Best of Intentions for 2018

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Just as it’s impossible to end a year without a “Best-Of” list, it would feel equally strange to begin a new year without at least a small self-improvement proclamation (aka Resolution). And if ever there were a need for a fresh start, 2018 is it :). Luckily, that is what New Year’s is all about. We’ve gathered 18 ideas (cuz 2018), some green and some generic, and would love to know what you plan to do. Pick as many as you’d like, then click the yellow “vote” button at the end to see results …

Next week, we’ll see what you plan to do. Whatever it is, we’re with you on this!

Top of the Pops for 2017

Top of the Pops for 2017

Before we can look forward to the new year, it’s a right of passage to take a good, solid look back. Through the power of clicks, you sent these stories to the top. And since we don’t boost our posts, it’s all 100% organic information. Rather than going just by the numbers, let’s look at what’s fresh in each season…

Winter Tales:


Ashwati channels her inner paranoid parrot for pollution prevention, 1 chemical at a time.

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A Boost For Better, Safer and Cleaner Water Supply

Clean water is essential for modern buildings and hospitals are no exception. Toronto and many cities usually supplies tap water at around 50 psig, which is only good for low rise buildings.  At PMH the building on 610 University Ave. side is 20 story high (we got 2 levels on 19th floor and there is 13th floor which is not accessible by elevators) so there is no way city water can go that high.  Thanks to some genius Continue reading

Get Lit for the Holidays

Normally we encourage everyone to turn off the lights, but as it’s the holidays, we’re all for a little sparkle and shine … especially considering the cornucopia of LED lights and timers. With the winter solstice hitting at precisely 11:28 AM on Thursday December 21, even more reason to inject some light into these darkest days of the year.


Funfact: LED lights use 80% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights. Continue reading

Different Kind of Ice Bucket Challenge

by Clarissa Cheung

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Hi There! My name is Clarissa Cheung and I am currently a fourth-year urban planning student from the University of Waterloo. For the last four months, I worked with UHN’s Research Facilities Planning and Safety (RFPS) Department as the Sustainability Intern. I had the opportunity to take part in a number of environmental initiatives across UHN. During my time here, I have gained a lot of insight into just how important sustainability is, from an environmental, economic, and health perspective. I hoped to share a little bit about my primary project, which was the launch of a new ice pack reuse initiative within the research labs.

Ice pack collection containers

As pharmaceuticals and other materials need to be kept cool during transportation, those ubiquitous gel ice packs arrive here in large quantities. These ice packs are usually thrown into the trash almost immediately, despite being in perfectly reusable condition. They are also pretty heavy, and as landfill costs are by weight, it is quite pricey to throw these away. Usually, a small number of these are taken home by lab members for personal use, but there are only so many that can fit in our freezers and lunch boxes!


I reached out to local companies such as the U of T MedStore and FroggaBio who, thankfully, have agreed to reuse UHN’s ice packs! Within the first month of the pilot study, 150 lbs of ice packs were collected at Krembil Discovery Tower alone. With the expansion of this program to the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower and eventually Princess Margaret Hospital and Max Bell Research Centre, almost two tonnes are expected to be diverted from the landfill annually.

Ice Packs Ready for Shipment

Ice packs ready for shipment, not landfill

District Cooling Retrofit at Toronto General Hospital – Saving Money While Improving Infrastructure

District Cooling Retrofit at Toronto General Hospital – Saving Money While Improving Infrastructure

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

Staying Green at UHN: A Student Perspective


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Hello! My name is Lauren and I am a fourth-year undergrad student at U of T, studying in Environmental Ethics, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy. I have been working as a placement student with the Energy and Environment team since September, and now that my placement is Continue reading