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Former Member

October’s crisp weather, combined with this week’s Nobel Prize announcements, has inspired me to reflect on a question that has tantalized our best minds for decades:  Namely, what insights can we gain about energy management by reflecting on our humble friend, the pumpkin?        


After extensive research and data analysis I have identified the following five areas as key:   

1.       Cutting is a messy business

Each year I host a pumpkin carving party.  I’m always amused by the neophytes who were blissfully unaware of the sticky, gooey mess that must be scraped away in order to have pristine material with which to fashion a work of art.  Cutting energy use in industrial facilities is similarly messy.  Many were built decades ago with little thought to management of water, energy, or steam as valuable resources (as opposed to mere utilities).  Management teams are often surprised to discover how much down-and-dirty work is required to implement energy management on the plant floor.

2.       What seems to be waste can be seeds for tomorrow

The aforementioned neophytes have been known to toss pumpkin guts into their backyards or compost piles.  They are stunned in the spring to discover living vines growing in their gardens, sprouting new pumpkins from the discarded seeds.  They are pleasantly surprised to learn that something valuable could blossom from what appeared to be waste.  Many corporations are making the happy discovery that what some saw as energy waste, others can see as energy wealth – by selling unneeded energy back to the grid, they can profit

3.       Stencils can lead to better results

For years, I tried freeform design of my annual Halloween pumpkin.  For years, I ended up with the standard curved eyes, triangle nose, and saw-tooth mouth (a bit jagged) – and little artistic satisfaction. Then I discovered the joy of stencils!  Some enterprising soul started making jack-o-lantern patterns for those of us not blessed with artistic talent, and voila!  I turned out pumpkins that bore a remarkable similarity to my cats (see below for photographic evidence - both cats are my creations).  In industrial facilities, companies have tried to do energy management programs freeform as well – with widely varying results.  Many are now realizing that they can take advantage of “stencils” – guides such as ISO50001, tools from the Department of Energy, and learnings from companies that have successfully implemented energy management programs, to transform their programs from messes into masterpieces.

Ferrero has a recipe

The chocolate geniuses at Ferrero have a tantalizingly tempting recipe for pumpkin cheesecake.  They also know a thing or two about energy management – and will share their recipe at Sapphire NOW in Madrid on Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. (Session IL1633). Though the event features plenty of snacks and refreshing beverages, pumpkin cheesecake is sadly not on the menu.

5.       Nothing rhymes

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not point out the most obvious similarity between pumpkins and energy.  Nothing rhymes with “orange” – the color of pumpkins.  Nothing rhymes with “energy” either.    Which probably explains why no one will win this year’s Nobel Prize in literature for poetry about either topic (and why my budding career as an energy management rap star is on the skids). 

Feeling inspired?  Host your own energy-themed pumpkin party and share your photos with @Energy and @MWEnergy on Twitter.  And of course, register for Sapphire NOW and take advantage of the following sessions: 

    • Ask for a demo of our energy and environmental software solutions at the product & distribution campus area - speak to Kirill Rykov.
    • Session "IL1598" includes a panel discussion around "Minimize Operational Risk and Energy Use" - Thursday November 15th from 2 to 3 p.m.
    • Try out SAP’s energy software at the Test Drive area.


There’s more to learn about energy management from a cappella, big data, owls, and vuvuzelas.  Follow @MWEnergy on Twitter for updates.

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