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Role of Education in

Energy Conservation in India


Mr. Jitendra Singh Sikarwar (Lecturer, IBM) Mangalayatan University, Aligarh
Ms. Pavitra Rajput (Lecturer, IBM) Mangalayatan University, Aligarh

Introduction:
India’s energy intensity per unit of GDP is about 3.7 times that of Japan, 1.4 times that of Asia
and 1.5 times that of USA. It indicates a very high amount of energy wastage and also gives an
idea about potential of energy saving that can be achieved. India’s present economic growth of
about 8 to 9% per year is causing a lot of stress on commercial energy resources, most of which
are from fossil fuels. It is also well known fact that increased use of fossil fuels is causing a
detrimental effect on the environment due to more emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs).
India’s proven coal reserves are estimated to be 70 billion MT consisting of mainly low grade
coal. It may last for more than 200 years. Known oil and natural gas reserves may last only for
about 18 and 25 years respectively. India imports nearly 70% of oil requirement. With rising
prices of crude oil it is eating up a large portion of export earnings.
In order to maintain the present high economic growth an integrated approach consisting of
judicial mix of investment in supply side growth and efficiency, use of renewable energy
technologies and Demand Side Management (DSM) through operational efficiency
improvement, reduction in T & D losses, eliminating wastage of energy resources is the need of
the hour.
A fairly conservative estimate of potential for energy conservation in various sectors of economy
is as follows:
Table-1: Energy Conservation Potential in various sectors of Indian economy
Sector Potential %
Indian Economy as a whole Up to 23%
Agriculture Up to 30%
Industrial Up to 25%
Transport Up to 20%
Domestic and commercial Up to 20%

Source: Planning Commission

In spite of many efforts at different levels and benefits of energy efficiency, several technical,
financial and policy barriers have affected realization of full potential benefits of energy
conservation. Some of these barriers are:
a) Lack of awareness in industry managers, policy makers and general public.
b) Lack of widespread education and training about energy management and conservation at
different levels.
c) Economic and market distortions causing irrational response to energy conservation
measures.
d) Lack of standardization and labeling of equipment and devices.
e) Lack of financing for investments in energy efficiency improvements.
f) Lack of effective coordination at various levels to promote energy conservation activities.
However, during last five years since the Government of India enacted Energy Conservation
Act- 2001, the environment for energy conservation and improving energy efficiency is more
conducive. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power has been
entrusted the responsibility of implementation of policy programmes and coordination of
implementation of energy conservation activities with the involvement of other centre and state
level agencies like Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) for Maharashtra.
First two barriers listed above viz. lack of awareness and lack of widespread education and
training are the most important impediments for progress in energy conservation because of
their major influence on the attitude and behaviour of the energy consumers at individual and
group level. Without changing the attitude and behaviour of the end users, improvements in
efficiency through investments in improved technologies alone will not be successful.
Less consumption of energy by improving efficiency, avoiding wastages without sacrificing
comfort or standard of living is in the interest of everybody - individuals, each family, business
and industry and India as a nation. This can be achieved with good habits, attitude and
behaviour of every individual. Some of the simple good habits of energy saving are :
• Use of energy saving lighting at home, commercial building and public places.
• Switching off lights, fans, air-conditioners etc. in unoccupied areas.
• Use of energy efficient cars and other vehicles.
• Good driving habits like driving at optimum speed to obtain the best fuel efficiency, avoiding
use of braking too often by speed control.
• Switching off electronic equipment like TV, computers, DVD/VCD players, music system when
not in use without keeping them on stand by mode.
• Use of public transport and walking to the maximum extent possible Involvement of everybody-
children, youth and adults- is essential in energy conservation and this is possible by educating
them appropriately and modifying their behaviour.
Educational initiatives to raise awareness about energy conservation and saving issue will have
more impact on young people. At present environmental education incorporates some portion
on energy studies mainly dealing with sustainable development. But what is needed is specific
energy education programmes, which will help in developing sustained changes in the
behaviour and attitude of current and future energy consumers in India.
Aims and Objectives of Education in Energy Conservation
Three general objectives can be met with proper education on energy conservation:
• Identification of roles of society and individuals regarding energy conservation and saving.
• Creation of better awareness of the energy issues and their background.
• Imparting deeper understanding of the benefits of actions on energy conservation to society
and individuals.

