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10 Most Energy-Efficient Countries

10 Most Energy-Efficient Countries
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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 July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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