Much Ado About Normal (Temperatures) – Talkin’ Trash, May 2013

By now many of you have likely seen a note or two about “Operation TLC”, UHN’s ambitious and way cool initiative to cut over $2 million from its utility budget. To learn more about this awesome endeavour, Talkin’ Trash’s Second Managing Editor sat down with UHN’s Manager of Energy & Environment to talk energy, fashion and a little TLC.

Second Managing Editor (ME2): Welcome to On The Heap, Talkin’ Trash’s trash-side chat.

Manager of Energy & Environment (MEE): It’s a pleasure to be here.

ME2: So, Operation TLC is UHN’s latest energy efficiency initiative and is being led by the Senior Vice President for each of our locations – what does “TLC” stand for?

MEE: Well, it started as “Thermostats, Lights and Controls”, but we’ve also used “Turn-Off Lights and Computers”…and of course TLC fits nicely with the whole nature of patient care at UHN.

ME2: How clever. Now, UHN has set an amazing energy saving goal of $2 million a year – how’s it gonna happen?

MEE: Well, it really came down to two options. Option A was to refocus UHN’s integrated energy management strategy that combined building efficiencies through retro-commissioning, investment in technologies with a solid return on investment and a multi-tiered behaviour change program based on the principles of Community Based Social Marketing. Option B was to go around slapping fridge magnets everywhere. We chose Option A.

ME2: Both options sound interesting. So tell me a little more about the types of technologies UHN is investing in, and why can’t we install light occupancy sensors everywhere?

MEE: Well, as it turns out, occupancy and daylight sensors in shared spaces like hallways and meeting rooms make a lot of sense and we’ve just found a system that works well for our buildings. We should start installing them in the next few weeks.

ME2: What about a sensor for my office?

MEE: We already have a fair number of rooms with occupancy sensors. We’re going to increase that number, but seeing as the return is not as great as it is for other technologies, it’s a lower priority. Besides, many offices already contain a Fully Integrated Naturally Guided Energy Reducer that’s probably the most efficient way to turn off lights.

ME2: Wow, technology these days…amazing. Say, I read that temperatures are going to be adjusted to the “outer range of normal”…what in the name of everything that’s good and proper does that mean?

MEE: Well, temperature’s a funny thing. One person’s too hot is another’s too cold, and too often our temperature settings for the summer are set to keep people in three piece suits comfortable. I’m not sure if that’s normal or not, but it’s often too cold for many of our staff and patients, so we’re going to aim to have our offices, clinics, inpatient floors and other non-sensitive areas stay just above 22 degrees Celsius this summer.

ME2: Doesn’t seem too outer range to me…but if one person’s too hot is another’s too cold, what should someone do if they feel too hot or too cold?

MEE: Temperature concerns should still be directed to each hospital’s Facilities department. There may be a problem with the system or maybe things are on the outer range of normal and the “short sleeves, no jacket, no tie” philosophy needs to be applied. I remember being in Bermuda one summer and it was normal to see Captains of Industry walking around in dress shirts, shorts, sandals and pulled up socks.

ME2: Normal, maybe…but isn’t that a fashion crime?

MEE: You should know better than to ask me such questions.

ME2: A perfect way to end this latest shovel full of On The Heap…thanks for talking trash with me.

MEE: Thank you for having me…and please remember to turn out the lights before you leave.

 

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