How tertiary institutions can save up to 15% of wasted electricity annually

Educational institutions consume lots of electricity to perform both academic and non-academic activities. Currently, some tertiary institutions pay about 2 million Ghana Cedis monthly.

Glaringly, the cost of utility bills is a major concern in an educational institution in Ghana, spanning from the Senior High Schools (SHS), Training Colleges, Polytechnics, and Universities.

Energy efficiency and conservation can reduce the energy consumption and the savings can be used for new investment in the educational institutes.

Our study in November 2015, chose one residential hall each in the four selected tertiary institutions in Kumasi and Accra. We visited 14 rooms in this selected residential halls and the energy audit revealed that between 13-15% of energy consumed is wasted annually.

The intent of this study is to discover the present electrical energy consumption pattern among tertiary students, to spot areas of waste and find out the reason for such waste and find feasible and low-cost measures to curb the waste.

Recently, the issue of students paying their utility bills has become a concern to students, parents and the Government.  This means that students will take care of electricity they consume. There is a general belief that since the government subsidises the energy sector, a lot of people don’t care about how they use electricity and energy saving strategy for the electrical appliances

As some agree that this whole idea is a new strategy for energy conservation or energy saving, others disagree that the dynamics of the average college or university student in Ghana is totally different than that in other countries where there are a lot of flexibilities to operate in.

The Energy audits were conducted in 14 different room for each of the four tertiary institutions visited in Kumasi and Accra revealed that the cause of the waste of energy resulted from two factors, the use of inefficient technologies or equipment and behavioral pattern of students.

Even though appliances like the refrigerator consumes a lot of energy, other appliances with high standby power waste a lot of energy in comparison to its operational energy.

Key among these include Phone chargers, Computers, Home theatres (Speakers), and Printers, others, include, idle television set, idle microwave, and idle rice cookers.

A considerable amount of waste was discovered in both cooking and lighting and fan categories.

Recommended savings measures result in about 13 to 15% savings of the annual energy consumed.

Per the knowledge in this study, it is recommended that:

a. Ghana’s tertiary educational institutions metering system should be decentralised to enable effective monitoring of consumption pattern for each block of building in the school.

b. Electrical energy audit should be conducted for other parts of the institution to uncover areas of waste and potential savings.

c. The external lighting should be controlled automatically using light sensing devices such that they are off in the day time and on at night.

Author: Maxmillian Kwarteng |