Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Remember that movie? I can never resist a good ‘80s movie, and to have Steve Martin and John Candy in on the hilarity? I mean, come on. That’s straight up comedy gold.
I do have doubts, though, that Steve and John were all that concerned with the energy efficiency of their various modes of transport. I think they were more concerned with getting home for Thanksgiving than they were with carbon emissions in the atmosphere. It’s a shame really – that movie could have been the figurative poster child for how not to travel efficiently. There’s a lesson there, people. A solid lesson.
Superpowers. Sometimes they get used for good, sometimes they get used for evil. I’m partial to the ‘using-them-for-good’ angle, as most people are. However, being totally honest, if I could see into the future, I would absolutely write down the winning lottery numbers and take that jackpot home! Don’t lie – you’d do it too…right…? I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen though, as that type of superpower doesn’t tend to exist outside of whatever superhero blockbuster is in the theatres at the moment. It’s July – Will Smith should be releasing something in 3…2…1.
However, in terms of big business, there does exist a fair amount – ok, a LARGE amount – of real-world superpowers. These powers can be used for evil – (see: swindling people’s life savings for your own profit) – and can cause a devastating ripple effect which impacts peoples’ lives in heart breaking ways. We’ve almost become accustomed to turning on the news and hearing about yet another big business with less than satisfactory regard for how it deploys its superpowers. So, it’s always a pleasure to see big, powerful companies using their superpowers for good - especially when those companies are in sectors typically seen as less than environmentally friendly. Let’s give a couple of those a shout out, shall we?
Smartcool’s head office is located in Vancouver, Canada. While that may be a random factoid for the majority of the world, for us it means that our office is all a flutter with furrowed brows, butterflies in tummies, and a serious case of nausea-inducing nerves. Why, you ask? Because Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight. The Vancouver Canucks are in it. And it’s a home game. The tension in the city is palpable and, to be honest, completely overwhelming!
We’ve never won the Cup before. And we’d do just about anything for it. So, there’s that.
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.
Consider your building, wherever and whatever it may be. House, data center, office tower, supermarket, restaurant… does not matter. Every building around the world has dozens of ‘emloyees’, otherwise known as appliances and systems. These various ’employees’ in each building, from the the data center air conditioner to the restaurant walk-in cooler, all perform specific tasks within their area of responsibility.
I had gruel for breakfast this morning. At least that's what it looked like, but technically it was a bowl of steel-cut oats with raisins and pumpkin seeds added in for a bit of flair. I could really taste the health oozing out of it and I hated every minute of it. The only good part of this appalling meal was that it was homemade and pretty low on the energy-intensity scale.
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.
Last week, Smartcool announced the results of a successful pilot project with one of Africa's largest banks. This week, I thought I would take a longer look at the situation in South Africa, since it provides a great example of the importance of energy efficiency.