What is ‘greenhouse gas’ (GHG)?
Greenhouse gas are gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and our ozone. They are so-called because this type of gases can emit infrared radiation. They hold in the sun’s heat instead of allowing it to escape, like a greenhouse. As more of these gases escape into our air, the more heat will be stored in our atmosphere.
The following are the greenhouse gasses breakdown in our atmosphere:
Water Vapor = 36% to 72%
Carbon Dioxide = 9% to 26%
Methane = 4% to 9%
Ozone = 3% to 7%
Where are these gases produced?
We can see that our power stations produce 21.3 % of the GHG emissions. This is because we are still mainly using coal plants, which produce the highest amount of carbon dioxide (Co2) per kWh. Natural gas is an outlet that can be explored to substitute coal and generate power because it is the lowest emitter of Co2. Power stations and transportation are the major areas that need to be looked at to reduce GHG emissions.
Why are people more concerned to reduce Co2 production and not the others?
That’s because Co2 is the major contributor and the highest polluter of the air, about 72%.
If we can save at least 20% to 30% of our energy at home, it would mean we won’t need so many power plants, which will reduce the impact on our environment. In short, we can make an impact by just doing these:
Energy Saving Tips
How can we do it? Changing our light bulbs.
From a 60 W bulb to 37 W
2,000,000 people = 74 MW
20,000,000 people = 740 MW
By doing this we can switch one 740 MW coal power plant off. And, the best part is we will be producing 4,400,000 tons of Co2 less.
Another greenhouse gas is methane. We could easily rid of it by separating our waste at home and having a proper waste collection and waste processing process. This will help reduce the number of dump sites that are a source of methane. Malaysia has more the 240 dump sites, and each one is releasing methane into the atmosphere.
If a couple of million households and factories conserve energy, say 100 W per day, we will see an impact and change.
The most effective and fastest way is to reduce the use of electricity. When we find ways to cut costs, we save more than just money.
Calculating Your Energy
Electricity Cost per Month in Different Types of Houses
The electricity consumption cost per household depends on:
i. Family size and living habits.
ii. Power of the appliance (usually found on a name plate
ii. or etched on the appliance) and its efficiency.
iii. Age of appliance.
iv. Number of hours you use the appliance.
v. The electricity tariff in Ringgit Malaysia per
vi. kilowatt-hour (RM/kWh).
The following formula is used to calculate the cost of using electrical appliances:
1. Firstly, calculate the energy consumption in kWh
kWh = Power (in Watts) x Hours of operation
kWh – Unit of measurement for electricity consumption
k – 1000W = 1 kW
W – Watt, the unit of measurement for the load (i.e. how much power is drawn)
H – Hour, the unit for usage duration
2. Second, calculate the cost of energy:
Energy Cost = Energy (kWh) x Electricity Tariff (RM/kWh)
For example, a nominal one horse power air conditioner (A/C) has an electrical load of about 850 W to 950 W. The cost of using a 950 W air-conditioner unit for five hours daily is derived as follows:
Firstly, calculate the energy consumption in kWh
kWh = 950 W x 5h = 4.75 kWh
Secondly, calculate the cost of energy per day (refer to domestic electricity tariff)
Energy Cost = 4.75kWh x RM 0.218 = RM 1.04
Assuming that the usage is constant, the cost for using the air-conditioner for a month (assume 30 days) would be:
= RM 1.04 x 30 days = RM 31.20
Monthly electricity bills usually increase over time due to the increased use of electricity. Increased consumption of electricity can be caused by:
Additional or new appliances
Longer duration of usage of appliances.
During festival periods when additional decorative lightings and other appliances are used.
Replacement of older, smaller appliances with larger units for a growing family.
Faulty appliances e.g. a refrigerator with a faulty thermostat, shortage of refrigerant or defective door gasket will result in having the refrigerator working continuously for longer period thereby wasting electricity.
PETER HOFFMAN, CEO of MGT Green Energy Solutions Sdn Bhd elaborates on the greenhouse effect, how to be green, saving energy and cutting costs while at it.