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Strict renewables policy - hamstring or opportunity?
 Started by  GBP-Keith
 5 Nov 2008, 5:59 PM


As other forum users know, the Green Building Press publishes 'Green Building' magazine every three months. We have a rather strict energy use policy which limits our consumption of mains electricity to zero. However it always seems to go dull and windless just about the time when we begin the production work.
 
We have about enough electrical storage for three days but during these dull times we have to limit the times that our computers are used. I would be interested to hear how other businesses are facing the challenge of being a green business.
 
In theory we could look on this positively and take a well deserved break ever time doldrums weather comes around but it can be very frustrating at times.

John (Guest)
Doing without power for essential work needs strikes me as bonkers. How many customers will really tolerate the excuse of failure to deliver their order on time because the sun was not shining.
 
Businesses are by their very nature here to make money. Any business that fails to grasp that fundamental point is doomed to failure.
 
GBP-Keith
We have to start somewhere John and we assume that the readers of our publications will appreciate the concept of putting words into action.
 
Kathy
Maybe now is the time for us all to slow down and be more in tune with nature and the environment. Do we need to earn big bucks to be happy? From personal experience as a downshifter (some 8 years ago) I am so much happier with less stress and more time to walk and enjoy life. The vast reduction in earnings no longer bothers me as I enjoy living on less. I use charity shops if I do need any clothes etc, grow my own food, use my own logs for heating my own home, the list is endless - and I am so much healthier too!
 
Julian
Keith I think GBP readers do largely appreciate your ethos. I can certainly see how it could be frustrating to have to work within the restrictions you describe. But I think it's an exemplary business and one that many more of us will do well do follow. Besides that, isn't it just a little simplistic to say that "Businesses are....here to make money"? Sure enough many are - particularly those beholden to shareholders. But aren't there other models? The Co-operative for example seems fairly successfull. It clad its Manchester hq in photovoltaic panels - so not all just about profits.
Kathy - some very good points, thank you.
 
Agu (Guest)
john,
 
I can't help but feel that the ethos of which you talk is what has got us into the mess we currently find ourselves. This obession with continual growth, profit at all costs is wrong and hopefully will have to reasses itself now it has been proven not to work. Unfortunately, as it always seems to be in this situations, it wont heed it's own results and will try and move forward in the old model until something finally gives and we can have a different business system that works better
 
JohnB
I used to run a business teleworking from home, providing computerised accounting services to small businesses. As I rarely visited clients my carbon footprint was pretty low, but I had a network server running constantly to receive and process data, that used a fair bit of power. I never made my fortune, and learned that I'm not really motivated by money. When I escaped to the country I turned it into a part time business, where much of the time I was in the garden growing food when the sun shined, and working when it rained. With a cordless phone my clients didn't know I was weeding rather than sitting at my desk!
 
I'm not doing it at the moment, but would certainly look at ways of minimising power usage if I return to it in future, by using low powered equipment, altering working practices and educating clients that it's not a 24/7 service.
 
GBP-Keith
You've got that right JohnB. Home working is definitely
the green future and thankfully wise businesses (large and small) are now embracing it. A friend of mine moved to Wales to live in the countryside but kept his well-paid job with a big employer in England. For a couple of years he commuted every week and stayed in England, only coming home at weekends but now he very rarely goes to the office and does 95% of his work from a home-office.
 
Apparently everyone is happy - the employer can get him on the phone at any time or by video-link for meetings and he is not burdened with long commutes. he now has hardly any traveling costs.
 
Computer have changed opportunities for the work environment considerably we just need to find the best and most energy efficient ways of embracing the technology.
 
My Mac is a greedy beast so I never leave it running unless I am sat working on it. It consumes about 650watts.

 
daveg
daveg
Yes but are we not becoming slaves to the computer?
 
John (Guest)
Ethos or not, the law of averages suggest that those, and only those companies that provide top quality service and on-time will survive. As sympathetic as I am to the philosophy that Keith and any similar businesses are trying to portray/prove they needs to keep his eye firmly on the business bottom line and customer satisfaction (in the delivery, not the feelgood sense).

 
JohnB
"Yes but are we not becoming slaves to the computer?"
 
Or are they our servant? We can spend hours playing games and browsing forums, but we can also use them to free us to work where, when and how much we want.
 
I'm typing this from my motorhome travelling round the country. Without a computer I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with people, look for a new place to live, and acquire the knowledge I need to carry out my aims anywhere near as effectively.
 
daveg
daveg
Right-on JohnB. I recall seeing a programme a few years ago of a guy that had decided to live in a teepee (tipi) and right through the programme he was glued to his mobile phone checking his stocks and shares of something weird!
 
mark99
Better effeciency electronic devices should be used. Well if you are wondering about being Computer slave then you'll have to, to excel.
 
gareth.jones
Doing without power for essential work needs strikes me as bonkers. How many customers will really tolerate the excuse of failure to deliver their order on time because the sun was not shining.
 

 

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