Structure of Educational Programmes


In developing energy education programme, the people are at the centre of focus with the main
theme in mind that everyone in the country has to play his/ her role in selecting efficient
technology in every sphere of energy consuming area like work places, homes, vehicles etc.
Everyone should be able to derive the benefits of energy efficiency for himself, his family,
society and the country.
Educational programmes on the energy conservation should aim at students- in schools and
colleges- to develop understanding about capabilities, costs and impact of different energy
sources and practical aspects of energy such as availability. This should take into account
considerations regarding climatic and social conditions of the regions. The students should be
encouraged to make proposals to solve the energy problems through experimentation,
innovation and holistic approach adapting to local situation.
Awareness about energy conservation and saving in school children of all ages can be brought
through education programme that provides a balance between theory and practical aspects
through lectures, demonstration, developing hands-on skills through training, and exposure to
design and manufacturing.
Benefits of educational programme should be able to demonstrate the positive consequence of
changing behaviour. When people understand that energy conservation and energy saving
means saving money and considerable savings can be achieved through simple practical steps,
it will contribute towards achieving the target of energy conservation. So the change of
behaviour can be brought through the fundamental motivation of personal benefits. Also a clear
message should be spread that lower energy consumption combined with increased use of
cleaner source of energy will reduce pollution leading to health benefits like less expenditure on
health, reduced GHGs and climatic changes.
It is well known fact that large part of our ideas, knowledge and our adult behaviour are
influenced by our education in the childhood. Education obtained during childhood do mould our
individual attitudes by exposing ourselves to new ideas and concepts. All parents might be
aware how much influence teachers have on students. If you tell your child something which is
contrary to what has been taught in his school, the child won’t accept your teaching. So
teachers can influence positively the behaviour of the students regarding energy conservation.
Young students should be exposed to “project based learning” by studying and analyzing a
particular situation and search for alternate answers and provide the best solution.
It is also true that children and youth accept and adapt to new ideas or change faster than the
adults. You may realize this from the example of Personal Computers (PC) in our lives today.
Children and youth learn the operation of PCs quickly whereas the most of the adults are afraid
to learn operation of a PC and even after learning often struggle to operate it. Therefore, it has
to be taken into account that the learning process for different categories of people is different.
A number of factors such as existing level of awareness, age, gender, regional, social and
cultural background have to be taken into account while imparting the energy conservation
education. Its design should be such that it will create interest and influence the attitude and
behaviour of the group of people.
For kids and youth the best forum to impart the education in energy conservation is schools and
colleges. For them, teachers are the principal source of educational information and also source
of creating interest in the subject. So, imparting the knowledge and acceptance of new ideas/
values will depend on the enthusiasm of teachers and methods they use while teaching the
subject to create interest in the subject. Teachers also come from diverse background. The
teaching of the subject should have flexible approach. It has been observed in many cases that
teaching quality and learning experience is higher when the teachers modify or refine the
teaching material provided based on their experience on the subject. For the success of the
energy conservation education, educational policy makers have to develop a suitable framework
to encourages projects on energy saving and energy awareness. In Maharashtra, MEDA is
playing an important role as regional energy agency in imparting energy conservation education
by creating energy parks at different places in the state.
For implanting new ideas about energy conservation in adults, the education has to be outside
school. The messages and methods for adult education in energy conservation have to be
different from that for children and youth. In this case, messages can be conveyed more
effectively through entertainment. For adults the education has to be more informal. TV is one
such powerful medium that can be used effectively. However, the programmes should not be
“preaching type”. They should convey the messages and develop interest about energy
conservation in the minds of all who see the programmes. Quiz and interactive programmes are
likely to be more effective in case of adults.
For professionals in energy related work, agencies like BEE, MNES and MEDA are active
through their websites and various forums like workshops, seminars in training technical
workforce engaged in energy management and introducing to newer developments in the field
of energy conservation and sustainable energy. Some universities like Pune, Indore and
institutes like Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune and IITs have developed post graduate
programmes in energy conservation. There is a good response for these programmes. We are
able to achieve some degree of success through the work done by these agencies. However, it
is still a long way to go to achieve more in energy conservation and sustainable development of
our country which can be attained only through education of all people so that they tune their
habits/ behaviour to save more and more energy for the benefit of themselves, and the society
as a whole.
The following concrete steps can be taken in the schools in order to impart awareness of energy
conservation among the school children:
1. Include subjects covering energy conservation in the curriculam starting from say fifth
standard.
2. Display posters with catchy illustrations and words on the theme of energy conservation
3. Celebrate Energy Conservation Week once a year in December along with National Energy
Conservation Day on 14th December and organize competitions, exhibitions, workshops etc
on energy conservation
4. Practice what you preach to drive home the importance of energy conservation in the
children’s mind.

Necessary teaching material and teaching aids should be made available to the teachers to
make their teaching interesting and effective. Agencies like BEE /MEDA can be of great help in
this regard.
In Engineering colleges and Diploma level courses, adequate coverage of this subject needs to
be given. Students should get familiar with the available energy efficient technologies and
equipment along with methods of achieving better energy efficiency in the systems and
equipment which are common in most industries. Once they get this exposure, they will be able
to contribute in improving energy efficiency in their sphere of activity.
Improving energy efficiency is a national mission. This can be achieved by educating and
motivating the entire cross section of the society. By targeting school and college students for
imparting knowledge in this field, the future consumers and decision makers can be prepared to
play a meaningful role in energy conservation through their better habits and behaviour.

References:
1. www.energymanagertraining.com
2. www.ceeindia.org
3. www.otcats.com/topics/s
4. www.tripdatabase.com
5. www.worldpulse.com