A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE
Systems thinking and the energy transition
Without systems thinking, you may not see the entire elephant. We can look at the energy transition as an example. We want (have to) get rid of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), which is why you see all kinds of initiatives emerging all around you. One of the models or tools that builders, designers and home owners use is the model of the trias energetica.
A model is always a highly simplified form of reality. So pieces of your elephant fall away. All intended to be able to choose faster.
If we were guided by this model alone, we could inadvertently cause a number of effects that are not sustainable or even move us further from our real goal. Namely reducing CO2 emissions.
Below are a few examples of effects that can occur unintentionally.
- We are starting to insulate tightly to reduce energy consumption and overlook how much energy is needed to produce, install and transport all of the insulating materials we add.
- As a result, we often add harmful materials that are dangerous to humans and the environment. Consider, for example, formaldehyde, which is often used in mineral wool.
- By designing some buildings or homes in such a way that as little energy as possible is wasted or consumed, and also installing complex systems, we unintentionally affect the quality of life (healthy home) of the users.
- Finally, we still use fossil fuels when insulation and generation are not entirely successful. And that is precisely what we want to stop doing.