Energy conservation is the buzzword of the modern era. With technological advances in communication and industry, the gap between energy supply and demand is globally ever-widening than at any other time in human history. While Governments around the world in the past focused on efficient and alternative ways of producing more energy, in recent years a great deal of research and development has also pointed towards the direction of curtailing the inflated demand for electricity by the average home consumer. If consumption could be brought down to a necessary minimum, there would be less shortfall, energy would cost loss and therefore, no energy crisis. One needs to understand that infrastructural additions to electricity output are long-term strategies and at the end of the day, the end consumers are crucial players in the short-term. Energy conservation might not be the complete solution to the worlds energy problems but it is a stepping stone in bringing down the behemoth of energy consumption. Pakistan is no different and has gone through an energy crisis of its own in the last few years. Rising fuel prices have directly influenced energy costs and water scarcity might add to concerns in the years to come. The consumers best bet is to bring down domestic usage of electricity. It will directly impact your monthly electricity costs as well as contribute to a healthier world environment. Where does one start then? Low voltage lighting would be the first step in the right direction. Using energy saving bulbs instead of conventional incandescent bulbs can positively impact your monthly electricity costs in a number of ways. Energy saving bulbs offers a number of benefits such as: Energy Efficient: Compared to conventional bulbs, an energy saver bulb consumes less than one third of the electricity while producing the same amount of light. This can bring down the cost of lighting your home up to 80pc of the original cost. Long-lasting: An energy saver has an average lifespan 10 times greater than normal bulbs. Not only will it last longer, it will save you the cost and hassle of replacing your bulb frequently. A normal bulb is manufactured to have a lifespan of 750-1000 hours but an energy saver typically has a lifespan between 6,000 to 15,000 hours. Less heat producing: Energy saving bulbs are more efficient and produce less heat than standard bulbs, which can offer significant reduction in the load on cooling systems, resulting in concurrent savings in electrical power. A cooler room will require less energy to bring down room temperature, thus saving many units of energy. Environment-friendly: Since energy saving bulbs would last longer and save the cost of replacing them often, lesser waste would end up in landfills and fewer resources would be required to make bulbs, in terms of frequency. Not only would this help to reduce pollution but also cut down on the need for energy and result in an environment friendly country. An example to demonstrate as to how much energy one can save individually follows: at an individual level, a 60-watt bulb produces 10 lumens per watt consumed. Per years, a conventional bulb consumes 110 kilowatt hours of electricity (assuming a standard usage of 5 hours per day). On the other hand, an 11-watt energy saving bulb produces the same amount of light using only 20pc of the electricity consumed by a normal 60 watt bulb. Per year, the energy-saving bulb consumes only 20 kilowatt hours of electricity compared to the 110-watt consumed by a normal bulb, saving 90 kilowatt hours annually, or 80pc in net energy savings. Applying this calculation at a national level, if only 3 million households, less than one third of the total population in Pakistan, replace three regular light bulbs in their homes with energy savers, it can potentially save up to 400 megawatts of capacity annually. 'This would save the Government millions of dollar in infrastructure development, bring down the cost of electricity and considerably reduce the average electric bill in Pakistan. Energy conservation is the need of the hour and as responsible citizens, it is our utmost duty to contribute towards making Pakistan a more energy efficient country which would in turn contribute to improving our own lives and of our dear ones as well; in the future. Even the longest journey commences with a single step. Take your first step today with an energy-saver bulb. (This article is based upon research paper extracts by Philips Co. and Siemens Corporation. The writer is a research team member, presently engaged to conduct research on energy conversation measures)