, is not with the AC itself. "The exposure to the sun's radiation through the day increases the temperature of the building considerably. The AC, while trying to cool the rooms, has a considerable load if the wall temperatures are high," he explains.

"A roof-top garden will bring down the temperature. This in turn will improve the efficiency of the air conditioners. This is recognised in some states in the US, including California where there are incentives for those who have roof top gardens."

For those planning to construct a new house, there is an even better solution: embedding pipes in the outer wall. "Circulating water in pipes embedded in the outer walls could bring down the temperature by at least 8 degrees Celsius."

LED lights

While CFLs or the `energy-saver' lamps improve on power saving considerably over the incandescent bulbs, the king of power saving is undoubtedly the LED cluster bulb. It is so efficient that he has been able to improve considerably on the recommendations of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency of the Ministry of Power.

"They recommend that the maximum wattage for illumination must not cross 1 watt per sq.ft. Using LEDs, I have been able to bring that down to 0.1 watt per sq.ft."

The LED cluster lamp consists of a batch of LEDs closely networked and focused at an optimum degree. While a single LED cluster bulb might not replace the average 40-watt tubelight, it could be used to light up a small area. These could be used for table lamps or toilet lamps. Mr. Jayaraman says he was inspired to develop the LED cluster lamp after hearing President APJ Abdul Kalam's speech two years ago. He has designed the bulbs to be used in the normal bulb holders.

But there is still one big hurdle that bothers him. He has to import the diodes from China and says the costs could be halved if only the diodes were manufactured in India.

He is hoping that an angel investor would help him set up a LED `lead-in' factory here.

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