Go Green? Yes, but Read this Article first
Written by Karl Grimsehl In July 2018, ennomotive launched a challenge that looked for solutions to minimize the accumulation and/or remove the sediment in a hydro power plant in a more efficient way. For 6 weeks, 85 engineers from 35 countries accepted the challenge and submitted different solutions. After a thorough evaluation, the solutions that best met the evaluation criteria were submitted by Leonardo Guzmán and Agustín Galetti, from Argentina, and Karl Grimsehl, from South Africa. In this article, Karl gives some insight about what he thinks works or doesn't work when companies and people try to go green. Dear reader– even though you found this article on internet it should not be taken as Gospel. It remains, to a certain extent, an opinion piece. The author has no wishes to sway anyone from their worldview, nor to impose his current worldview upon anybody – he will be content with a few grins and a people asking a few questions. So here it goes... As with most things in life, we humans tend to look for shortcuts. We love copy and paste and look for cookie-cutter solutions. Even more so with the advent of the internet – the first thing we do when we stumble upon a challenge is to reach our phones in search of an answer, and this is great! It gives us more time to do the things we really want to do (like spend time on the internet! 😊) The problem with this approach however is that we tend to lose some uniqueness, we shorten our ability to think and to ponder about a problem. We also tend to force solutions into areas where they just don’t quite fit. It’s like saying; my hands are cold – I’ve read that socks are good at warming extremities, I will thus wear socks on my hands. Sometimes however, you need to think for a while in order for you to find the best solution, the solution that will work best for the environment that you’re living in. For the next section of the article we will look at three classic environmentally friendly, green solutions or actions that an individual may take and try to evaluate them outside the cookie cutter mould.
Buying re-usable stainless steel straws.
Rushing to install a Solar PV system.
- When you boil water, do you fill up the entire kettle or do you only boil the amount of water you need?
- How often do you use the hot water tap for activities that does not need hot water?
- If you have those mixer taps with the single hot and cold water lever, do you leave the leaver in the middle where it will give you a mixture of hot and cold water, or do you leave the leaver on the cold side and only move it to the hot side when you need hot water?
- How diligent are you in switching off lights and appliances when not in use?
- Do you ever stand and ponder about your beverage in front of an open fridge door?
- Do you tumble dry all your clothes, or only use the tumble drier when needed?
- Do you iron everything, or only the items that require ironing (you don’t really need to iron your tighty whities)
Should I own an electric vehicle (EV)?
Have a look at your habits.
How will you charge the vehicle?
EV manufacturing emissions.
- Taken some time to measure your current impact on the environment, install energy monitors, log your traveling and have a look at the impact of your lifestyle.
- Next REDUCE – cut the fat and remove what you don’t need
- Measure the effects of your changes
- Only then should you start implementing green technologies, but before implementing remember to consider the total lifecycle implications of the technology, not only the short term impact.
- And lastly, Measure the impact of these technologies.
- Eco-profiles of the European Plastics Industry POLYPROPYLENE (PP) by I Boustead for PlasticsEurope, March 2005
- CO2 Emissions in the steel Industry, M. Kundak et al (2009)