Tuesday 7th of May, 2013 by Daniel Koeppel, Managing Director (Driver of Change) at Daniel Koeppel & Associates Co., Ltd. for the Rotary Club of Bangkapi, Bangkok.
Energy conservation refers to reducing energy through using less of an energy service. Energy conservation differs from efficient energy use, which refers to using less energy for a constant service. For example, driving less is an example of energy conservation. Driving the same distance with a higher mileage/liter vehicle is an example of energy efficiency. Energy conservation and efficiency are both energy reduction techniques. Which one is more important or should they be applied together?
The presentation started with a short overview of current & recent challenges we face individually and in business, to bring conservation and efficiency in context with environmental sustainability:
Daniel then went on to examine the expressions “conservation” and “efficiency” in detail:
Conservation can be reached by asking oneself if a particular action or use is really required and or necessary. To go a step further one can make the statement that conservation goes hand in hand with the re-assessment of the value of aforementioned action or use. Do I really need it? Does it make me happy? (Reverence is the Gross Happiness Index of Buthan and the happiness of Amish people compared to regular US citizens) The interconnection between sufficiency and conservation was made since conservation is mostly a personal decision or an internal decision.
Efficiency is reached by doing a repetitive action utilizing a different approach or different tools. Therefor technology increases the efficiency. Here the interconnection was laid out between technology and efficiency. Technology is an external consideration.
A short detour into the “boomerang effect” or “positive feedback” pointed out that technology couldn’t always be looked at as the savior. (e.g. Energy consumption reducing LED bulbs and the Hong Kong Skyline)
Sustainability was explained with a 3 circle-containing diagram representing ecology, economy and society. Sustainability is the area where all three rings overlap. The same three circles are then renamed with efficiency, sufficiency and consistency or expressed in verbs:
Without sufficiency – there is no sustainability!
The presentation then proposed a list of possible solutions to address sustainability in one’s personal-, or business life.
For ones personal life three points in the intellectual sphere can bring change: These are learning, deciding and committing. Tactically it is recommended that one keeps a log of ones energy, water and waste generation first. The analysis of this data will point out areas of improvement. The subsequent implementation of such improvements however requires a life long commitment.
In business life the recommended strategic approach includes a SWOT analysis where sustainability or climate change is a major consideration. The detailed measuring of the current system in aspects such as energy, water and waste. The reduction in short-term employment contracts for top executives as well as the reduction of the so-called “90 day profit thinking” (quarterly profit earnings).
All these points above can easily be merged into a company policy or vision. Subsequent tactical recommendations include an environmental action plan addressing measurement analysis and potentially an environmental sustainability certification of the companies existing management system. It is crucial that the communication of the certification and the measurements is done in a tangible and transparent way.
The presentation came to an end by listing a few different viewpoints on policy level such as:
• Companies and individuals don’t pay the true cost for resources consumed (externalizing costs) àPolluter pays (OECD 1975)
• “Cradle to Cradle” and why does everyone need a washing machine?
• Decentralization of energy production (e.g. Denmark)
• Can we tax resource use rather than profits?