The Leader Magazine

SEP-OCT 2015

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P opulation growth and urbanization combined with the development of 'always on' technology and communications platforms have created a dramatic change in society over the past few decades. Rather than adjusting our working pattern to align with the digital age, society's answer has largely been to continue developing energy, building and transport inf ra str uc ture to meet de mand s dur ing shor t "windows" of peak activity, leaving it underutilized the majority of the time. Here, Alejandro Navarro, Head of Products and Strategy at Source8, the real estate, technology and risk management consultancy, argues that it's time to consider a change to our working lives. Most of us have endured the crowded public transportation and gridlock that comes with traveling during the busiest commuting time of the day, or experienced the frustration of trying to get a meeting room exactly when everyone else is using it. Why do we therefore not adopt more flexible working patterns and technologies to reduce peak demand and consumption? More importantly, why do we keep constructing roads, railways, office spaces and energy infrastructure to serve peak demands when so much of this capacity is left unused for so much of the time? The truth is our views of the daily commute, 9-to-5 working period and emphasis on office-based work are from a pre-Internet age; they are outdated and detrimental to our wallets, our cities and our environment. It is time for a change. Recent statistics in the United States indicate that peak demand for electricity is increasing (currently 1.7 time the average), while overall demand is remaining the same, or even declining. And, in most corporate offices desks are left unused 50 percent of the time on average during working hours. Given such statistics, one has to wonder why we keeping building infrastructure to meet peak demands rather than adjusting our behavior to get better and more efficient use out of what we already have. Source8 believes there are three key reasons why this behavior persists. FEEDING The PEAK Time to Rethink Our Approach to Peak Usage? BY ALEJANDRO NAVARRO 20 the LEADER | September/October 2015

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