Automating your energy or environment management system

Do you know anyone who is so busy they don’t have time to improve their systems?

It’s a common sight amongst my clients. Very smart and very busy people who work very well with the energy or environmental management systems they have.

Systems that require lots of manual data entry. Or many people to gather data into spreadsheets. Perhaps they’re still transcribing figures from paper invoices.

Working well with what you have isn’t enough these days. It’s the 21st century. There’s a better way - automation.

It’s effective. It will pay for itself many times over. And it’s not as hard as you think.

Get in touch. I’ll be glad to talk to you about some case studies where precious money, time and effort are saved every day thanks to automation.

Dealing with rats and mice in your Greenhouse and Energy reporting

Dealing with rats and mice in your Greenhouse and Energy reporting

If you are responsible for Greenhouse and Energy reporting (especially in Australia) you’re no doubt familiar with the “rats and mice” problem.

In my work with a name brand international corporate, I identified that over 99% of their scope 1 emissions and over 90% of their scope 2 emissions came from just two of their 12 facilities.

This means they have been spending a lot of time and effort collating immaterial electricity, gas, fuel and other data every year. These are the “rats and mice” - small annoying things that require a lot of effort despite their small size.

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme has a couple of remedies to this problem: percentage reporting and incidental emissions.

These allow you to measure these small items in one year and apply estimates for them over the following four financial years. These estimates require some statistical rigour but it’s certainly manageable.

This can save you a large amount of reporting effort with a very modest investment.

Take a look at your most recent NGER report. Do you have a rodent problem? Get in touch and I can help you with your pest control.

The benefits of solitude

The benefits of solitude

Stuck? It might be time for some true solitude.

I’m currently reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism. One key part of the book that resonates strongly is its emphasis on the benefits of solitude.

Solitude isn’t just time alone. It’s giving your mind a break from people, inputs, music and other stimuli.

Why would you want to do this? Aren’t there benefits to our always on, interconnected world? Yes there are, but like anything, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing.

Our minds work on multiple levels. One level is adept at processing and interpreting input and interactions. Another, deeper level requires things to be much quieter.

Have you ever been stuck on a project or problem, only to find the answer comes to you as you’re falling asleep, in the shower, or exercising? This is where solitude helps you. These just happen to be the rare situations when people are not connected to devices.

It’s actually quite hard at first. You’ll find your mind is desperately craving stimuli. It’s hard to focus for long.

But in time, you’ll start to focus for longer. And start to reap the benefits of those deeper thoughts and insights. Effectively, you’re engineering more chances for those “falling asleep” breakthroughs.

Check out Cal’s book - it’s excellent.

Finding time to learn even when you're really busy

Finding time to learn even when you're really busy

Learning new skills when you’re the middle of your career isn’t easy.

I’m in my 40s, married with three young boys. Almost all my time outside of work is spent with my family - playing, cleaning, cooking, doing school runs etc.

I’m not a data scientist but I realised when founding Sustainable Data that I’d need to update my skills, specifically in machine learning / AI, Python, AWS and related areas.

So how to find the time to learn? First, go to the most efficient sources so you’re not wasting time. The web is full of free information, but I’ve found MOOCs such as Udacity, Udemy, DataCamp and Coursera have been cheap, high quality and gathered together everything I needed to learn in one place. No wasted time crawling the web for bits and pieces.

I’m currently working through the Udacity Intro to Deep Learning with Pytorch course (it’s fantastic).

Second, I have dropped almost all online time wasters. I’m off Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and have cut LinkedIn down to two short sessions each day.

I’m also realistic about how much true Deep Work I can get done. 4 hours a day seems to be the limit. With focus you can get more done in that time than most people do in a full work day.

Take a good hard look at how you use time. Manage your energy. And keep learning!

Early feedback can make or break your business idea

Early feedback is so critical.

Those first few people who review your business idea, project plan, or new venture. If you’re unlucky, just a handful of nitpickers (who were never going to be in your target market) can knock you down so badly you’ll give up.

It’s vital you pick the right people in those first few feedback sessions. People who are in your target market. People who can give unbiased comments, either too kind or too harsh.

I’d write more about this but Seth Godin summarised it so well I’m just going to quote him here:

If you’ve created something that will delight and astound 10% of the marketplace, there’s a 90% chance that the first person who encounters your work will dislike it. He might even hate it. In fact, if you do the math, you’ll see that there’s more than a 70% chance that the first THREE people will hate it. And if you give up then, you’ve just walked away from serving the people you set out to serve.

(by the way if you don’t already get Seth Godin’s daily emails you really should).