Energy conservation – Low hanging fruit

We as human beings do things out of old behavior – habits – sometimes without reflecting over the logic of our behavior. I will present situations around energy saving behavior, which I have philosophized a lot about.

Are you familiar with the term “Low hanging fruit”? It means things that are easily reached, things that are available at closest reach.

I believe habits are formed because of the road of least resistance. In certain ways, things are simply easier. Therefore, there is a resistance to change a habit, a behavior.

And, if to change, there must be an certain experience of pain.

As a person I am a thinker – I can ponder about stuff… for a long time…

  • the logical sequence of whatever non-important processes
  • why some material things exist at all
  • behavior of people, never the least my own

Examples of behavior that saves energy, that all of us are familiar with, are:

  • a shorter shower.
  • turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • change the nozzle on the water tap & shower to a water saving one.

One of the thoughts that I keep returning to, is related to what simple measures, what simple changes in behavior could give humanity, as we know it, a big step forward in terms of energy conservation.

Just as a few examples:

  • In India, a lot of people cook food by burning fuel that generates a lot of pollution, such as particles and harmful gases
  • Could you, in the audience, think of something else?

To these examples I do not have a simple solution.

One factor to keep in mind is, here we talk about people without the means to buy cleaner fuel. But what if we talk about people who have the means to purchase cleaner fuel, we, whom have a choice?

I observe a lot of these behaviors – any of these familiar to you?

  • Cooking potatoes – with a much higher energy setting than necessary (dial).
  • Water tap left on running.
  • Saunas.

In Finland there are a lot of Saunas. These are usually heated 1/week. Perhaps not so economically to re-channel the heat in a private house – but what about a high-rise where people take turns – for example different days for women and men. Where the sauna is much larger + and working for a longer period.

I believe the only reason not to change behavior in these areas is a natural human resistance. Old habits die hard.

Whom of you does the following:

  • Keeping a lid on, when starting to heat up water.
  • If you cook eggs, do you use a smaller saucepan.
  • When cooking eggs, do you fill up the saucepan? (instead of 2 eggs, having 5)

I think a good way to make change in old habits is to inform why a change of behavior is important. Here my main points of steps anyone can take for energy conservation:

  • use the after-heat of the stove = turn off the stove earlier than when the food is ready.
  • if you cook food in oven, then also take the opportunity to bake that cake at the same time.
  • not wait for the oven to fully heat up; insert the food earlier. (the instructions on the package do not worry about your electricity bill)

Did you know:

  • that heating up an oven takes about as much energy, as keeping the oven on for 20 minutes after it has reached the set temperature?
  • that the potatoes do not cook faster at a higher dial setting. Water doesn’t get warmer than 100’C. The only effect is steaming off a heck of lot more of water.
  • in some cultures the water may be cut off for longer periods without prior notice. People respond by leaving the tap on, so as to know when the water is back in the house. Water and electricity doesn’t cost much, but somewhere many pumps are working.

The examples I have mentioned on habits around water, cooking on stove and using the oven, are places where I believe a great step in energy conservation could take place. Small steps as such, but together – many small rivers make the ocean.

The trick is how to educate people across the globe on their behavior on energy conservation. There are probably many other low fruits hanging, that are easy to pick. Let me know if you think of one!

The water tap, the water steam, lid and the eggs are things my wife has adopted from me. However, through great pain – of hers – and mine. From me, nagging all these years for the behavioral change.

For another topic, on great pain, I believe I will have one on what men would have gained from listening to their wives – last, but not least, on what energy would be conserved.


 

This was speech no.3 from the Toastmasters “Competent Communication Manual”. The objectives are to:

Organize speech to achieve general and specific purpose; Reinforce purpose with beginning, body, and conclusion; Project sincerity and conviction; Control nervousness; Strive to not use notes.


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About the Author.

Martin R.C. Andersson started out as a mechanical engineer, slowly developing a soft spot for project management in which he worked 10 years.
Although having resigned from a corporate career within project management, the soft spot he keeps alive through a keen interest in room environment treatment. By control of sound and light, looking to tweak for that noise-free listening… which should be a norm.
Values silence, and now and then solitude.
Thinks Mindfulness is a ‘state of being’ when work really gets done.
When thoughts flow – without disruption – to reach either a creative state or finish what’s at hand.

When the outside world is tuned out, performance is tuned in.
Feels best when Minimalism, Functionalism and Art come together, crossing paths.

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