Meet the Intern!

For those that haven’t met me yet, I’m Sinthusha Sivakumaran, the new sustainability co-op working with Lisa Vanlint! I’m pursuing a double major at the University of Waterloo in Science and Business. When I agreed to this job, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into but I was wrong, very, very, very wrong, in the best possible way 🙂 In the two months I’ve been here, I’ve done so much more and learned so much.

Thank you Kelvin Chan Tung and Blair Gage for remembering to shut the sash of their lab’s fume hood! This saves so much energy! (like, more than a house)

Currently, I’m running both the Shut the Sash initiative and the Ice Pack Initiative. I’m in the midst of increasing compliance with environmental guidelines within various in-patient wards and also take part in auditing and mediating hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal practices.

Moreover, I help out with the UHN Green Team – this is my favorite part! The Green Team is composed of UHN staff that volunteer to do what they can, in a small or big way, to increase sustainable practices within their respective department. The members essentially take on the role of an environmental ambassador to help increase stewardship, with our help of course!

My predecessor, Nicolette, also worked on some of these as well as other projects. Have a look here and here! Definitely worth the read.

That’s me! Just casually showing off my shut the sash equipment!

As a side note, I love swimming, reading is not a hobby it’s a lifestyle, all-time favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy – it’s a great day to save lives –, midway through watching Scandal, love taking on more than I can handle, petrified of elevators (I’ve taken so many since working here and almost always hold my breathe each time), dream job is to be the Prime Minister (a girl can dream, right?), and I’m a very proud LEO, rawr.

Jokes aside, I am extremely happy to be working for the Energy and Environment department. It is an amazing experience in such a large organization, and leads the way to many learning opportunities. There is so much that can be done to increase compliance and raise awareness in regards to sustainability, energy and waste practices. In a hospital setting, it goes hand in hand with safety. Our team is on it, one step at a time. So, consider it handled, with everyone’s help, of course. 10 bonus points to anyone that caught my Scandal reference.



UHN’s CEAL Lab Installs New Lighting System

An innovative new LED lighting system has been installed at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s CEAL lab (Challenging Environment Assessment Lab). Researchers in this lab conduct world class experiments to advance knowledge in mobility, aging, accessibility, design safety, and much more. The lab itself is a unique space with high ceilings located in the basement of TRI’s University Centre. Feel free to read more about the exciting research conducted at CEAL and throughout TRI at this link.

Before taking a deeper dive into the project, here are some quick energy savings numbers:

  • Electricity Savings: 88,000 kWh
  • Cost Savings: $12,300
  • Payback: 1.8 years
  • Additional benefits: Reliability

The before and after photos below demonstrate how LED lights can improve performance while saving energy at the same time.

Before and after

Left hand picture shows original fluorescent lighting, right hand picture shows new LED lighting


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New to the Green Wall of Fame … the DMOH Green Squad!

DMOH-wCaptionIn a world that sometimes seems a little hard and cold (definitely cold this week), it’s heartening to see a group come together and do some good. We are thrilled to add just such a group to our Green Wall of Fame. Congratulations to the Continue reading

TWH Winter Free Cooling

Canada is usually associated with our long cold winter.  To take advantage of the cold weather, we go out for skating, skiing, snowshoe hiking, ice fishing, snowmobiling, etc., tons of fun activities.  Is there anything we can do at hospitals to make full use of the winter?  Actually there is.  Our hospitals have much essential medical equipment that requires cooling year around.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one example.  It relies on deep cooling to maintain super-conductors inside to generate extremely strong magnetic field and radio waves to do very detailed scanning of patients.  The temperature required is so low for super-conductors that they are submerged in liquid helium, which is about -270 °C (-454 °F).

twh free cooling 1 mri

Figure 1: Typical MRI Scanner Cutaway

A typical MRI scanner uses Continue reading

Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow – Talkin’ Trash New Year 2019

One of the great things about Homo sapiens is our ability to make whatever is happening to us right here, right now The. Most. Important. Thing. Ever.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a recreational hockey game for middle-aged (though still spry and youthful in appearance) Homo sapiens, waiting for one’s reusable travel mug to be filled with a free-range soypuccino, or a bunch of somewhat random Homo sapiens converging for the sole purpose of singing together…it’s the ability to prioritize what’s happening in the present above all else that sets people apart from the rest of this world’s inhabitants.

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What you said: Good intentions in 2019

What you said: Good intentions in 2019

With the first month of 2019 still fresh as a honeycrisp apple, we’re checking in on your good intentions (kinda like New Year’s resolutions, but without the pressure). Of the 19 options, these really hit home with you.

12. Repair my appliances, clothes and stuff that’s broken

Not the handiest or craftiest? There are Repair Cafés throughout Toronto and around the world.

11. Join a Green Team

Well you’re in the right place 🙂

10. Walk and bike to work/errands more Continue reading

A new leaf, a fresh start, think big (ish)


Just as it’s hard to end a year without a “Best-Of” list, it would feel equally strange to start a new year without a Continue reading