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.
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.
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.
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.
I grew up around small businesses. My mom successfully started, ran, and sold a number of different small businesses throughout my youth, and I have to commend her for doing it all while also managing to be a pretty excellent parent! High-five, mom! But, while she was (and still is) a fantastic entrepreneur, I do remember how stressful it was and the toll it took on her,