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Energy Sustainability, Olympics-Style

Dancing on a sustainable power floor that lights up when dancers move on it, a film that connects the dots between Olympic athletes and powerful electrical energy, and an environmentally-friendly home – that’s BC Hydro’s Power Smart Village pavilion at the Olympics.

Hello from Vancouver, home to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.  BC Hydro is using their role as the Official Supplier of Electricity to the Games as a platform to promote a message of conservation, Simi Heer explained to me.  Simi is BC Hydro’s Power Smart Media Representative.

BC Hydro provides electricity to 94% of British Columbians, and is the third-largest electric utility in Canada.  Their Power Smart program has been delivering a sustainability message for years, encouraging British Columbians to consume less electricity.

dancefloorIt was fun to dance on the electricity-generating floor at Club Energy, and watch as the colored lights beneath the floor turned on and flashed with my dancing speed.  The floor is also part of BC Hydro’s message of how we impact and are tied to energy.  According to Simi, 1.1 million watts of electricity were generated the first two days from people dancing on the floor.  She told me that the floor has generated around six kilowatt hours of electricity in just over a week, enough for six loads of laundry.  That’s a lot of dancing.  “The message we’re trying to show is that it’s hard to generate electricity, so we should be wise in how we use it,” Simi commented.  Electricity doesn’t excite everyone, so the dance floor “makes it more interesting.”

Also at the Power Smart Village pavilion is a short film that draws parallels between athletes using their bodies efficiently and people using energy wisely.  Sometimes people need to be trained in conservation messages, just like athletes require training to become skilled in their sport.  Lack of knowledge can be a major stumbling block in getting people to live more sustainably.

Another onsite display is the Home of the Future, which is made of two recycled shipping containers.  The outside is made of B.C. cedar board siding and pine beetle wood.  Inside, a Smart Washer & Dryer and Smart Refrigerator monitor energy levels and do their most intensive work when the energy demand is low.  Part of BC Hydro’s Olympics effort is to recruit British Columbians to become members of Power Smart, and reduce their energy consumption by 10%, reports Simi.  It’s one step along the road to living sustainably.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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