A dead Belgian surrealist painter has much in common with the aims of an energy manager.
When René Magritte, famously wrote –
“This is not a pipe”
he challenged perceptions of reality.
with the words - “Ceci n'est pas necessaire”.
“This is not necessary”
The absence of an exclamation mark is because this is not challenging – in fact it is a massive understatement.
Not only is waste not necessary, it must stop – now !
We should not ask challenging questions, but challenge through action.
The energy manager has the role (is paid to) disrupt pre-conceptions with a passion.
So instead of asking -
Can I switch it off ? - Just Do it !
Test the fundamental hypothesis that you are in charge of energy - or get your ass kicked ! The bigger failure is the failure to find out !
There are very, very few comfort processes that cannot be investigated actively like this.
I grant the exceptions of the operating theatre, and so on where caution is required - so no getting lawyered-up because we are all liable – so deal with it, get used to it , Embrace it !
To say to yourself “Can I turn it off ?” is a submissive question – and dumb...
To ask “can I ? ” – unlike “may I, goes as far as to assume we are incapable of action before going on to concede authority. So with that simple question – comes defeat, before action.
If this sounds too radical let's conduct a four step thought experiment ...
- Go into a small house and turn the boiler or furnace off and watch what happens !
- When you get bored ask for a cup of coffee.
- For most of the year the owners will not notice "coldness" for several hours – or days !
- Once owners ask what you are doing (sitting there doing nothing) tell them that your job is to find how long it is viable to do nothing while being paid for it – BECAUSE that is what the energy they were spending until now had been doing !
So the job of the energy manager is to prove the boundaries - and note that to prove means to test, not to theorize about them.
This idea can be applied even more effectively in big buildings.
- Firstly people often do not know that heating or cooling is on in the first place.
- Secondly larger buildings may have greater thermal mass and can hold their heat for days rather than minutes.
Finally, when you have tested the situation under today's conditions, go ahead and find out what happens under all conditions, at all times of day and night.