Energy is something we tend to take for granted. We expect it to be there when we need it. When we flip a switch (or ask Alexa) the lights come on. When we push a button, the dishwasher starts. It’s easy.
We know the systems that manage energy distribution are far more complex. We also know energy comes at a cost. Our monthly utility bills are evidence of that.
What we may not know is how much the cost fluctuates throughout a given day.
In the simplest terms, there are times throughout the day when energy is in higher demand. This increases the load on the grid. And, as you might imagine, these increased loads come at a higher cost.
My friend Kay is the founder and CEO of Introspective Systems. Her company has developed technology that knows the best times to purchase energy. “(R)eal-time pricing is re-calculated at many levels of the grid. The devices themselves (heat pumps, air conditioners, etc.) make their own decision on when it is the most cost-effective to use or provide power.”
Imagine a system smart enough to know, at the device level, when to purchase, store, and use the energy it needs.
The Cost of (Personal) Energy
It stands to reason that our own complex systems could benefit from a better understanding of energy consumption.
We all understand there are times during the day when everything seems to come more easily. Our system draws energy as though it’s cheap and readily available.
These are the most efficient (and arguably most cost-effective) parts of our day.
We also know there are times when the demand on the system is higher. So, when we need energy to focus at the end of a long day, the costs are much higher.
The trouble is, while we know this intuitively, we don’t accept it. So, we continue to place unsustainable loads on our system each day.
And when the demand is high, and the costs are high, and nothing is running as effectively as we’d like, we blame ourselves for not being better. Or worse, we compare ourselves to someone else.
When this happens, our focus shifts to managing time. It’s not a bad place to start. But we have to pay attention to how we generate and consume energy.
You and I may not have the same technology. We can’t continually survey and track our own energy trends, but there are a few areas we should be considering to understand better how we work.
However, there are a few key areas we can pay attention to.
We generate energy through rest, nutrition, and exercise. How consistently do you practice these? How aligned are they?
This is about prioritizing your energy for the activities you value most. When are you most efficient and effective? How do you get power to the right points throughout the day?
What are the activities drawing on your system each day? What’s running in the background that might be draining?
Are there times during your day where things converge and require more from the system? Are the needs of the system changing? Are there seasons that place a higher demand on different aspects of the system?
What systems do you have in place to help manage the load? How do you manage the flow of information? How do you filter the unimportant demands to ensure you have enough for what’s essential?
It may not be as automated as Kay’s device, but we can still look at the trends, make adjustments, and use our energy more effectively.