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10 Most Energy-Efficient Countries

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10 Most Energy-Efficient Countries

At the time of writing this, the price of a barrel of oil had dropped to $45.71, something financial experts had absolutely no reason to anticipate. However, even as oil prices continue to bottom out, the overall trend is to move towards energy efficiency, including alternative means of energy. Many countries have done much to ensure that their energy costs remain unaffected by the overall cost of oil. In fact, by many measures, an economy’s level of energy efficiency is a strong indicator of its willingness to modernize. For this reason, we have compiled a list of the most energy-efficient countries as gleaned from information provided by Business Insider and from a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

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    1. Germany

    When speaking of Germany, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase “German efficiency.” Therefore, it is not surprising to find Germany on top of this list. According to a recent study put out by the American Council For An Energy Efficient Economy, Germany was the best country overall for energy efficiency, scoring high in multiple categories for a total score of 65 points out of 100 on their study.

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    2. Ireland

    While Ireland’s economy is based mostly on the service and IT sectors, the Land Of The Leprechaun did come in as sufficiently green. Ireland has reduced its carbon emission by 15% per year for the last several years.

    3. Denmark

    Denmark has a population about half the size of New York City, but, even still, its energy usage is remarkably low. Each Dane consumes about half as much energy as each American, and that does not have to do with the difference between alternating current and direct current.

    4. United Kingdom

    The United Kingdom recently vowed to cut carbon emissions by a whopping 80% before the year 2050. And, in addition, the country’s main business, its financial sector, uses very little energy anyway.

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    5. Norway

    Norway derives almost all of its energy from sustainably green hydroelectric damns and would be much higher on this list if not for its incredibly high per capita consumption of energy, which my be caused by its cold climate.

    6. France

    Forward-thinking France does much to encourage energy efficiency within its borders. Besides offering major tax credits for energy efficient businesses, the industrial and transport sectors of the French economy have increased their efficiency by 19% and 12% respectively.

    7. Austria

    Austria does a lot to ensure that it is relatively energy-efficient. About 23% of its energy reserves come from renewable sources, an astonishingly high figure.

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    8. Italy

    Italy made it on this list by scoring very high on the energy efficient aspects of its transportation industry. However, Italy’s industrial sector has lost major ground in energy efficiency, suffering a drop of nearly 25% recently, which accounts for their relatively low ranking.

    9. Mexico

    Although it is by no means a leader in green initiatives, Mexico’s young economy has shown much promise in increasing its energy efficiency. Many large initiatives are being undertaken to make Mexico among the most energy-efficient countries. As Mexico continues to grow, it is likely they will move up these rankings.

    10. Australia

    The Land Down Under makes it onto this list, but just barely. Although Australia has made considerable strides in ensuring energy efficiency in its building construction, its transportation is a major cause of pollution. Couple that with a recent repeal of a carbon tax. and Australia is actually sliding downward.

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    Those of us hoping that the United States would top the list are disappointed to learn that the US has slipped to 13th in the same rankings that put Germany at the top. The implementation of the Clean Air Act could do a ton to move the United States up this list. Overall, the low ranking of the US is due to its tendency to waste energy.

    Photo Credit: Jim606 via Compfight cc

    Featured photo credit: Jim Fleming via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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