Sometimes I question the wisdom of Techno Wizardry. I’m not alone.
I live in a high rise apartment building. All year long I have my windows open venting the vast amounts of heat that are pumped into my apartment every day. Even with the windows open it is normally uncomfortably hot. The temperature outside must fall below 20 degrees for me to shut the windows. I have no control over the heat in my unit. The amount of heat that is literally going out of my windows is huge.
I have never been able to understand the need to use such immense amounts of energy to a provide heat I don’t need. It’s upsetting. I felt very alone. Was I the only one who could see the waste?
It turns out I wasn’t alone. The building has hired an engineer, designer and contractor to rebuild the entire heating system. They have also found lots of other work to do … what a surprise. The cost of the project runs into the millions of dollars.
Yesterday, I was talking to a neighbor who asked the contractor what the purpose of all the work was. The contractor’s response was firm and immediate. Energy Efficiency.
My neighbor correctly asked the contractor, “couldn’t we just turn off the heat when it gets too hot?” No response. End of conversation.
Although the building will be more Energy Efficient, will it be more financially fit? What is the payback period in energy saved for the money we are spending? It is doubtful this project will ever have a higher return on investment than simply turning off the heat when the temperature rises.
I thought, how often do we do this sort of thing? Find some super fancy solution to a simple problem? How often do we spend lots of time, money and effort to create an elaborate solution to a problem when an easy fix will cure the ailment?
In this world of Techno Wizardry it is all too easy to get carried away by elegant programs peddled by snake oil salesmen. Stay focused on the solution to the problem and you will find an efficient, cost effective way to solve the problem. If you want to add lots of bells and whistles please have fun doing it. After all it is your money. Just remember to deal with the problem before adding the extra gizmos and gadgets.