One of my least favourite things to do is to go grocery shopping. I’m usually there at the worst times (right after work, along with the rest of the population of Vancouver), I usually forget my list (and subsequently all the items of which I’m most in need), and I almost always end up in line behind someone who’s paying for their bill in nickels, dimes and pennies (or, you know, I’m that person). Some people love it, some people don’t. I definitely fall into the latter category. But, while I do not enjoy grocery shopping, I do enjoy food and therefore find myself at the grocery store at regular intervals.
What has never crossed my mind until quite recently however, was how much energy these supermarkets use to power their refrigeration systems. There are a lot of coolers and freezers in supermarkets and a lot of them are open to the air, which means they are running constantly and using up a significant amount of electricity.
Some of you may be wondering about the hummingbird on a site about energy efficiency for buildings, so let me explain. First, hummingbirds are pretty amazing, what with their crazy migratory paths and their feistiness around the feeder. Second and more specifically, hummingbirds use such an incredible amount of energy while being amazing and flying backwards and dive bombing people sunbathing near the bird feeder and doing all those other hummingbird-y things, that they need to eat more than their own weight in food every day.
A beautiful old house down the street from me sold a few weeks ago. In Vancouver’s ludicrous real estate market, that is nothing remarkable. What really floored me though, was when I walked past the other day and saw one of those big signs up in front of the house, indicating that it is on the chopping block to be demolished.
Whenever I prepare myself for a day of surfing the net, I can't help but imagine what is happening in the world to make this possible. As I brew my coffee and make my breakfast, thousands of servers in thousands of data centers are quietly plugging away to ensure that the internet continues to be accessible 24/7/365.
I would not say that I live in a slum. Having seen from afar the deprivations of every day life in Kibera, Nairobi’s enormous slum, I would definitely not say that I live in a slum. However, my apartment is not exactly the nicest place to live. The kitchen floor looks dirty no matter how much I clean it, since previous tenants over the years have stained it beyond redemption. The bathroom has an abundance of black, scary mold due to terrible air circulation and permanent sogginess.
Last week we looked at the problem of the split incentive in getting energy efficiency improvements for rental properties. One of the challenges mentioned was that of motivating the utility to get on board with innovative programs like PAYS. In this post we’re going to delve a bit deeper into this issue for the sake of getting a solid understanding of some of the hurdles energy efficiency needs to clear.
Nothing beats the shoe-phone. Unless there's gum on the bottom of said shoe and it gets stuck to your face while you are trying to have an intense conversation about saving the world from something or other. But nothing beats the shoe-phone in terms of silliness, particularly when it is in the hands of a complete lemon like Maxwell Smart.
A few weeks ago, one of our readers commented on the incredible waste of energy caused by so many buildings being over air-conditioned. This is something I’m sure everyone has experienced – stepping in from a beautiful, sunny, hot day into a glacial building where a parka is necessary to be comfortable.
Earlier this week, I looked at why on earth people keep buildings frigidly cold by over air conditioning them. Apart from discomfort for many, what is the real problem with taking full advantage of this amazing modern convenience? Some of the problems were touched on in the last post, but we’ll expand the list here.
People can lose focus and productivity in a colder office.
In one of my many forays into the jungle of the internet, I came across a report that piqued my interest. Normally when this happens, I end up losing precious minutes of my life reading something that is seemingly intelligent and worthwhile on the outside but ends up all being an elaborate ad for shampoo.