Mehdi Motakefpour

Hello there,

I am Mehdi Motakefpour, the new Energy Project Manager. It has been more than two months now that I’ve joined UHN Energy & Environment team. Our team is one of the behind the scene crew that strives to optimize energy use within UHN facilities and minimize the environmental footprint while providing a healthy, safe, comfortable and sustainable environment for the patients and staff.

A little bit about myself, I have got my bachelor degree in mechanical engineering in Iran. After a couple of years working there, I decided to develop my experience and explore new countries and in the meantime continue my education toward a Master degree. So I move to Sweden and I got my Master degree in Energy and Environmental Engineering and since then I have been working in the Energy sector. Once I finished my degree I moved to Norway for work and after a couple of years working in oil and gas industry I came to Canada.

UHN has been a pioneer in energy and environmental management and Energy and Environment Department has been recognized by several awards so far. In the last two years that I have been involved in healthcare energy management projects, I was hearing about the outstanding success stories of energy and sustainability team at UHN and I was thinking it would be wonderful if I could be part of the team. Now, it happened I am so glad that I could join the boat. I do my best to make a valuable contribution to the projects.

Regarding UHN facilities, I should say it looks like a huge maze to me. Still, after two months working here, I’m getting lost and I can’t find my way easily. I was thinking it would be good if I could leave a trail of bread crumbs behind myself, like what Hansel did, to mark the way back to the office.

Please stay tuned and follow us as there will be lots of fun stories and remarkable achievements on the way.

Actually, don’t skip the dishes

plastic bottless.pngIf you don’t know already, you should learn that microplastics are becoming part of our food systems right down to all our soils and growing media. Our addiction to take-out containers means we are unable to avoid consuming plastic microfibres even when we only eat vegetables now. How dangerous that is for our bodies is still under scrutiny, but I can’t imagine it’s going to prove to be a good thing. I have one huge solve that not many people seem to be talking about: do the dishes.

Make yourself carry a simple eating implement, like a fork or spoon or chopsticks, and use that instead of taking that plastic fork. Ask for a mug, or bring your own! If you start to accept dishes and the mess in your life that they cause (“oh man, now what do I do with this dirty fork or mug? Carrying a fork around means I also have to carry a little bag to put it in, and remember to clean that fork and little bag for next time I eat, in 4 hours or so…”) you will be on the road to remembering how important food work is.

Examine the class break down around doing dishes, and you will discover yet another part of our lives that we simply don’t want to talk about. Food work is seen as less important than other work, and we’re not too proud of ourselves for dismissing what we already know in our search for “Good Clean, Fair Food”. The circular thinking around plastic take outs is killing us, and we each owe ourselves the dignity of embracing the solution. Do you eat? Then you need to do dishes. You’ll find very few places that can provide you with real dishes anymore. Ask yourself why, and take a long look at how often you avoid the dishes….

Cookie Roscoe manages the Farmers Market at SickKids. During the warmer months, it’s every Tuesday, 8am to 2pm. In the colder months, they move inside and have it twice/month. Find them near the Elizabeth Street Entrance in the Terrace Cafe. Follow the Farmer’s Market - winter

Next market dates (8 am – 2 pm):

  • March 12, 26
  • April 9, 23
  • May 7, 21

Travel, Recycle, Save Lives

Do you love adventure travel? I mean real travel, the kind that gets you muddy and off the beaten path in the developing world. Well, then you should consider Not Just Tourists. This organization collects medical supplies from UHN and other partners, packs them into suitcases, and sends them with travelers (such as yourself) to remote clinics in need. The organization is 100% volunteer based and has been operating for the past 33 years. The Toronto chapter has sent about 2,000 suitcases to 75 different countries and has helped connect over 750,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment to the developing world via aid containers. 

Avi D’Souza, the Program Director and Founder of Not Just Tourists Toronto (NJTT) just came back from a trip to a small island off the coast of Madagascar where he delivered medical supplies.

Suitcase filled with good medical supplies that would have been wasted in North America

“Greetings UHN Friends! I just came back 2 weeks ago from the most amazing trip to Mauritius and Nosy Be, Madagascar. Knowing that Mauritius was quite developed, I opted to take an NJT suitcase to Madagascar. Nosy Be is considered the tourist hub and island jewl of Madagascar. It is also known for spectacular diving with some of the most untouched reef in the world and plenty of whale sharks and humpbacks around. Travelling from the airport, there were significant levels of poverty, and the infrastructure could definitely use support. I was carrying a suitcase loaded witch bandages, gauze, tapes, gloves, IV kits, urinary kits, 3 stethoscopes and 1 Otoscope.  

suitcase to medical clinic in Madagascar

By speaking to locals, I was able to find a small children’s clinic, which desperately needed the supplies (Note – for NJT volunteers, you will have a prearranged donation site, you don’t have to source this yourself). Upon arriving, I could see a line of mothers and their children waiting to enter the small facility. The supplies were gratefully received by the doctor and I was told about the supply shortages which leave them unable to treat patients at times. They were especially happy with the brand new children’s stethoscope which we delivered.  The delivery was the best thing I did on my vacation!


The bigger idea behind NJT is for travellers to step outside their comfort zones and connect with locals, forming deeper relationships. The project is about LOVE! NJT is also as much about the environment as we are about humanitarian work. Many of the supplies, which are sealed and in perfect condition, would otherwise have been thrown out. 

Medical supplies have a wonderful new home

UHN has been a great supporter of our work and we are very grateful to have you as partners!


Avi D’Souza

Program Director, Not Just Tourists Toronto”

If you are travelling anywhere in the developing world, sign up to take a suitcase via their website If you are free on a Wednesday evening, feel free to drop by 240 Roncesvales Ave to help them sort and pack medical supplies



Win-win: Michener Institute saves money while saving the environment

In 2018, the Facilities team at the St. Patrick campus of the Michener Institute of Education at UHN found a way to save money while also reducing the building’s use of chemicals, water, and energy. The building’s cooling system was not operating at maximum efficiency due to heavy scaling of calcium phosphate in the condenser. This scaling led to an increase in energy and water usage in the summer of 2017, and it also required regular acid cleaning. As you might imagine, this type of cleaning comes with both monetary and environmental costs.

Continue reading

Meet the Intern!

For those that haven’t met me yet, I’m Sinthusha, 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)

Continue reading

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


Continue reading

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