An interesting story:
Courtesy of Donella Meadows:
Near Amsterdam, there is a suburb of single-family houses all built at the same time, all alike. Well, nearly alike. For unknown reasons it happened that some of the houses were built with the electric meter down in the basement. In other houses, the electric meter was installed in the front hall.
These were the sort of electric meters that have a glass bubble with a small horizontal metal wheel inside. As the household uses more electricity, the wheel turns faster and a dial adds up the accumulated kilowatt-hours.
During the oil embargo and energy crisis of the early 1970s, the Dutch began to pay close attention to their energy use. It was discovered that some of the houses in this subdivision used one-third less electricity than the other houses. No one could explain this. All houses were charged the same price for electricity, all contained similar families.
The difference, it turned out, was in the position of the electric meter. The families with high electricity use were the ones with the meter in the basement, where people rarely saw it. The ones with low use had the meter in the front hall where people passed, the little wheel turning around, adding up the monthly electricity bill many times a day.
Then let them do the rest.
Unfortunately “simple and straightforward” is rarely easy.
P.S. you should buy Donella Meadows book “Thinking in Systems: a Primer“. It is fascinating.
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