Efficiency in uncommon places

When science and art meet, it creates a world of wonder and curiosity.

Grants in action Energy efficiency and renewable energy education might happen where you least expect it

When science and art meet, it creates a world of wonder and curiosity. Telus SPARK challenged two artists to create art installations that embodied the science of efficiency and conservation, while delighting crowds. The Artist in Residence program resulted in two final pieces of work, Carbon is all around us by Lane Shordee and a three-part experimental radio play about energy and the human connection by Ashley Bedet.

Ashley's play was inspired by the discussions she has heard around energy and what it means to visitors and participants at Telus Spark. Lane’s concept was inspired by the fact that carbon exists outside of resource extraction and human use. Through carbonizing organic objects, Lane was able to use carbon as an artistic medium, pictured above.

Visitors were invited on an adventure to collect organic objects and navigate their way to the campfire set-up in Spark’s outdoor park, The Brainasium. Visitors then gathered around the fire with a hot chocolate or apple cider to engage in conversations and ask questions about the process of carbonizing objects, the carbon cycle, energy systems and climate change.

Energy Futures Lab Fellows come from all types of places. From energy producers, utility companies, real estate boards, education institutions, non-profits, finance and investment organizations, to start-ups and government agencies, they are a diverse group of innovators and influencers shaping the energy system of the future in Alberta. Energy Futures Lab tackles challenges like “us vs. them”, “community health and well-being vs. resource development" and “environment vs. Jobs” narratives head on through fellow-led initiatives. The initiatives are made up of working groups that that combine innovation, influence and expertise to tackle issues. Examples of some initiatives are artificial intelligence and machine learning or growing the lithium industry in Alberta.

When people think about energy efficiency, they don’t usually think about grizzly bears. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) showed Albertans of all ages that considering how you use energy has larger impacts on wildlife and their habitat, and inspired kids and adults alike to take actions in their homes and communities to reduce energy use. They updated existing successful programs like Bring Home Nature and Climate Game Changers, and piloted new programming called Energize and Energize with Grizzlies to include the importance of energy efficiency in wilderness conservation. Action challenges are a key part of CPAWS interactive learning that made an impact on Albertan’s energy use, with over 222 projects completed. Teacher professional development and energy audit loan kits round out the work CPAWS was able to accomplish with their Energy Efficiency Education grant funding.

Myrnam, Alberta is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of an efficiency and renewable energy hub. This little village in the eastern part of the province is an agricultural- based economy with about 340 residents. However, over the past few years, Myrnam has worked to integrate renewable energy into its educational programming through the Construction and Technology Education Centre and Myrnam Outreach and Homeschool Centre, and has built state-of-the-art buildings to offer renewable energy training, including energy efficiency, for the town and surrounding area. Access to post-secondary education is a challenge in this part of the province, and Myrnam is rising to meet this challenge with unique learning programs that work for many schedules and ways of life. They are partnering with the St. Paul Education Regional Division and other educational institutions in surrounding districts to offer dual credit courses that get residents working faster.