Month: November 2008

A Hitchhikers Guide to an Oraganisational Esperanto

Download a copy of my recent Pecha Kucha presentation at a construction sustainabilty event, the logic of which applies to any organisation.




Dave and Chevron Oil

This is not a blog about ‘Peak Oil’, taking the view that this now is a given, give or take a few years. The reality is on the ‘Oil Curve’ page.

In the Economist’s ‘World in 2009’ David O’Reilly, CEO of Chevron Oil in effect reflects this fact and the need that this blog is trying to address; to enable the reduction in the resource intensity of all products, reducing the ‘loss to society’ in their, creation, use and disposal – in effect continually improving their ‘quality’ – a lesson lerant by Taiichi Ohno of Toyoya in the early 1070’s


‘Dave’ O’Reilly first published this letter in 2005, a fact reported on at 

“It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil,” notes Chevron Corporation’s two full-page ad that began appearing in July in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Financial Times and elsewhere. “We’ll use the next trillion in 30,” the ad continues, thus quietly admitting to the Peak Oil that the industry has not previously disclosed.

“One thing is clear: the age of easy oil is over,” the ad reveals in a folksy letter from “Dave,” Chevron’s Chairman and CEO David J. O’Reilly. Most Americans are still unaware of the pending Peak Oil or try to deny the tremendous impact it will have upon us. Chevron proudly presents itself as “the Good Guy” by informing the public of the lessening supply of petroleum at a time when the demand is soaring, especially in China, India, and other industrializing countries.”

The Earth may have another 30 years, more or less, of a dwindling supply, which will be increasingly difficult and expensive to extract. I wonder what Chevron’s studies reveal will happen to civilization during that time. When they say that “easy” oil is over, how difficult do they think our petroleum-dependent lives will become as a result?

A presentation on the latest International Energy Agency Report can be found at


Green consultants risk ‘witch doctor’ label

If you need to assess the quality of ‘sustainability’ consultants, then perhaps that is what sustainabilty is all about – quality – working to continually reduce the losses in systems and processes!

See Construction Sustainability – The Journey Continues below


WSP’s sustainability head calls for professional body to maintain quality and credibility

Sustainability consultants are in danger of becoming the “witch doctors” of the industry, a leading green engineer has warned.

Prashant Kapoor, head of sustainable planning and research at WSP, said the green industry needed a professional body like the RICS or RIBA to champion quality and consistency. Otherwise, he said, sustainability risked being viewed as an “alternative medicine”, not a mainstream practice.

He said: “There are many people who say they’re sustainability consultants. If the field is going to have credibility, there must be a professional code of conduct.

Digital Photo Frames – Service or Waste?

In the drive to reduce the resource intensity of products and services, are digital photo frames the evil they might at first seem?

In effect they can be seen as reducing the resource intensity of many processes to zero in the delivery of the service of viewing captured images, conveniently and at low energy intensity. (a presence detector might be a useful addition?)


Reducing Resource Intensity – Thank an Engineer

Applied Ingenuity

Check out the premiere of the “Thank an Engineer” short video series from Texas Instruments. These short spoofs demonstrate what the world would be like without the many engineering marvels you’ve been a part of creating.

We, at TI, wanted to send a quick “Thanks” your way and maybe get a laugh out of you while we were at it. We’re looking for ideas for the next video, so post your great idea on what you think the world would be like without engineering innovations. 

The Knowledge Vine

The Email Equivalent of ‘Word of Mouth’

The Knowledge Vine is an extremely simple and powerful new way of using email using a single sentence email format. It allows you to tap into the knowledge of other professionals in the same business or interest sector as you.It is free. A measure of its success is that no-one has unsubscribed from the system since it started in October 2006.

Four Rules of Use

Rule 1
You are only allowed to make postings of one sentence

Rule 2
The sentence must be a question

Rule 3
Users to reply only to the person asking the question

Rule 4
No commercial advertising, or offers of services, or products etc

Go to or from sidebar

Construction Sustainability – the Journey continues

 Today I attended an energy conference in Manchester and picked up the latest edition of Arups A2 Magazine. Alan Belfield says in his editorial ” And why is Arup any better placed than others to advise on the future? We believe it stems from our core values which place ‘quality’, an ‘holistic’ approach and social impact at the heart of everything we do”. Peter Head, on page 16 says “we need a sustainable way of living where the global economy is in harmony with the size of the eco-system that supports it” and on page 27, Michael Heseltine says “competitiveness is about a million different, tiny things accumulating into excellence. This is the essence of the Japanese success”

I venture to suggest that this is  the ‘one planet equation’ and the concept of resource intensity outlined on this blog, and that quality thinking on a systemic level is the way to deliver it. My ‘opinion piece’ below published in the may edition of Building Services Journal emphasises this. Of course the logic applies to any organisation.