When an Olympic cyclist loses to a toaster, we all win
I’m a bit of a computer geek, as well as an “ener-nerd” — meaning, I love energy and everything it entails.
As an ener-nerd, my perspective is likely not representative of the general sentiment around energy and energy issues. But I feel that energy conversations are happening more frequently in many different venues.
To give you an example, I was having dinner with friends who work in the film and photography industries. They were discussing a recent video that went viral, garnering just over 1.9 million views at last count. The video is a test to see if an Olympic cyclist can generate enough energy to toast a piece of bread.
My video professional friends liked it because of the high production value and interesting plot. I liked it because it tracked the cyclist’s heart rate and his power output in watts. Basically the video asks: can the cyclist, “with his 74cm legs, generate enough energy to create a golden-brown toast?”
It was shocking to see how hard it was for this extremely fit Olympic cyclist to toast a single piece of white bread. Even an ener-nerd was surprised at the effort involved.
After two minutes, he literally (spoiler alert) falls off the bike into a heap on the ground and the bread is only lightly toasted. It perfectly demonstrates how much energy it takes to accomplish simple tasks.
It’s also a great way to create energy awareness.
The best part about this piece of energy literacy is that it stimulated a lengthy conversation over dinner about a myriad of energy issues. Pipeline debates, $40 oil, wind turbines and solar. If our conversation is any indication, these are the hot button topics in energy right now.
So what are the takeaways?
The video embodies some principles that we try to apply to our energy literacy initiatives at Bruce Power Direct.
- Make toast: Make energy relevant
One of our largest clients is a diary manufacturer. We are working with them to convert their energy cost from an esoteric kw and kWh (that only the engineers really understand) to a cost of energy per pound of dairy product produced. It’s not only making it relevant and changing the energy conversation within the organization; it’s also empowering the entire organization to make the right decisions about energy management.
- Fall off the bike exhausted: Demonstrate the impact of energy issues
People care when something impacts them. For example, we always receive questions about $40 oil, and cap and trade, and what it will mean to energy bills and costs. To the extent that we can, we tie those high-level items to specific costs and impacts, and we do that through our semi-annual webinars and our frequent blog posts. (Which, we are proud to say, get tons of positive customer feedback.)
- Keep it simple: Data that conveys clear messages
Many people have expressed frustration with access to data, and we hear the same thing from our clients constantly. We recently launched—and here is where the shameless self-promotion comes in—an innovative software tool, called the Bruce Power Saver. It gives our customers immediate access to the information they need to make the right energy decisions for their business. The best thing we can do is to make sure that every decision we make is the right one. Especially the important, high-impact energy decisions. We developed the Power Saver with exactly that in mind.
At Bruce Power Direct, our purpose is to help our clients “Understand, Manage and Control” energy to reduce their consumption.
The ‘understanding’ component is key. If people and companies understand energy, they are in a better position to make informed decisions about energy.
Informed decisions about energy are better for our customers, better for the industry and better for the world.