To start solving environmental problems, first you have to face them!
We all agree that we need to start improving our environmental performance – but where to start? Every little thing we can think of seems to be ridiculously small compared to such global problems as global warming or greenhouse gas emissions.
And yet, even a 1000 miles journey starts with one step. Sometimes, the first step is the most important. Because then the second step becomes the most important and so on. Before long you find yourself on the path.
In one site of this company, the management team asked itself: how can we improve our energy performance. They listed obvious questions:
- Why is the site consuming energy at night when there is nobody there?
- What obvious wasteful habits do we have?
- How well do we manage the thermostats during the day?
- Could we switch all lighting to LED?
- Are our mechanical processes as performant as they could be?
And so on. When they totaled up the potential they were surprised to see that they could hope for a 40% energy consumption reduction. Forty percent.
Environmental performance is a tricky problem because it can’t be solved in one big bang – there is no magic bullet. Energy performance and waste reduction are the outcome of many many small actions. Which is why the kaizen “100 on percent changes rather than one 100 percent change” is the best way forward.
Before solving problems, we need to face problems and find problems. When we’ve found the problem and faced it, solutions come naturally – this is how humans both cause problems through thoughtlessness, and solve them through curiosity and creativity.