Is technology making your life and business more sustainable?
When you get right down to it, there’s only so much that you can do in your home to be more sustainable.
You can change behaviour, you can introduce new technology but it’s only really when you change your whole system that your consumption of planetary resources can be radically reduced.
I’ve struggled at home in a duplex flat to reduce resource consumption. We’ve cut down on unnecessary water use such as when showering, washing dishes and watering the lawn. But like everyone else we are still living with an antiquated toilet system that requires huge amounts of water to discharge waste. I am a coffee drinker and it disturbs me every time I have to clean out the coffee plunger with water.
We’ve been able to cut electricity consumption through a more energy efficient geyser (thanks to the old one breaking down). But we need electricity for cooking and heating water.
At least I’ve been able to bring some new Energy efficiency technologies into the house such as our LG fridge and LG washing machine.
But it’s become increasingly difficult to reduce electricity consumption. Now that one works from home you need to charge your laptop, cell phone and various lights for the ESKOM blackouts. Fortunately, now we have a small gas cooker to prepare meals during the blackouts. It uses a minimal amount of energy. But the gas cooker is a manufactured product and they take a lot of energy to make.
Then there’s my car. Sadly I was forced to sell my car that I kept for 16 years because the fuel consumption of 14 L per hundred kilometres is now no longer viable. This car will be replaced with a more energy efficient vehicle.
Businesses face similar challenges in reducing consumption of energy and other resources. With the high level of blackouts, businesses have to run diesel generators. The irony is that as businesses over the past 10 years of continuous power disruptions have had to invest in diesel generators and now the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries is charging a carbon tax on electricity generation. The government is not double taxing diesel purchases because they already have taxes bedded in the price of diesel.
To reduce energy consumption businesses have introduced energy efficient motors, energy-efficient drive systems, automation systems and smart technologies including building automation systems where, for example, lights are switched off immediately when one leaves a meeting room.
Industrial automation in some instances has gone much further with process automation systems that monitor plant-wide devices switching them on and off when required.
Large industrial plants are also looking at introducing solar plants because of the unreliability of electricity supply by ESKOM and the ever-increasing price of electricity.
In this economy it make sense for households to reduce consumption of resources to lower costs. The household budget is getting tighter and tighter. Some smart companies despite the down economy are continuing to keep their focus on reducing resource consumption which is ultimately expressed in higher profit and doing good for the planet.