Saturday, 23 April 2011

Where does the data come from

A number of European countries are under the financial 'microscope' as they have either been 'bailed out' by the IMF/EU or considered likely candidates for future bailing.

Spain is one such candidate ... and the Prime Minister,Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has suggested that in future wages will be linked to increases in productivity.

I just wait to see who does the measuring .. and the methods - and data - they use.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Give them incentives

Dow Chemicals is investing $100 million in making its manufacturing operations more energy-efficient ... and is using an internal competition to select the divisions and plants that will receive the investment.

When (as here) the result is both good for the company and has an altruistic side or a 'greater good', this is a useful way of involving the workforce in the decision-making process.

The competitive element gives people an incentive to think about where energy can be saved or conserved.

However, if all the benefit accrued to the company (rather than some to society more widely), the incentive would have to be more direct ... with some reward going to the individuals or teams submitting 'winning' entries.

Incentives have become rather unfashionable ... but they still work ... but, of course, you have to be absolutely clear that the incentive you are offering will drive behaviour in the direction you expect!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Its all about energy

Energy productivity is important. Energy costs us money ... and the prices of energy have been rising rapidly in the last few years.

However, we also know that using energy has all sorts of 'side effects' - in terms of creating pollution, in terms of warming the planet ... and, of course, in terms of using up the remaining stocks of fossil fuels.

The Japanese nuclear disaster means it is now much harder to contemplate nuclear power as a contribution to future energy strategy ... so while we look at alternatives, we have to use less of what we have.

Can the planet afford you to use a 2 litre car to take your daughter to school? Can it afford you to fly strawberries halfway around the world just so you can have them out of the local season? Can it afford you (me?) to have your PC on all day just so you can check your emails every few hours?

All of these problems can be addressed by technology .. but shouldn't they be addressed by us thinking a bit more carefully about our priorities .. and about our energy productivity?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

China moves to save energy

The Chinese government will publish and implement new building energy efficiency design standards, which are growing closer to the world advanced level, according to a recent meeting on building energy efficiency in Beijing.

During the 12th Five-Year Plan, Beijing will aim at the international advanced level in building energy efficiency and the city plans to promote the standard through legal means as well as economic and administrative methods.

Sui Zhenjiang, director of Beijing Municipal of House and Urban-Rural Development, said that the step will boost the transformation of building energy efficiency, the development of green buildings and the promotion of renewable energy sources and new energy use.