A key element in green living is smart energy consumption. For this, one needs a simple yet practical plan. Good intentions often fade away when one needs to change old habits. To avoid this, commit to specific targets.
Over the next ten issues, we shall guide you on a step-by-step journey towards energy efficiency and converting to renewable sources. We only have one planet to live on. Earth needs all ecosystems to be in perfect balance and harmony. One way in which to contribute to sustained life on earth is by reducing the amount of energy we use and to switch to environmentally friendly energy sources. Along the way, brutal honesty will be needed to address some difficult and crucial questions. We will discover the correct approach to sustainable energy efficiency, while ensuring bottom-line improvement by means of the practical tools we provide.
We need to define what energy efficiency means to us and what we want to achieve. How do the changes in our environment, e.g. the increase in electricity tariffs and pollution caused by our misguided use of energy, drive our desire to be more energy smart?
Why do we seek renewable energy sources? If you want to improve your health, you first need to know your current state. Therefore, you visit the doctor for a check-up to determine the baseline (weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, fitness level, etc.). To become energy smart you also need to determine a benchmark of your energy usage to be able to compare that to what is considered best practise, or where you want to be.
The old saying, ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ holds true even when applied to becoming energy smart. There are various reasons why we need a plan to ensure achieving set objectives, such as ensuring an integrated approach between people, the environment and profit. We will consider different measures for making energy smart decisions, such as Best Practice, Carbon Footprinting and Energy Intensity.
Healthy living requires a holistic, integrated approach. Being energy smart also requires avoiding quick-fix solutions, especially decisions taken in isolation. You need to look at the nature of your daily life (private and/or business), how you use technology, which margin is needed, the degree to which habits need to be changed, and how easy/complicated it might be.
Sustaining smart energy consumption could be compared to running a successful marathon. We need to train diligently, follow a healthy, balanced diet, and mentally prepare ourselves. Our successful energy smart plan comprises 4 essential phases. The completion of each phase will avoid any ‘crash diets’ and ‘burnouts.’ Throughout the process, it is essential to keep an eye on what is happening around us, such as new solutions, new benchmarks and competitors.
We will investigate all possible options to take us from where we are to where we want to be. We need to probe aspects such as the size of the expected benefit, the time it will take to receive this benefit, the resources required and those available. This path is not for the fainthearted!
Commitment is needed to embark on the Energy Smart Marathon with all its challenges. As with most things worthwhile, it will require dedicated effort, training and discipline. Hopefully, this could be a fulfilling and enjoyable journey. As we reach our targets, you will enjoy a personal sense of achievement. The approach and methods used on this journey are also applicable to all aspects of life.
By Carel Venter
Carel Venter is a business strategy and enterprise development advisor with many years of experience in organisational alignment, productivity, energy efficiency and power quality.