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.
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!
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.
One of the benefits of getting older (aside from the abundance of reading glasses in a seemingly endless variety of styles and colours…not!) is that if one pays enough attention along the way, one just might learn something. And one thing I’ve learned while studiously avoiding eye contact with the reading glass displays that seem to inhabit every single checkout line in the city…is that stories are important.
Stories are how we express ourselves, how we learn, how we relate to others, how we empathize and share…all bundled up in a package that, at a minimum, hopefully entertains, but at its best inspires and motivates. And the beauty of stories is that even tales of ordinary people trying to do mostly ordinary (though sometimes amazing) things under mostly ordinary (though sometimes extraordinary) circumstances can make the world a better place.
Like a stand-up comedian telling of his everyday ups-and-downs in a way that can be simultaneously funny and poignant… sometimes without a single word being uttered…
Toronto General Hospital is undergoing a major retrofit of its central chilled water plant, one that will fundamentally improve the system’s capabilities and dramatically reduce electricity costs. The plant is essential to services at the hospital, providing chilled water to equipment and ventilation. It cools operating rooms, equipment for MRI and CT scans, servers, rooms with -80ºC freezers, the cyclotron, as well as all the clinics, patient rooms, and offices throughout TGH’s two million square feet. The new system will save the Continue reading
Looks like I might be starting a trend referencing old 90’s movies on the Talkin’ Trash blog. This time, with Halloween fast approaching, we are taking a spookier turn as we look at the recent stairwell lighting project at TRI University Centre.
If you want to hear something really scary, Continue reading
UHN produces a lot of waste – over 45,000 pounds a day. Recycling and waste reduction are good for the environment, good for our health and save UHN money, so it’s worth it to get comfortable with your organization’s recycling, composting & waste reduction programs and, even better, take our Waste Reduction Week Interhospital Challenge.
A Can In the Bluebox Is Worth Two…
The thing about clichés is that we’ve used them so often that they’ve lost their meaning. Not mention that clichés often contradict each other…like “the early bird gets the worm” and “good things come to those who wait”, and sometimes they can mask serious issues…sure, the early bird gets the worm is meant to be a good thing…unless you’re the worm. And don’t get me started about “out of sight, out of mind”.
Too late…you got me started. But first…a bit of animal recycling (Editors note: in the spirit of good ol’ behind covering, please note that no animals were recycled during production of this newsletter. Instead, their images are being used to demonstrate equivalent weights because what the heck does a tonne of garbage look like anyway?).
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.
I’ve been meaning to write a blog on biking ever since the large expansion of Toronto’s Bike Share system this summer. Continue reading