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District Energy System

General Manager's Corner

Tim HestleSpring 2016
By: Tim Hestle

Obstacles

In order to reach a goal, we must understand the obstacles that stand between us and the goal. 

Coaches study the strengths of their team members as well as their opponents’ in order to better equip their team for victory. Meteorologists study weather patterns and analyze historical data in order to make predictions that enable us to make necessary preparations in the path of the storm. The health industry spends large sums of money and countless hours of research to create antidotes and treatments for the many diseases that plague mankind. Financial advisers study market trends so their clients can make responsible decisions with their money. The list goes on and on, but all of these have one thing in common. They each have a goal in focus, and they don’t let deterrents keep them from achieving that goal. Effective industry leaders are the ones that don’t lose sight of the end-game. 

The primary goal of CNE’s Nashville employees is to provide safe, reliable and efficient steam and chilled water service to the MNDES customers. Obstacles related to equipment, weather, personnel, etc. are overcome daily to successfully accomplish this goal. Additionally, since we are in the energy business, it makes sense that we should have a goal to perform energy-related projects to help others in the community. Recently, I was fortunate enough to participate in a Hands On Nashville energy project. 

Hands On Nashville began helping homeowners recover after the May 2010 flood. Volunteers provided the labor for demolition and cleanup so rebuilding could take place. Since that time, Hands On Nashville decided they wanted to continue helping neighbors in need. They decided it would be a good idea to help homeowners make their houses more energy-efficient. 

When applicants are identified, an assessment is made to see if they qualify. If they are approved, materials are procured. Materials and tools are provided through donations, and labor is provided by volunteers. When the volunteers arrive at a job site, a vacuum test is performed to see how “air tight” the house is before work begins. Projects such as attic insulation, caulk around windows, installation of weather-stripping around doors, etc. are completed, and another vacuum test is performed to measure improvement. According to the Hands On Nashville project leader, the goal is to improve the energy efficiency by 28 percent, which provides an average savings of $461 in utility costs per year. The house I worked on achieved a 35 percent improvement.

Now, as Paul Harvey would say, for the rest of the story… The homeowner, Ms. Williams, was hit by a drunk driver on her way home from work 21 years ago. Since the accident, she has been confined to a hospital bed paralyzed from the neck down. That is what most would consider an insurmountable obstacle. Not her. The end-game for her is more spiritual in nature. She considers herself blessed just to be alive. She has a positive attitude, and her goal is to encourage and inspire others. We may have achieved our goal in making her house more comfortable and more energy-efficient, but she definitely achieved her goal by inspiring me and the rest of the crew. I am glad I got to meet her.