Embedded Energy

I picked up a copy of the Blueskin News last night. They are planning to build a bigger library building, and demolish the old one even though it’s on a different site.

The building is less than 20 years old, concrete and concrete block, in good nick. A classic example of ’embedded energy’.

What do I mean by that?  When the concrete turned up, it represented the building of the truck, it’s transport to New Zealand, and the energy used in that particular concrete trip. It represented a portion of the truck battery, the brake-pads, the driver’s boots. The concrete represented the building of the digger in the quarry, the energy used in the lime process, and a portion of the cement plant. All those things took energy, and it (as we have established here ad-infinitum) energy is a 200-year blip in historical terms.

This means that post-peak, all things representing used energy, will become more sought after in relative terms. Note I didn’t say ‘ more expensive’. That is because if you think it through, current fiscal systems can’t outsurvive peak energy , or not by much…..

Think of it as ’embedded energy’. Buy the building, buy the old used energy. It will become quite essential, if you cant buy any new energy.

I appreciate that our current crop of politicians, reporters and business folk (and of course, all economists) don’t / won’t get it. What was sad, was that this proposal came from Waitati. There is the expertise – and has been for 30 years – in Waitati to simply know better. It has the Energy Project, has some smart connections with the University, and is the site for the trial one-bladed windmill. Who is the drongo still in the dark ages?

Key, English and co have a partial excuse – they haven’t been told yet (not that ignorance is really an excuse) but Waitati?

Come on Alisdair!  Get with the programme. If we can’t set an example, and have solutions in hand, what chance the current crop of leaders when they turn in bewilderment for answers?  We know better than that. Use the building for something else, mothball it, but don’t demolish it. That’s just a waste of even more precious energy.


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