Do you know why your ice cream is soft?

More importantly, how can solving this #firstworldproblem help your arts organization embark on an energy conservation plan?

As you might have noticed in our communications over the last couple of weeks, ArtsBuild hosted an Energy Conservation Training session last Friday, in conjunction with our ArtsBuild Energy Conservation Program. The training was to provide information about how small (and large) changes can make a difference in your organization’s energy consumption.

As someone who doesn’t know very much about my own energy habits, it was informative and interesting to learn that there are more factors to energy conservation than just installing energy efficient systems, such as LED lighting.

Stephen Dixon and Garth White, Energy Coaches with Natural Resources Canada, lead the day-long session and took the training class of 22 arts organizations through practical applications of energy conservation. Before getting started, everyone was able to share what had brought them to the training that day. Naturally, it was an interest in learning more about energy incentives – provincial and local, different approaches to energy conservation and general information about diving into energy conservation.

In addition to the presentation they prepared, Stephen and Garth lead the class through three different demonstrations that brought the learning to a practical level – demonstrating the range of colour in light bulbs, how clean air filters improve the efficiency of fan systems and the right valves can help make your HVAC systems more efficient.


One example that stood out to me was their demonstration with the light bulbs. When considering a complete overhaul of your lighting systems, Stephen and Garth talked about what factors you should include when calculating how long it will take to see the savings. How long the lights are running, how much heat the bulbs are (or are not) giving off and the type of light you need for your space are all factors in your overall energy saving outcome. It was great to see light bulbs also going off in the participants’ heads on how they could bring this learning back to their organizations.


So where does ice cream fit in? In another example, Garth shared that he had noticed his ice cream wasn’t as hard as it should be. Upon further inspection, he discovered his dusty refrigerator coils were to blame. The unit was running longer and causing ice to build up in his freezer instead of transferring the cold to his ice cream. Garth used this example to demonstrate how keeping your systems clean is the easiest way to make sure you aren’t paying more than you should be on your energy bill – and ensuring your sweet treat is just how you expect it to be!

These examples, plus the knowledge of Stephen and Garth provided a very informative day for all. For many, this training was their first step to forming an energy conservation plan. Next step? Learn more about your facility with ArtsBuild’s Energy Conservation Program!

A special thanks goes out to all our participants, Stephen and Garth and our session sponsors Natural Resources Canada and Toronto Hydro.