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Question

When people talk about sustainability, there are many things that come to mind. What does sustainability mean to you?

Jake Maruschok's picture
Owner and President Tenergy LLC

I am the owner of Tenergy LLC - The only energy expert providing Total Energy Solutions for sustainably-minded leaders. Visit us at www.tenergy-solutions.com My degree is a BS in Energy...

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Sustainability, to me, is resource dependant operations do not utilize a finite resource or endure maintenance costs and difficulties overbearing the usage continuity.

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 13, 2021

Lean management. I like it

La sostenibilidad para mí es encontrar el equilibrio entre la naturaleza y los servicios que obtenemos y el ser humano

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 8, 2021

For those, like me, that needed a translation: 

Sustainability for me is finding the balance between nature and the services we obtain and the human being

Great answer, Danilo!

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 8, 2021

I agree 100%. It feels like sometimes that the human element is overlooked when it comes to sustainability. Humans are capable of literally moving mountains and we will always find more ways to innovate while reducing waste and improving quality of life. Great input Danilo!

Sustainability means you never create pollution and you don't depleat a resource. This is best done with Renewable Energy. Building very efficient buildings using all passive and active Solar is a great start. Then using only very efficient and long lasting LED lights is a great next step. They are?also very long life lights. 

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 8, 2021

Removing waste is key. The more waste that a facility or process removes, the more the energy efficiency is improved

A virtuous combination associated with low emissions and energy efficiency  packaged in a solution that is compatible with the client's technical, financial and management requirements.

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 8, 2021

Exactly. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each customer solutions should be tailor made in order to eliminate unnecessary waste

In my opinion, sustainability means, not to repeat all the failures of the industrial age by exhausting all available resources and leaving devastation behind when "the job" is done. Continued use, repurposing, transformation of all available assets for future value generation is key for a comprehensive sustainablity approach.

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 8, 2021

Great insight. Logging industries in the US and Canada are good case studies for this. For every tree logged, an average of 5 are planted in its place to replenish the area.

Resilience is when there is confidence in the future. Yes, a lot comes to mind, depending on the month of the year, and on the problems that have to be solved. For me personally, sustainability means that everything is going according to plan.

For example, at work, it means that all the necessary work on the prevention of equipment and auxiliary means is performed perfectly. As a heating manager for the housing stock, as well as education and medical institutions, sustainability is needed 24/24 during the entire heating season. How stable the service we are presenting was seen in the spring after the end of the heating season. I can assure you that there have been no supply disruptions over the 15 years of the company’s management.

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 8, 2021

Absolutely! Proper planning and execution is key. If a project or system is too big or too small, waste is generated due to cost, efficiency, and comfort.

While sustainability can be quite elastic in perception ranging from recycling waste to solving world hunger, for me it is about 4 broad pillars -  energy, water, material and controlling temperature rise. Everyone has a stake in managing each of these in their won context - corporations, citizens and governments. While everyone has jumped to the bandwagon the approach to contribution and path to sustainable living is still unclear - the journey has just started.

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Jake Maruschok on Sep 8, 2021

Agreed, all stakeholders should at least limit their waste!

I think about sustainability in the context of the fact that for the moment the human race has only one place to live.  Anything that we do collectively that consumes resources that can not be replaced is the opposite of sustainability.  At some point in the far distant future the sun will go out.  Until then the sun is the closest thing that we have to an unlimited power source.  Solar and wind are creatures of the sunlight that hits the Earth. Using that sunlight and using the wind are the best things that we can do for now to ensure that the Earth will remain a place where the human race can live. It is also the reason to always make the sustainable choice when possible in whatever we chose to do. Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Your great grandchildren and beyond will thank you.

For me, sustainability is the process where we can use something and maintain it at a certain rate. As it applies to our environment, sustainability means that we can use our natural resources and maintain it at a certain rate or level in good condition.

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

Consistency is key. With solid baseline data, we can then improve to meet a new and improved baseline.

I think that sustainability is the way you develop a system or a method that maintain its functions by itself, is accessible and easy to evaluate or measure.

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

Yes! Make it as hard as possible to do something wrong. Strong systems lead to reduced waste

Sustainability, or operating sustainably, is the notion of operating a venture with as little waste as possible.  In this sense we are talking waste that results in air emissions, water discharges, or solid/liquid waste to landfill.  All of these wastes represent inefficiencies in the venture that are also potentially harmful to the local community (e.g. hazardous solids) if not the world (e.g. greenhouse gases).  The notion of sustainability extends beyond ones own perimeter; it strives to reduce all the waste inefficiencies in the products and services a venture buys from its suppliers.  Such waste inefficiencies are determined through a life cycle assessment.  By extending the notion of sustainability beyond one's own perimeter, we call attention to the waste we create through purchasing decisions, realize the depletion of resources and concentration of wastes that result geographically from unsustainable purchases, and realize the value of buying products and services locally.  This is what it means to operate sustainably. 

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

I especially agree with life cycle assessments. Too often I see projects being implemented because they have a low upfront cost without taking into consideration things like waste, maintenance, utility usage, etc. whereas a more expensive project could last longer and have a larger payback.

Sustainability is being able to do something without creating pollution or using up the resources. Renewable Energy is a great example. 

    Some think Nuclear Energy is sustainable since it doesn't produce carbon dioxide pollution. They don't consider all the deadly waste it makes or the water it uses. Or that uranium is a finite resource. 

    So you need to consider the entire system and all the input and output. 

    

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

It's possible to have the same thoughts when it comes to renewable energy as well since the materials to build the systems are finite resources and need replaced every twenty years or so. Depleted uranium can also be recycled. Nuclear has the advantage of generating on-demand power until battery capacities across RTOs are dramatically upgraded.

One thing that comes to mind for me when talking about sustainability and energy is energy security.  In addition to those comments provided, sustainable energy will require security from inception and the ability to be agile and adjust as future risks and threats are identified.  Sustainable energy that introduces new vulnerabilities and risks to our energy sector will be of little value if it cannot operate securely, be protected from threats or have resiliency as part of its core structure.  

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

Agreed. That is the tricky path to traverse into the future. A combination of redundant systems and encouraging improved energy efficiency for all customers could be a solution. Plus it doesn't hurt that energy efficiency more times than not has a short financial payback!

For an organization (company) to be sustainable means to operate in a manner that permits the firm to proper over the long term. It requires the holistic balance of innovation, customer satisfaction, employee motivation, shareholder returns and understanding and working within the constraints of our climate and environment. It is a difficult and broad challenge but one all of us must face. 

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

You're exactly right. It can be difficult as many things are interconnected and our actions can have broad impacts in areas we don't even think of. The best that we can do it so keep our shareholders and principles in focus and evaluate different options fully before making complex decisions.

To me, sustainability is about being a steward to all that we are individually involved in. We should promote and leave everything better than which we found it - economics, environment, relationships, etc

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Matt Chester on Aug 20, 2021

That's a good way to put it-- and I believe you implied it with your second sentence, but it's explicitly important that we recognize that all individuals involved and all stakeholders-- that category includes future generations to have the same opportunities and resources available to them as a result of our actions

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Jake Maruschok on Aug 20, 2021

Absolutely. We should be teaching younger generations what we know so that they can further improve what they touch.

It is better to use the adjective to describe a subject rather than the noun. To me, it is the sustainable energy required to achieve the sustainable development of the society, which will be monitored by the seventeen goals of sustainability issued by the United Nations Organization UN. In summary, it is Sustainable Energy. But how to achieve energy sustainability? This includes the rational use of energy resources to extend the lifetime of depleted resources such as fossil fuel and maximize utilization of renewable resources.

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