Bike Like Mike

There is no better time of year than now to ride your bike to work (or to the gym, or to the grocery store, or just for fun)! Fresh crisp air and cool morning temperatures help to ensure you won’t end up a sweaty mess on arrival. Biking regularly can help you get in shape, feel better, improve your health, and it’s just plain fun! Check out this TED Talk about the awesome ways that biking can change you.

Bikeshare

I’ve been meaning to write a blog on biking ever since the large expansion of Toronto’s Bike Share system this summer. I’ve been a Bike Share member for about 5 years, going back to the days when it was known as Bixi Bike. Every time there is an expansion to the system, it opens up the city a little bit more. Expansions have added bikes directly outside the front door of UHN offices at Lucliff Place as well as a short walk from Toronto Rehab’s Bickle Centre at Queen Street and Close Ave. With stations also in front of TGH, TRI-UC, TWH, and PMH, UHNers all over the city have great access to the system. As part of the recent expansion, stations have been added in the west end along the lake shore trails and in the east end, expanding further into Scarborough towards the Beaches and along the Danforth subway line.

I use these bikes all the time (44 rides in September) to get around faster and cheaper than any other transit infrastructure. There is nothing more satisfying than flying by a bunch of road raging single occupant vehicles and getting to your destination faster than you could have if you drove, took the TTC, or walked. In August, I was returning from Europe and traveled home from Pearson using the train to Union and Toronto Bike Share – total travel time from the plane touching down to my couch with a cold beverage was 1 hour and 8 minutes, including waiting for that guy blocking everyone from getting off the plane while he rearranges his bag in the overhead compartment for 15 minutes! Total cost: $9 for train. Bike share membership is only $90 per year, so if you are using it in place of TTC or cabs even semi-frequently, it pays back fast. With a membership, bike trips under 30 minutes are free.

With more and more safe biking infrastructure cropping up in the city, even “normal” people are starting to see biking as a good option. Our fearless leader, Ed, has also recently jumped into the fray, although I don’t support references to the most annoying song Queen ever made!

Another benefit of biking in the cooler temperatures of fall is that we will start to see less and less of this unfortunate sight:

Empty Bike Share

Bike Share station suffering from “summer syndrome”

Although the bikes are clunky and the stations might be empty the odd time, I love the convenience of never having to worry about any of the following:

  • my bike getting stolen
  • purchasing an expensive lock and carrying it around
  • carrying around other items that are commonly stolen, such as bike seat, lights, wheels, etc.
  • storing a bike in my small apartment
  • greasing chains and other maintenance

If you are thinking of becoming a first time Bike Share member, you should know that your Presto Card will get you 40% off your first year! That means a whole year of biking would be only $54 or less than half of a one month Metropass. You can’t afford not to try it! Check out this webinar for all you need to know about Presto.

With the end of Smart Commute Month coming up on October 6th I would like to challenge you to continue your smart commute beyond this month. Continue to reduce your reliance on single occupant vehicles and improve your health, fitness, and sanity! From my experience, the growing Toronto Bike Share system is a convenient and affordable alternative. I hope you give it a try and join me out there in a bike lane near you.

Taking a Megabyte out of our Energy Bills!

I never thought such huge savings would be possible from a replacement of a ten year old computer system, but here we are. Normally when I think of energy savings opportunities, I think of HVAC equipment replacements, Variable Speed Drive installations, improvements to control sequences, lighting upgrades, and even electric vehicles. So, when I spoke to a company that said we could achieve big savings by upgrading computer infrastructure I was intrigued.

Continue reading

Spring Greening

Now that we are groggily emerging from our hibernation of sitting on the couch in a Snuggie and binge TV watching while eating cookie dough ice cream, it’s time to think about spring cleaning. On second thought, sweeping the garage, sorting old junk, and throwing mittens in a drawer sounds awful – let’s talk about spring greening instead! Here are a few tips for an energy efficient spring and summer: Continue reading

UHN: A Medical Innovator, But Also An Energy Innovator

My previous blog described a unique energy conservation project at UHN’s Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower (PMCRT). With innovative contaminant sensing technology, we were able to convert our research lab exhaust system from constant flow to variable flow, which significantly decreased loading on the exhaust fan motors. As described in the blog, this change produced a reduction in electricity peak demand (kW) of 38.5% and reduction in overall annual electricity consumption (kWh) of 42.7%.

We thought this was a Continue reading

Savings at PMCRT will Blow You Away!

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Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower. Photo Credit

Next in our list of exciting energy endeavors, this blog will discuss huge savings realized by a retrofit to the laboratory exhaust system at the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower (PMCRT). The lab exhaust system has been converted from constant speed to demand controlled to ensure more efficient operation. I’ll get into all the super interesting details below, but the best part is the savings so I’ll start off with that. Continue reading

Chiller Thriller: Part 2

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Chiller Thriller

With the last moments of warm weather dwindling and Halloween fast approaching, let’s take a look at the Continue reading

Grizzlies, Mountains, and Sustainability! Reporting from the CHES Conference

Grizzlies, mountains, and sustainability! Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES) annual conference, hosted in beautiful Vancouver. The theme of this years conference was sustainability in healthcare. This theme refers to both systemic sustainability and environmental sustainability, with the goal to preserve health care services as well as the natural environment so that you’ll be able to get a timely appointment for your tennis elbow injury suffered during a round of frisbee golf and so that grizzlies can continue to survive in their natural habitat.

UHN had great Continue reading