Unleashing the potential of Toronto’s next ‘tech hub’

I first met Andray Domise, co-founder of Techsdale, in 2014 when he was running for Toronto City Council, and I volunteered to canvas for his campaign. [Read more…]

Four simple ways to encourage employees to bike to work!

biking to work

Joseph Byer leading the pack to celebrate Softchoice’s 2012 listing as one of Canada’s Greenest Workplaces by Maclean’s magazine!

It’s no secret that in North America, more and more commuters are choosing two wheels instead of four, or giving up their transit pass to avoid the crowded subways and busses. There are many more reasons than just traffic frustration as well including health benefits both physical and mental.

Aside from the reasons on the personal level, there’s no shortage of reasons for companies to promote the use of the bicycle as an efficient means to get to work every day.  For that to work, there are some things to consider that will encourage those would-be cyclists to drop the excuses and start pedalling!

As a year-round bike commuter, I’m lucky to to work for a company that not only provides shower facilities but also has a very casual dress code for regular in-office work days. Occasionally I may have to “suit up” to meet clients, but for the most part jeans and a T-shirt are perfectly acceptable.

So what can other business do to make it easier for employees to choose the cycling option?

[Read more…]

Greener Meetings

Working in a remote office I have seen the good and the bad of attending webinars.  The good parts being that of course it is much greener and easier to attend than having to drive and fly somewhere.  But sometimes it is hard to hear or be heard and our video isn’t always the best.  Overall I would say that the good outweighs the bad.  Obviously for a company of our size it doesn’t make sense to have everyone travel to 1 location. 

The Chicago conference room

 To take costs down one step further, as well as make our meetings even greener, we only give the meeting link and the phone numbers to managers instead of every employee.  This means we are using a lot less phone lines and computers to have everyone attend the meeting.  I actually prefer this way because everyone in their own offices gets together to view the meeting in Toronto on their projectors so its like we are all coming together for our own meetings.

Charging Stations Offered in Parking Garages

InterPark, a company with many parking garages across the U.S. has begun installing charging stations for electric powered cars in 12 of their locations.  Currently all of the 12 locations are in the city of Chicago but they plan to roll out more down the road.  There has been a back and forth on the reasons why this hasn’t happened until now. The public were saying that they were waiting until the infrastructure of charging stations was built and the companies were saying they were waiting until people buy the cars.  Well we should wait no further, InterPark has made the first step.  In fact, they are allowing you to charge up for free through the rest of the year.  As a promotion they are also giving away a lease on a Tesla Roadster, a high performance electric sports car, leases on a few Toyota Prius’ as well as many other things.

This isn’t only happening in Chicago, companies all over are implementing charging stations.  Check out this picture of how the parking in San Francisco has come along.

Here are some great green commute facts from InterPark.

FACT: One-in-four American adults say they would likely consider a reasonably priced plug-in car the next time they purchase, according to Consumer Reports.
FACT: Currently, 96% of U.S. transportation is fueled by petroleum.
FACT: For the rest of 2010, home charging station installation costs get a federal tax credit of 50-percent up to a $2,000 max.
FACT: There will be “No Charge to Charge” for the rest of 2010 at an InterPark downtown Chicago facility that has a charging station.

So now that the infrasturcture has begun being built maybe it is time we all considered a green car on our next car purchase.

http://www.plugin.com/2010/09/charging-stations-being-installed-in-12-interpark-garages/

Review: Live Green Show

On the weekend I had a chance to check out the  Live Green Show. There were two stages with live music and long line of vendors streaming up the street. One of the stages claimed to have the first bicycle powered sound equipment. It makes you wonder: How much energy are humans producing in their daily lives that is going to waste? Could we be outfitted in someway to produce power for other things? I see a lot of people at the gym running on machines that consume energy, but what if that treadmill charged their electronics while they ran, or powered the TV in front of them? It reminds me of the movie “The Matrix” where humans power machines to live in an virtual world. In a way, some of us are already doing that, aren’t we?

There were several government funded vendors at the show as well as several entrepreneurs pedaling their own innovations. The innovations ranged from cleaning cloths to organic free trade skin products, to rain collection devices. The rain collection barrel with eaves trough attachment again reminding me again that we are letting things go to waste all the time. In the city we do not collect rain water but with an investment of under $200 you could save rain water. You could us it for your lawn/garden or to load your water gun and keep away pesky neighbors, think about how much you’re currently wasting on that!  Have fun with your energy savings.

Shared bikes: Time to rethink your commute

Bixi tent at Urbane Cyclist - spreading the word through the city.

Sometimes when I leave the office, I play a counting game. I count all the single-occupancy vehicles lined up on our street as they wait to squeeze on to the packed highway. Sadly, that number climbs up pretty fast.

Many cities are starting to take some great steps towards alleviating congestion and trying to make it easier to get around town without the need for a car. Bixi has been launched in the downtown Toronto area after successful roll-outs in cities like Montreal, Washington DC and London UK. I was fortunate enough to catch this info tent being set up in front of Urbane Cyclist on John St at lunch today. [Read more…]