Posted by: Peter Scott | December 28, 2006

Energy saving

People that know me will know that I am not the sort of person who likes squandering the planet’s resources.

We use low energy bulbs in as many of our light fittings as possible (that is where safety is not compromised), all of our domestic computers have LCD displays and our LCD HD-TV system is never left on standby overnight. We always buy low energy consumption appliances even if we will never recover the price premium over the life of the product. We shun tumble driers. When I power down this PC it switches off all of the peripherals (that is OFF and not standby)

But sometimes it is hard to live to this ideal. I have been looking at visiting Edinburgh in the spring and have found that today I can book a budget flight from Birmingham to Edinburgh for four pence each way + tax (that’s less than 10 cents, my American readers!) so tax inclusive that is under 40 GBP (80 USD) and beats the train by a large margin, it even beats me driving in my own car all the way. That is so wrong!

Also wrong is the need of an e-friend to commute each week between Washington State and New York City – that’s 14 hours of wasted airline fuel. Surely these days of virtual presence have pushed us to a economy where productive work happens at a far lower environmental (and lifestyle) impact than having to be in a room many miles from home with a host of other people also many miles from home.



  1. just a random hit, pete… hope you have a happy holiday. peace.

  2. unreal how in this day and age tele-commuting is still not a reality!
    I’ve recently thrown away a chance to get a better paid job for the simple convenience of being only 15 minutes drive time from home in this one.

    It is beyond me how companies still insist on the good old “bums-on-seats” mentality for IT and yet seem to be so open to off-shoring or outsourcing their infra-structure.

    I’d gladly take a pay cut to be able to work from home or within walking distance of it for most of the week: it is insane how this is still a “no-no” with IT.

  3. I think there’s a happy medium somewhere. (I certainly hope so, as I’m the e-friend in question — thank goodness it’s only a few-month project.)

    Some conversations and issues really are best addressed in person. Ditto for the trust-building that needs to occur in the early stages of a project — with customers and between team members. (And to be honest, I like eating lunch with my coworkers every once in a while.)

    Having said that, I can’t conceive of a reason to be “in the seat” every single week. We have so many tools these days: conference calls, webex, messaging, virtual white boards — gosh, what am I forgetting — all designed to allow us to work together, apart.

    Surely there’s a way to hit that balance……

  4. You are right… it is all about balance. Early days in a project with a new team and a new customer the major activity is building trust, and I know you have blogged about trust in the past. But as the project moves towards some form of delivery the need to be sitting with the customer reduces. They trust you to do a good job, can speak to you whenever they have to so that physical presence is less important.

    Noons – I know what you mean – some organisations need to control all activity they pay for. But when office rents outweigh the price of connectivity things may change.

  5. Peter,

    You could check out this, if you haven’t already:

    I do not know about it personally – I saw the link to it on this blog: (see the entry on “working from home”).

  6. I agree. I see too many people point fingers at politicians and business leaders while they continue to drive their fuel-guzzling SUVs everywhere they go. Makes them feel better I guess. Personally, I walk or take the bus everywhere I go, and still feel guilty about the

  7. Pete, look at webmeetings, offering video face-to-face plus audio, text chats – can handle any type of work situation where the bandwidth is sufficient to not cause buffering problems – so now we CAN all work from home, happily and creatively focused.

    Geoff Dodd

  8. Pete,

    I have a team leader and trainer doing Singapore Marketing, mostly Affiliate training sessions for global participants.

    Imagine the jet fuel and carbon emissions we’re all saving – 1,500 of us – by NOT having to go to Singapore for these sessions. We’re using webmeetings that cost a small flow of electrons along wires and a few satellite links… the future has arrived for communications and we’re in the middle of a ‘revolution’ in this respect. Keep up a great blog.

    Geoff Dodd
    Perth, Australia

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