Energy Efficiency

Cátia Carias's picture
Download our 12 most read articles from 2012
Cátia Carias
2012 has been a great year for us. Not because we have grown considerably: X&Y Partners is and will continue to be a small company. And not because there were significant advances in the areas we work on: renewable energies and clean technologies continue along a fast but somewhat rocky path; policies to address climate change are still timid; and the bulk of the work towards a more sustainable development still lies ahead us. 2012 was a great year for us because we took a decisive step towards sharing our knowledge.
Romeu Gaspar's picture
The greater good is a worthy motive to address climate change, but it’s not a particularly effective persuasion technique. Routine, reward and social proof work far better.
Romeu Gaspar
Simple actions like switching off the lights or turning down the thermostat can lead to substantial savings: studies suggest that behavioral change alone, without any technology update, can result in 5 to 20% carbon emissions savings. The human mind is however far more complex than any machine, and meaningful behavioral changes in this area have proven difficult.
Exhibit 1 – Behavior and technology based carbon emissions savings potential for an illustrative hospital and region
Exhibit 2 – Two examples of leveraging routine - weight loss programs and Durham Water’s social experiment
Exhibit 3 – Two examples of leveraging reward - Gainsharing and RecycleBank
Exhibit 4 – Two examples of leveraging social proof - Yelp and Opower
Catarina Veiga's picture
Yes, but probably not just yet. The latest iterations of the venerable internal combustion engine are still competitive, both from an environmental and an economical standpoint.
Catarina Veiga
The forecasts for global electric vehicle (eV) sales are undoubtedly ambitious – 2 million vehicles sold by 2020 – which reflects the high hopes that both manufacturers and governments are placing on this technology. So far, actual sales have been somewhat lackluster: in 2011 approximately 44.000 electric vehicles were sold, instead of the expected 66.000 units (Exhibit 1). It is not yet an immense difference, but it does raise some questions about the feasibility of the 2020 goal. In this scenario, should you, as a consumer or someone responsible for a company car fleet, buy an electric car?
Exhibit 1 – Global electric vehicle sales forecast for 2010 – 2025 (excludes electric scooters and bicycles)
Exhibit 2 – Comparison between the carbon footprint of a Volkswagen Golf 2.0 Diesel and a Nissan Leaf, for several countries
Exhibit 3 – Fuel consumption for eight vehicles in the same segment as the Volkswagen Golf
Exhibit 4 – Environmental and economical cost comparison for the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen Golf and BWM Series 1, for Portugal and Germany
Exhibit 5 – Savings/costs of choosing a Nissan Leaf or a BMW Series 1 over Volkswagen Golf
Romeu Gaspar's picture
A personal example of how creating an actual product, instead of merely packaging services into a product, can make a lot of sense.
Romeu Gaspar
Productization, or turning services into products, has been a big trend among professional services companies, and for good reason: clients get a more tangible offer and companies get to systematize and reuse their previous work. But what about making an actual, physical product? We did it, and maybe you should too. Read on.
Exhibit 1 - Flowchart for Carbon Analytics, a real-time carbon footprint monitoring tool
Exhibit 2 - Example of the Carbon Analytics interface
Exhibit 3 - Example of the Carbon Analytics interface
Romeu Gaspar's picture
Performance contracts are popular among ESCOs (Energy Service Companies), but they should also be used in other areas
Romeu Gaspar
If you want to reduce energy costs but cannot afford the required equipment upgrades, you’ll likely find an ESCO (Energy Service Company) willing to install everything for free, in exchange for part of the future savings. But if your company is services based, most likely the bulk of the costs are in human resources and in the supply chain, not in energy. Applying the same ESCO model to these areas can thus make a lot of sense.
Exhibit 1 - Considered carbon and cost reduction initiatives
Exhibit 2 - Correlation between environmental and economical benefits, for an illustrative hospital
Exhibit 3 - Cost and carbon footprint breakdown