Happy Earth Day from IBC Engineering Services!

Happy Earth Day from IBC Engineering Services!

While there are a lot of reasons for alarm and concern with regard to the state of our environment, and lasting international and national policies remain elusive, we at IBC remain hopeful about our ability to make a positive difference in our daily work.

In the words of our Vice President and resident guru Lev Zvenyach, “Innovation begins when you change the way you look at things.”  With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at where our energy comes from and how it’s used in the US.

This is a Sankey diagram from Lawrence Livermore National Lab showing the pathways fuels take to different sectors of the economy.  This diagram shows the alarming fact that some 58% of total energy consumed never performs any service!  That is astounding, and demands understanding and solutions.  To put it in context globally, that huge gray box of “rejected energy”—largely waste heat—is more than three times the primary energy that the entire continent of Africa used in 2010[1].

From my office in Washington, DC, I hear a lot of big talk about the left side of the energy picture—how big different fuels’ shares are; their security, supply, and pricing.  With all that focus, it’s easy to forget that less than half of the original energy content ends up delivering any tangible service to consumers.

While our work at IBC primarily focuses on safely, efficiently, and economically delivering energy services those services represented at the right side of the diagram, we know that doing our job well can provide compound benefits upstream by avoiding the need for the energy in the first place, and all the waste that goes along with converting and delivering it.  While we can only reach so many projects at a time, we strive to make those projects as good as possible—both for our clients and the planet.

It has been said that technology is about minimizing the conflict between competing priorities; good design is eliminating that conflict.  While we are always excited about new gadgets and techniques, we try not to confuse invention with innovation, and to make sure we’re looking at the right sight of the problem.


[1] EIA, International Energy Statistics, http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=44&pid=44&aid=2

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