Ah, the Energy Rant

6 10 2009

My mother used to tell me I ought to be a lawyer because I would argue and/or complain about everything.  I think I still get under her skin sometimes, even as she has passed her 75th birthday.  She SAYS she still likes me to visit anyway.  The thing is, my brain is hardwired to make everything as efficient as possible.  Perhaps this is due to my growing up on a large farming operation where there was always more things to do than time to do it.  Let’s see…, sounds like my present job.

Some past and present obsessions:

  • Save as much energy as possible, in the car, house, for clients
  • Time the approach to the red light and hope the dolt waiting at the red notices it turns green before it turns red again
  • Fill it as full as possible, but don’t spill!
  • Streamline office processes to save time
  • Load machinery, equipment, and engineers as full as possible to maximize productivity
  • Do email during meetings, waiting at red lights, standing in the grocery line
  • Fix causes of client complaints, like yesterday if I could
  • And don’t let a little snow on the road slow you down (mom really hated that one)

I cannot stand things that do not work reliably and well, and/or waste my time.  My computer, car, garden tractor, refrigerator, chain saw and so forth have to work well or they’re gone.  In general, you get what you pay for.  My cheap and crappy chainsaw is one exception.  I cut my dogs some slack once in a while.  They respond like West Point Cadets when there is food on the line.

I like to see people to do the right thing or better yet, convince them to do so.  I like to remove barriers to allow it to happen.  When policies or stonewallers get in the way, I like to go around or over them.  If that doesn’t work, there are plenty other lakes to fish.

In the world of energy efficiency and sustainability, there is plenty fodder upon which to rant.  So that’s what we will do.  Feel free to participate, unless you disagree with me.  No, really feel free to disagree.  I will respond to questions and requests for clarification, but there will be no cyber shouting matches and food fights.

There will be a weekly rant until I run out of things to rant about – which may never happen.

written by Jeffrey L. Ihnen, P.E., LEED AP



2 responses

7 10 2009
Greg Mischio

Rant away, Jeff! Look forward to hearing you vent – er, rant!

7 10 2009
Herb Hannam

I see LEED AP after the name. We have a leed building in Baraboo, WI. Has a designated hybred parking spot, as well as one for car pooling.

I’ve been around long enough to live thru the time that Honda made a Civic in early 70s with a 1300 cc engine that got an honest 50 mpg. Now we have conceeded to the point that we need to be “hybred” to get anything like this for performance? I would be willing to bet that if I pulled all the extra electric motors, batteries, inverters, and control gear out of the prius and just installed a solid 1300 cc coupled with a good manual transmission, I could easily replicate the efficency, especially with the improved aerodymnamics. The weight reduction alone would help. It might be a little slower getting to 60, but we do have better engine technologies that could probably fix that too. So when are we going to get off the latest fad, and start getting back to just plain solid engineering. Getting fleet average to mid 30s, without making every car pay the expense of two drive systems, would help a lot.

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