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.
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.
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.