Paul Birkeland

Paul Birkeland

Posts by This Writer

9 years 8 months ago

This is the fourth in a series of posts I am writing to discuss how a firm can both take control of its energy use, AND engage and empower its workforce in the process. In my last post, <a href=” http://www.justmeans.com/Harnessing-Tiger-Getting-Work/13592.html”> Getting to Work</a>, I outlined the Energy Leader’s four fundamental tasks in implementing a Strategic Energy Management System. In this post, I am going to explain and discuss the Energy Performance Indicator.

The Energy...


9 years 8 months ago

Well, the Coast Guard was called in to contain the Gulf oil spill within minutes. This is probably more due to a difficult-to-hide blast than anything else. Now the Navy has been called in. And the Air Force. With the oil slick approaching seriously sensitive and vital wetlands on Louisiana's coast, we should see the National Guard, and maybe even the Army called in soon. So there are chapters yet to be written on this one, and not a few surprises yet to descend upon us I'm sure. But let's put those aside for the moment and think about what the final chapter of this oil slick should, might, or will...


9 years 8 months ago

This is the third in a series of posts I am writing to speak to Corporate Social Responsibility Directors and other corporate officers about energy. In my first post, <a href=” http://www.justmeans.com/Harnessing-Tiger-Managing-Energy-for-Organizati...”> Managing Energy for Organizational Gain</a>, I explained why a Strategic Energy Management System belongs in a CSR portfolio. I’d like to write today in a general way about what the Energy Leader is going...


9 years 9 months ago

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our society’s structure sometimes exacerbates our emissions production, and how there are probably a lot of “win-win” situations to be realized if we just looked for them. For example, when they opened up carpool-only lanes on the Oakland Bay Bridge years ago, and made them available at a much reduced rate, they started seeing “spontaneous carpools.” One would find small knots of commuters at nearby freeway entrances. Drivers, anxious to get across the bridge or get the reduced rate, would pick up a passenger to qualify as a carpool, and enter the...


9 years 9 months ago

Few people realize that Mother’s Day started out as an anti-war protest. That’s right! Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in1870. The Mother's Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe's feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level. It was a radical call to action, a call to change the world. It reads in part:

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking...


9 years 9 months ago

Massachusetts has committed itself to achieving a statewide reduction in electricity use of 2.4 per cent annually, and a statewide reduction in natural gas use of 1.15 per cent annually, for three years. This isn’t just a goal, it is a mandate written in the Green Communities Act passed by the legislature in 2008, and backed by $1.6 billion in incentives. The Green Communities Act identified energy efficiency as the state’s “first fuel,” meaning that to the extent possible, energy demand growth will be met by energy efficiency in other places.

The $1.6 billion comes...


9 years 9 months ago

This is the second in a series of posts I am writing to speak to Corporate Social Responsibility Directors and other corporate officers about energy. In my first post, <a href=” http://www.justmeans.com/Harnessing-Tiger-Managing-Energy-for-Organizati...”> Managing Energy for Organizational Gain</a>, I explained why a Strategic Energy Management System belongs in a CSR portfolio. I’d like to write today about how to choose an Energy Leader.

...


9 years 9 months ago

The New York Times ran a fascinating article today on the prevalence of waste to energy facilities in Europe, and why they don't seem to have caught on in the US. Waste to energy facilities used to be called "incinerators" of course. But modern plants resemble the old incinerators as much as an egret resembles a duck. The Times reports that Denmark has 29 such plants in a country of 5.5 million people. In the US, a nation of 300 million people, there are only 87 trash-burning power plants, and almost all were built at least 15 years ago. No new waste-to-energy plants are being...


9 years 9 months ago

This is the first in a series of posts I am writing to speak to Corporate Social Responsibility Directors and other corporate officers about energy.

I feel strongly that Strategic Energy Management should be a part of any CSR program. Doubt it? Consider the emissions impact on the planet and our communities. Consider the ongoing need to send men and women into battle to protect energy supplies. Consider the communities worldwide being devastated by fossil fuel extraction. If this isn't a case for including energy in your CSR program, then your program had better include a means to get...


9 years 9 months ago

Metro, a regional government agency in Portland, OR, has done us all a favor. They conducted the first ever greenhouse gas inventory of the tri-county Portland area, and the results are a bit surprising. It turns out that driving cars and heating homes aren't the region's biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. It's the "stuff" that is made, consumed, and thrown away that generates the largest GHG emissions.

According to Metro, three activities - manufacturing products and food, moving freight, and managing wastes - produce almost half the...


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