Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reader Feedback on "Unintended Costs and Consequences" and Design

One thing is almost always true when someone writes a comment on a DOD Energy Blog post: it's often right on the mark and from a person with a heck of a lot more wisdom and experience than me. That seems to be the case again with a note received this morning from former Army and RMI vet Karl Rábago of The Woodlands, Texas: 
The piece you posted on Unintended Costs and Consequences got my attention. But it took my thinking in a different direction - probably the result of a few years spent at Rocky Mountain Institute. This seems an issue of bad design. Perhaps if energy efficiency (or at least the ability to power down) had been a key performance metric for the systems? At RMI, we used to say that all the really good mistakes are made on the first day - meaning that good design is key. I wonder if the types of systems described in the article could be cost-effectively retrofitted to allow even more energy savings and better performance?
In many ways, it's the first day (day one) for getting energy security strategy and energy efficient design baked in. We've been living with systems designed for another time and an oil rich world and continue to pay for them in fuel, transportation and force protection costs. Modifications may help some of the legacy systems (new engines, winglets, etc.) but ensuring the next tanker/ship/generator/tactical vehicle/facility is designed for today's and tomorrow's world is the job of right now. 

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