|Energy wastage in buildings and transportation can be tackled
by learning from how resource wastage is tackled in manufacturing, with lean production techniques.
policy has however to be sensitive to the fact that older, less
efficient domestic buildings, although often in popular
conservation areas, are owned by rich and poor alike.
Where practicable, energy savings can be designed in to a
building from the outset. It is essential however, to have a
very good understanding of how the building's future inhabitants
are likely to want to use it. For
example, whilst it may be OK to house hotel guests and office
workers in air-conditioned but otherwise hermetically sealed
boxes, long stay hospital patients might prefer to be able to
occasionally open the windows.
Building designers need to get
'the balance right' for the building's intended users. Occupants need to be equipped with
the right tools, like local heating and lighting controls, to
support a 'lean energy mindset', suited to the way in which the
building is meant to service them.
Mechanisms can also be put in place to motivate building users to 'innovate' and propose ongoing energy-performance improvements, which can then be evaluated and possibly implemented, on a case by case basis.
Such 'mechanisms' can range from parents asking children for
their input with regard to energy-saving in the home, through to
major employers rewarding innovative energy saving solutions
proposed by their employees.
The above paragraphs can also
be adapted to transport. Older, less energy-efficient vehicles are
generally owned by poorer people. Fuel price rises are
increasingly forcing people to drive more frugally; use more
efficient vehicles and to avoid using a car at all when
Lean energy-minded transport
maintenance can have additional positive impacts. Take for
example the problem of over-hot underground trains. In a crowded carriage it may be that, at roughly 100 Watts each, the biggest source of heat are humans. However, how many non-human heat sources add to a stifling carriage's ambient temperature when
underground on a hot day? How many of these heat sources might be either
eliminated or seriously reduced over time with an appropriate 'zero heat waste' policy?
An increasing proportion of the
energy consumed within buildings is not to heat or cool them but
to sustain activities within them. Well designed buildings of
the future will allow users to switch electrical items off
totally when not in use, rather than leaving them on
In future buildings will be
designed to be more than just energy-efficient in themselves.
Buildings will also be designed to help the activities conducted
within them be as energy efficient as possible. This already
happens in part, in many commercial buildings, with intelligent,
task-based, heat light safety and access systems designed in from the outset.
Already 'intelligent' buildings
will however become increasingly intelligent, so that, for
example, 'hot-desking' becomes easier; remote workers log
into a more efficient 'virtual server' rather than their
desk-bound PC's, left on 24/7, and 'rentable space' is more
There are also a growing number
of 'design-in' and retrofit opportunities which can make
domestic buildings more energy efficient, not through their own
'thermal performance' but through how they facilitate more
energy-efficient practices. Examples include intelligent power
systems to bypass the energy sapping demands of electronic
devices otherwise left on standby 24/7; having a ventilated larder
instead of an oversized fridge, and simple systems for using rain-water
or grey-water, for flushing toilets and watering the garden.