Climate Change is a Health Care Issue

A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on, with the potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.

This is not a quote from Greenpeace, Al Gore, or David Suzuki. It is from The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. More and more health organizations are recognizing climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Canadian health organizations, such as the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and others are urging decisive action from political and business leaders, institutions, and individuals to reign in CO2 emissions that are causing climate change.

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Flash Flooding in Toronto. Photo Source

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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

Background:

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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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Putting The Habit In Habitat Protection since 1999 – Talkin’ Trash, October 2018

In the ever-changing mental list of “things good and bad” that most us keep, “tension” usually ends up on the not-so-good column…which is unfair because, in reality, there are many good things about tension.  Tension keeps bridges bridging,  and raindrops dropping…not to mention it’s what had you on the edge of your seat when Obi Wan Kenobi dueled Darth Vader as Luke and Co. tri to escape (yah, dating myself here), it kept you from going to the bathroom for all seven-minutes and forty-seconds of the 2010 Winter Olympics men’s hockey gold medal game overtime period, and it makes resolution of the slightly out-of-sync background rhythm and wandering time signatures in Coffee (of the Sylvan Esso, not the free-range organic soypuccino, kind) oh so satisfying.

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It’s a Great Time to be an Energy Saving Sports Fan In Toronto – Talkin’ Trash, April 2018

(apologies to Argonaut, Rock, Wolfpack and sports fanatics everywhere)

According to a random GoogleTM search (because, you know…the internet never lies), the average “top” ice hockey slap shot contains around 163 joules of energy.  Which (because, you know…energy is energy is energy) is the same as around 0.0454 watt-hours.  And because nobody, even long time energy type people, really knows exactly what a watt-hour is, is enough to keep one of those high-falutin’, energy efficient LED tubes we’ve put in all-over UHN going for around 9 seconds.

Put another way, that means accidently leaving just one of those high-falutin’ lights on overnight is the same as wasting over 5,000 Auston Matthews slap shots…Which. Can. Not. Be. Allowed. To. Happen (because, you know…if the Leafs are gonna go deep, we need more Auston).

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Providing Water to Toronto General Hospital with Greater Efficiency and Reliability

Providing Water to Toronto General Hospital with Greater Efficiency and Reliability

Most of us don’t think much about how we get our water.  It’s almost always available and relatively inexpensive.   For the vast majority in Canada it’s just one of the great benefits of living here.  However, the result is that we Canadian’s are not very good at managing our water consumption, as you can see in the graph below.

There’s a pretty clear inverse correlation between the price of water and the consumption of water.  It makes sense.  Generally the more something costs, the more careful people are with it.  That’s pretty similar to how we manage electricity too.

Our domestic water requires both water treatment and power for pumping.  Old pumping system were generally very inefficient designs because electricity was cheap and technology was expensive.  That’s one of the problems we had with the old domestic cold water booster pumps at Toronto General Hospital.

Water Consumption - Polaris

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Mike at Home: The Sequel

When Ontario is giving out free smart thermostats, you know it’s time for a blog! Most of my recent blog posts have been about projects at UHN, so this time I’m going to change it up and talk about a couple of neat technologies I’m using at my apartment to save energy. Both of these savings ideas were mentioned in my previous Mike at Home Blog, but these new technologies really help to put those ideas into practice in a convenient way. There are many ways to save energy at home, even if you are a renter like me!

Smart Thermostat

I already had a programmable thermostat which was helping to save energy, but I wasn’t able to maximize savings for a couple of reasons. One way I typically try to save power is by setting back the thermostat if I’m away for a weekend or longer vacation, however this often led to an uncomfortably cold temperature for a few hours upon return. When energy savings lead to discomfort it can be difficult to maintain the energy savings behavior and I may have been less consistent in doing the temperature set back as a result. With my old thermostat on the fritz, I took the opportunity to upgrade to a web-connected thermostat.

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New Thermostat (source)

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