By Bhurshita Seechurn, Josue Armance, Bhaveena D. Appadoo, Threeshika Napal and Khausar Hoota.
Less energy use equals to less pressure on energy converting companies to cater for increasing demand equals to less strain on natural resources. This simple equation is the basis of every reason why energy efficiency is a must in the 21st century.
‘Energy efficiency is a notion focusing on technology and enhanced productivity’ (Moezzi, 2000). Common practices range from simply changing halogen lighting to LED lighting to using electric vehicles for transportation. Energy efficiency is a phenomenon which cuts across various aspects, namely transportation, building design and more importantly, technology. However, with the emergence of high performance technologies comes the responsibility to be energy efficient.
The report looks at how technology, in its various forms, helps/could help in reducing the consumption of energy across the following sectors:
- Household sector
- Agricultural sector
- Transport sector
We also make a detour to analyse the concept of a paperless society and its impact on energy consumption in the long run.
The Household sector is one where there is high consumption of energy. Indeed, with more and more people leaning towards household appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioner and washing machines- to mention merely a few out of too many-, the energy consumption at household level is bound to increase. In Mauritius, the energy observatory report conducted by the Energy Efficiency Management Office (EEMO) showed a growth in energy consumption of 1.6% from 2016 to 2017, and the highest source of energy was electricity, where again, the consumption increased by 2.1% in the same year. By default, this entails a greater effort on the part of multiple parties namely the Government, the manufacturers as well as the resellers of domestic appliances to bring forward the concept of energy efficiency in this area.
For household appliances manufacturers, there is a need to produce energy efficient models which cater to the growing demand by the consumers for such specificities. We look at the case of international domestic appliances maker, Candy.
Simply-Fi is not only a facilitator in terms of task scheduling, but its effectiveness in detecting wrong practices enables a more efficient use of the appliances, and following this notion, there is less waste of energy. On one side, there is the smart technology accompanying the household appliances; on the other side, we have the appliances themselves which are manufactured in such a way that they consume less energy. Most of Candy household appliances ‘A to A+++’ energy rating class, and they consume on average 1 Watt in stand-by mode. This is a big deal since appliances, especially smart ones, are known to consume up to 15 Watts even when they not in use.
Founded in 2016, the farm was established on an enduring pledge to keep nutritious vegetables open to everyone, regardless of whether it involved working their horticultural unit at a misfortune. The plan of action was purposely constructed with the end goal that instructive project finances their expense of generation, so that their produce can be kept reasonable and the business suitable. Soon, they predict preventive social insurance and nourishment as the possible supplement to Farmcity’s administrations.
Every one of their harvests are developed normally, with no dangerous agrichemicals and they are developed under the TropicBird – their restrictive nursery worked for the tropics, just as in raised bed ranches loaded up with supplement rich soil that is overflowing with life. They endeavour to guarantee that these practices are working in participation with (and of advantage to) individuals and planet, frequently in direct complexity to the polluted and exploitative nature of ordinary farming. Have a look at the video to get an insight of Farmcity’s agricultural practices:
Having a mean of transport has become a necessity nowadays, and the numbers of vehicles on the roads are increasing every year. In Mauritius, more than 568,879 registered vehicles were reported by the end of June 2019 (Stats Mauritius). Keeping in mind that its population is approximately 1.3 million people. According to the United States Environment Protection Agency, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Considering that Mauritius is a pretty small island, the amount of carbon emissions releasing into our atmosphere is immense.
Many car manufacturers across the world, such as Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, among many others, have taken actions to make cars that produce less carbon such as hybrid and electric cars.
A hybrid car has a regular engine, an electric motor and a battery and it works by combining a petrol with an electric motor. It is more ecological than other typical cars because it consumes less energy, thus emitting less C02 in the air. According to National Land Transport Authority, there are 7745 Honda hybrid cars and 4333 Toyota hybrid, which was registered from 2009 till September 2019 in Mauritius. BMW was in third place with 260 registered cars.
Electric cars run at least partly on electricity and it uses electric motor powered by electricity from batteries or a fuel cell (device that converts chemical potential energy into electrical energy). It works when it is plugged into a charge point. Electricity is stored in rechargeable batteries that power electric motor. Those cars are usually more environment friendly than conventional cars in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as they have no exhaust emissions (Lester Lave, Chris Hendrickson and Francis Clay McMichael, 1995). However, the production and distribution of the energy used to charge them determined how clean they are to a country.
In Mauritius, the Central Electricity Board produces 40% of the country’s total power requirement from four thermal power stations and eight hydroelectric plants. The rest is bought by independent power producers, primarily from sugarcane industry which used bagasse and imported coal to generate electricity (export.gov). As the way Mauritius produces electricity is not ecologically appropriate, thus, having an electric car does not seem to be an environment friendly option.
With the advance of technology, solar cars are becoming slowly a reality as they are prototypes for now. They are a hybrid with electric cars with photovoltaic cells to convert energy from sunlight into electricity. With the increase interest in renewable and sustainable energy systems, sustainable transport is becoming more popular than ever. However, it is still inaccessible to the mass due to its expensiveness.
The case of Metro Express
While investigating about how technology is being used for a more sustainable environment, The Metro Express from the Transport sector field caught our attention. The introduction of Metro Express- Light Rail Transit System will contribute into preserving our environment and traffic congestion. Light rail or light rail transit (LRT) is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems. Modern light rail technology is flexible and adaptable, and uses electrical energy to function instead of fuel. (Railsystem.net, 2019)
The climate benefits of reducing paper consumption are worthy of attention. For example, if the U.S cuts its office paper use by a mere 10%, greenhouse gas emissions would plummet by 1.45 million metric tons. This is equivalent to removing 280000 cars off the road for a year.
It’s interesting to see how new technology is constantly making its way into the Mauritian educational system in an attempt to improve the learning experience, all while promoting a sustainable future. Universities, colleges and schools are using computers and mobile devices in an attempt to create a paperless classroom; they implement different approaches when it comes to putting the paperless classroom in place.
The Sankoré project, an initiative implemented in primary schools targeting students from Grade 4 to Grade 6, brings to life the idea of a digital classroom with the help of an interactive projector, a laptop and an infrared pen. Universities make use of free online resources such as Moodle and Google Classroom to promote a more digitalised, sustainable and environment-friendly education.
Computerising and digitising has definitely had a positive impact on the Mauritian education system. But, this is only a small step towards a paperless society. Even banks are gradually implementing online banking platforms such as Juice by the Mauritis Commercial Bank which has greatly facilitated the idea of internet banking on our island.
However, our health sector is still deeply engaged in archaic paper-based processes. Digitising and computerising everything would enable the Mauritian hospitals not only to be more productive, but to reduce significantly the over-consumption of paper.