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Competencies covered

MSMENV272: Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

Measuring usage levels

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Working sustainably is all about making the most efficient use of natural resources, and producing the least amount of waste and pollution possible.

But before you can look for ways of improving efficiency, you need to have some idea of your current resource usage.

This gives you a benchmark to compare any improvements against.

It also allows you to see how much you are saving, and which production methods work best and are the most economical.

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It's not always easy to measure all the resources you use, especially when some of them aren't directly visible. For example, electricity consumption is hard to quantify unless you can put a power meter on every electrical item used in the job.

Usage levels are also hard to pin down if only a small proportion of a resource is used in an installation or manufacturing process - such as wear and tear on tools. However, there are still ways of measuring the usage of various resources so that you can make comparisons between the quantities being consumed over time.

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Resource usage for a timber floor

Let's see how we could quantify the materials and energy supplies that go into the installation of a timber floor.

Click on the links below to see the lists of resources we identified in the last lesson, together with their units of measurement and typical quantities used.

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For the sake of the exercise, we won't look at the details of the Non-process energy usage.

However, at a management level, these forms of energy consumption are generally examined in close detail, because they can have a significant effect on the overall running costs of the company.

We will look at practical ways of reducing energy consumption in more detail in Section 3: Improving efficiency.

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Learning activity

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Identify a consumable resource or energy source you use at work where only a proportion is required for any given task.

Name the resource and the method you would use to measure its consumption.

Describe a specific task and estimate how much of the resource you would use up to complete that task.

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