The energy division of IRTC had started its research activities in 1987 with its experiments of developing efficient smokeless chulhas (Parishad Aduppu). This was a seminal contribution to the Kerala society with implications in the health of women and in conserving the forest resources, apart from energy conservation. This model was replicated by different agencies in the State and outside in different forms. From the experiments on smokeless chulhas, IRTC accented more experiments in developing the Parishad Hotbox which also had a pivotal role in energy conservation in households. Hither to IRTC has distributed lakhs of hotboxes in Kerala through KSSP’s network. The energy division of IRTC has also the legacy of leading energy planning training to the local body representatives during the People’s Plan campaign. IRTC has initiated pilot power line mapping programmes in different local bodies.
During 1990s IRTC has undertaken several initiatives for household energy conservation through its experiments in developing CFL lamps and electronic chokes. It is worth mentioning that IRTC could undertake even a research programme about the impact of mass usage of CFL bulb in a circuit. As a part of these experiments, IRTC has established a well-equipped electronics laboratory. Since IRTC is a research organisation of KSSP, we have led a movement for the protection of Silent Valley natural forest. The energy division subsequently focused more on the eco-friendly small hydel projects. The vision was to prove that SHPs are viable in Kerala without much environmental degradation. With this vision, IRTC has prepared project proposals for Palakkad district panchayat and provided technical support to realize the Meenvallom Small hydroelectric project. This is the first small SHP project in India taken up by a district panchayat. The success of Meenvallom project has prompted the district panchayat to move on to another project in Palakkuzhy, which is mid-way of its completion. The division has also contributed its research experiences in the development of biogas devices in different forms. Recently, IRTC is involved in providing consultancy support to energy audit and green audit of different institutions.