Power Play

We blog about projects, and we blog about sustainability.  And we really like to blog about projects which “buy in” to the idea that they can set examples for others.  And it’s icing on the cake if it involves games or sports, especially on Father’s Day!

This weekend we came across a story about – of all things – a new hockey rink – in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and its outstanding consideration of energy and sustainability in its design and in its planned operation.

The article comes from The Cape Cod Times.  Here is a link to the entire story, we encourage you to read it.

But what struck us was the way that just one or two people in this project made the difference.

To quote the article,

“The rink is equipped with a number of energy-saving features, including a waste heat recovery system, lighting that is free of chlorofluorocarbons and advanced insulation. Many of these features were researched and planned by Sia Karplus, director of research at Science Wares, a Falmouth architecture and engineering company.

Karplus said she had worked on planning highly energy-efficient homes in the past and volunteered to help make the rink as energy conscious as possible.

“In many ways it’s a refrigerator with the door open,” she said of traditional skating rinks and their inherent energy waste problems. She then asked, “What can you do to make the most energy-efficient rink ever?””


What we want you to notice is the way Sia took this on as a challenge – as we always imagine the best project managers do their work – as change agents and “get-r’done” types of contributors.

Some of the statistics for this ice rink:

  • Cost: $6 million
  • Square feet: 49,000
  • Panels: 3,302
  • Seats: approximately 700
  • Electricity produced: 900,000 kilowatt-hours/year
  • Energy use estimate compared to other similar rinks: 50%

The creators and sponsors of this project are justifiably proud.

You can visit their site and see photos of the construction and some of the very creative energy-saving ideas they implemented by clicking here.

And whether you are a hockey fan, an energy fan, or a project fan, we think you’d agree that although the energy savings may be icing on the cake, there’s no icing on this play!


Blade running


In the film Blade Runner (at least the original that I’m familiar with), Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, had a job to do.

From Wikipedia:

The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the all-powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as other mega manufacturers around the world. Their use on Earth is banned, and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on Earth’s off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and “retired” by police special operatives known as “blade runners”. The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt out expert blade runner, Rick Deckard, who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.

As project managers, we’ve also got jobs to do.

Unless we don’t.

Well, thanks to green energy efforts – and in particular, green energy projects, there should be more opportunities for project managers.  Case in point (yes, another ‘blade’ reference) – a recent posting by the energy collective talks about a huge number of green energy jobs coming to Canada, in particular, to Ontario, thanks to huge efforts on solar and wind power projects.

The Ontario government discusses this in detail here in their Green Energy Act in which Ontario has set its intent (and call to arms?) to be the “North American green energy leader”.  Here are the Green Energy Act’s main points:

  • Spark growth in clean and renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and biogas in Ontario.
  • Create the potential for savings and better managed household energy expenditures through a series of conservation measures.
  • Create 50,000 jobs for Ontarians in its first three years.

They want to give Ontario the edge.

The key is the 50,000 jobs.  These are project-focused efforts.  So there will be a lot of work for project teams.  And so, there will be many jobs for project managers.

The reference to Blade Runner is mainly from this story in which Siemens will be building a turbine blade factory in southern Ontario.  The project managers overseeing the manufacture and distribution of the product from these factories are today’s blade runners.

The moral of this story?

It underlines our assertion that project managers should be learning about sustainability, building their green vocabulary, and practicing looking through their “green lenses”. You can do that by keeping up to date with our blog here at EarthPM and of course by buying and reading our book.  It will give you an advantage in the coming years that will (we couldn’t help this, sorry) cut like a knife.