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10 Most Energy-Efficient Countries

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 September 20, 2018

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

    When you train your brain, you will:

    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

    1. Work your memory

    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

    For example, say you just met someone new:

    “Hi, my name is George”

    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

    Got it? Good.

    2. Do something different repeatedly

    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

    But how does this apply to your life right now?

    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

    3. Learn something new

    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

    4. Follow a brain training program

    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

    5. Work your body

    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

    6. Spend time with your loved ones

    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

    The bottom line

    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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