Training – China

Again, discussed in greater detail in the “International” link.
A large component of the LIEP programme comprised “on-the-job” training of a new breed of Energy Auditors – identifying the main energy centres and where some of the better EE opportunities could be made.
From my own experiences, China represented a more extreme, but certainly not a unique example, of the “lust” for new technologies, with little recognition of the need to address “people issues”. Investment in modern, state-of-the-art technologies can and often does improve efficiency; however, if one focuses solely on investment without first addressing Energy Management and people issues, one will likely end up with a fraction of the savings expected. As an analogy… a bad driver in an old, badly maintained car will have a low efficiency and high petrol consumption per kilometre. Buying a new car will help, but if the driving is still poor and the car is not maintained properly, the long-term efficiency won’t improve much. One needs to pay attention to the driver’s behaviour, as well as making sure the car looked after, to get close to the theoretical best.
Investment needs to go hand-in-hand with changes to the attitudes and behaviour of both management and staff, plus improved awareness of the numerous simple technologies and techniques through suitable training and regular communication. Sounds simple, but the practicalities are rather different to the theory.
A lot of this can be wrapped up under the banner “Change Management” (see the energy and resource campaign link), although I tend to avoid this term because the decision makers can infer that you are suggesting they have been doing things wrong for some time. This gets a bad enough reception in the UK but even more resistance in the Far East, where “losing face” is an important cultural issue.
Often, the desire for new technologies (combined with the fact one can blame old equipment for poor performance) is the issue that is “seen” by Senior Management; the fact that many sites could make 20% efficiency improvements – sometimes more – by using their resources and people better than they currently do, is not always seen. This mind-set is often the biggest barrier to overcome and is far more important to address and get right before exploring the new technologies.

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