Saving wasted energy at the 2011 International Transportation Forum (ITF) on Driving the Nation

I was the Hotel Radisson Blu in Berlin, Germany the other day. I put my plastic door card in the holder right inside the door as I entered the room. The lights went on and the air conditioning started.

When I leave the room I dont have to look for my key, it’s in the same place, energizing my room. When I remove the key my lights and TV go off. I dont have to think about being energy conscious, it is being done for me.

There was a light breeze and a light rain. I turned off the air conditioning in my room and opened the windows.

Ahhh fresh air. Not all hotels allow you to open windows. For someone like myself, who is slightly claustrophobic, windows are a wonderful thing.
About 1 in the morning I awoke and it was muggy. I got up to turn on the air conditioning only to discover that my air conditioning didnt work. Great. Its one in the morning and muggy in my room. Ill never get back to sleep without some fresh air and I have a meeting in the morning.

I called downstairs and told them the problem. This German receptionist has had this call by more than one American. He knew the problem, “Are your windows open?” Yes, I replied. Close them, he said, the air conditioning wont work if the windows are open.

When common sense is built into life less energy is needed.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station), is the main railway station in Berlin, Germany and the largest crossing station. I took the high speed ICE from Berlin to Leipzig, Germany to attend the 2011 International Transport Forum. If you look at the floor of the train station you will see a group of gray bricks that follow the entire train station and each different train line. Those bricks were specifially put into the floor for blind people, so that they can feel, through the tapping of their cane, the way to each different train line.

But how do blind people know which staircase to go down for their specific train? Put your hand on the outside of the handrail, you will feel the brail that tells the blind person which train line they are going towards.

What the car industry thinks of as sustainable mobility is only scratching the surface. Every industry in fifty-one countries is looking for the definition of sustainable mobility, and the means for sustainable mobility. And all fifty-one of those countries have representatives at the 2011 InternationalTransportation Forum.

Jeremy Rifkin is President of The Foundation on Economic Trends as well as an Author of eighteen books on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, and a keynote speaker at the 2011 International Transportation Forum. Rifkin defines distributed energies as sunshine, wind, geothermal, ocean tides, forestry and agriculture waste, biofuels. Rifkin was the person that promoted 20% renewable by 2020, and is a proponent of producing local energy.

There are 191 million buildings in the EU. They use 1/3 of the energy and produce 1/3 of the CO2. Many of those buildings are hotels.
Rifkin was the keynote speaker at the 2011 International Transport Forum. He talked about converting the internet lines to energy lines, about Electric vehicles and fuel cells that will come out in 36 months. Rifkin said that for one trillion Euros over the next decade the conversion could be done. He also said that if 25 percent of the transportation fleet was sending electricity back to the grid you could eliminate need for electric power plants.

The richer we are the more transport is demanded. Unless this transport is thought out before it is constructed, unless we use the same common sense that was used when the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin, Germany, was constructed we will waste more energy than we use.
If we construct, re-construct, hotels with common sense usage there will be a reduction in energy use. If they are constructed with local, renewable energy as well, hotels can add electric charging unit’s to allow to charge their customers electric vehicles.

Rifkin has a book that will come out in September, 2011, entitled The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy and Changing the World.

In this book Rifkin talks to Gabriele Burgio, the visionary CEO of NH Hotels. Burgio told Rifkin, “30 percent of his hotel overhead and operating costs are energy-related, constituting the second biggest cost after human labor.”

The book goes on to say that NH Hotels achieved a dramatic 15.83 percent reduction in energy consumption, a 31.03 percent reduction in CO2 emission, a 26.83 percent reduction in waste generation, and a 28.2 percent reduction in water consumption between 2007 and 2010 by using an online control system.

NH Hotels is in the process of converting it’s hotels into micro-power plants and in anticipation of the market introduction of electric plug-in vehicles in 2011, NH has also become the first hotel to include free recharging points at some of it’s properties.

People want to save energy. People also want to have more time in their life. There is a respect for the people that construct transportation, hotels and buildings that consider the cost of waste and the cost to the end user. Especially if they do it with little or no cost to the end user, and they are allowed to have the mobility of freedom they have come to know.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.