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Feature Articles

2010 to be the year of the smart building app

Written by  Ken Sinclair Wednesday, 10 February 2010 13:39
We just returned from a very successful Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition - AHR Expo - in Orlando, and the buzz was all about how powerful cloud-based web services are radically changing building automation industry. Several vendors demonstrated augmented realities with close-coupled web services that provided iPhone-type mind expanding services at lower than before costs. 

Low tech to no tech: how Minto Midtown’s design and management reduce resource use

Written by  Robert Colman Wednesday, 10 February 2010 12:05

Minto has made a name for itself as a leader in green building practices by adopting  innovative technologies, management practices, and heavy promotion of sustainable buildings. The company is helping to bring green building to the mainstream quickly – and with style.

OPA to the rescue with energy retrofit incentives

Written by  Greg Jones Tuesday, 09 February 2010 16:40
Many thanks to all of you who responded to my question last month about why people won’t invest in energy efficiency with a 50-100 per cent ROI while they still line up for RRSPs returning three per cent. While the comments were interesting, I don’t think we solved the problem.

Are you effectively managing your compressed air? Find the energy savings today.

Written by  Alan Bandes Wednesday, 27 January 2010 13:23
It is amazing that while there is much discussion in various media about energy and carbon reduction, most plant personnel fail to realize that there are incredible opportunities for cutting energy waste and carbon gases right under their proverbial noses. These are opportunities that could dramatically improve their companies’ competitiveness.
Whether a building is labeled “green” or not doesn’t necessarily determine its efficiency level — some buildings are just better managed than others. The challenge in managing any property is to get individuals working within it to operate it properly. This is particularly difficult in restaurants where “efficiency” is all about getting people their food as quickly (and pleasantly) as possible. You can’t turn off a deep fryer with customers at the front of the house just to save energy. Or can you? Leslie Burns, Energy Manager for the Harmony Group of companies is finding there is a lot she can do with the teams at Earls, Joey Restaurants and Cactus Club restaurants to shed energy use without affecting customers.

Lofty ideas require grounding: how to implement a rooftop solar panel deal

Written by  Lisa Borsook and Jeff G. Cowan Tuesday, 26 January 2010 09:59
A number of landlords, owners and tenants have recently received inquiries from rooftop solar panel installers, interested in installing solar panels on their roofs. In principle, the idea sounds good, encouraging green power solutions. But in circumstances in which the owner is not the end user of the building (it has a tenant) or is thinking of selling the building, further consideration may be required before entering into licences for solar panels.

Building automation and the cloud educational series in Orlando

Written by  Ken Sinclair Thursday, 14 January 2010 09:37
I am often asked how one can learn more about the transitions now occurring in our building industry. One way is to travel to a warm location in January, and be part of the World's Largest HVAC&R Event and my 11th consecutive year of providing free education sessions at AHR Expo in Orlando, Florida (

Lighting efficiency series: It’s RRSP time… for lighting?

Written by  Greg Jones Wednesday, 13 January 2010 17:27

Well, it’s that time of year again — RRSP season is just around the corner. Every year I leave this to the last minute. The delay is usually due to my procrastination over where to put my money. Where can I get a decent return? My choices are usually pretty limited.

Financial mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions - why they are important

Written by  Peter Rowles Wednesday, 13 January 2010 17:24
The topic of climate change has been hotly debated for the past 20 years. Until recently, scientists, politicians and business leaders, especially in North America, have not been able to agree on the existence of the problem let alone what measures should be taken to mitigate it. It is only recently that consensus levels have dramatically increased. Even the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, admits that climate change is real when he says: “The facts are there, that we have created... a self-inflicted wound through global warming.” It is now generally accepted that climate change is real, immediate and requires substantive action. 
In the fall of 2009, St. Marys Cement in Bowmanville was the first North American industrial organization to receive its Certification in Energy Excellence (CEE). St. Marys received a silver level certificate after completing an in-depth, 12 month, third-party energy assessment. The certification was the culmination of three years of work on the company’s energy management program.

Are your pumps working as efficiently as they should?

Written by  Robert Colman Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:58
When considering how to make a building more energy efficient, lighting always seems to be the first thing that comes to mind. However, as Greg Towsley explained at the recent PM Expo in Toronto, there are many savings opportunities related to pumps that aren’t being captured.

2009 Year in Review

Written by  Robert Colman Wednesday, 23 December 2009 01:00
The past year has appeared to be a watershed in smart grid development (in some places), green building and clean technology promotion. It’s difficult to say what it will all amount to in another 12 months, but the following three stories are worth keeping a watch on throughout the new year.
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