The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power
Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Roger Duncan Consulting (2020)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (04/21)
If you happen to be (like me) a “Back to the Future” fan who definitely wants to see into the coming decades, to spy what you know will be incredibly fun things, then this is the book for you. In “The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power,” two professionals not only battle with each other over certain issues that could be good or bad for the world, but they also provide data on everything from how a building will be “smart” to a robot delivery system taking over and doing work for us.
We all have our ideas about the future. There are many who want to see flying cars, even though there’s a part of us that would prefer to keep our feet (and tires) firmly on the ground. We want to see if the mess we have created over the generations will end up causing pollution to remain a never-ending issue, or if there are pathways to achieving that clean water and clean sky through intelligent solutions.
Roger Duncan and Michael Webber, two men with their own professional backgrounds, present what is called the Energy Efficiency Megatrend in this book; what it is essentially and how it will shape the future of technology. They dive into the two most prominent things in our world – buildings and vehicles – and discuss how they could evolve. Could technology be closer than we think when it comes to ushering in a “robot” realm? Could buildings develop personalities, and could we as a people create a transportation system that could provide you with any mode of transportation – any type of vehicle you need – at a moment’s notice? They talk about how this could be done, and how such a complex structure could (and should) be powered by the use of clean and efficient energy.
I am a reader who is also a writer, and I’m always imagining the “next steps” for our world that continues to offer up surprises on a yearly basis. And, yes, I am talking about being just fine and then suddenly having the world thrust into a pandemic that no one saw coming. Being able to dive into this amazing book was a true privilege; it allowed me to sit with two people who utilized their backgrounds and knowledge in various industries, while also letting their own imaginations free.
With Duncan being a former Austin City Council member and the GM of Austin Energy; and Webber, who is the Josey Centennial Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas—not to mention, the Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE, a multi-national energy services and infrastructure company—learning about their ideas and how they not only solve the problems but show you exactly how they could come into being, is an adventure unto itself. Even though this is categorized as non-fiction, you are also adding that fantastical element of seeing the future and all these things that, perhaps, seem unattainable in 2021. Therefore, you’re ending up with a fiction read, as well, that inspires you and makes you want to stick around in order to be a part of what comes next.