Waste Not, Want Not
Alberta Venture, November 2004, pp. 68-75

If Alberta were to receive a waste management report card, it would contain the same scattered results that send many a parent from pride to despair. We’d see high marks for residential recycling programs that are keeping large percentages of beverage containers, used oil, tires and other troublesome materials out of landfill. Marks for reuse should be trending upward, thanks to an expanding array of entrepreneurs who are busy turning so-called waste into marketable commodities. But in that most fundamental of the three Rs, waste reduction, it would be clear that Alberta is headed in the wrong direction… .

© 2004 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
For reprint information, contact Cheryl@wordsthatsing.com

Water, Water, Everywhere…
Alberta Venture, September 2001, pp. 97-102

“Sure, you can fill your bottles.” Atop the mammoth Athabasca glacier with a gaggle of Grade 7 students, we’re swift to accept our guide’s invitation, snatching some Rocky Mountain delight from one of many streams bubbling down to the turquoise river below.

Bend, scoop and drink. Ours is instant gratification. A far cry from the arduous process sof turning water into a bottled commodity, say those in the business. Heavym, impure, bacteria-prone, water created complexities from source to sale. Yet the bottled water industry has attracted a plethora of players, all jockeying for a chunk of a market that’s growing yb 10% and more a year….

© 2001 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
For reprint information, contact Cheryl@wordsthatsing.com

No car no furnace no problem: How one Edmonton family’s commitment ot an energy-frugal life inspired their dram home.
TechLife, v2.2, 2009, pp. 28-33

Open up! Open up! Standing on the doorstep, I hear the pint-sized bundle of energy even before I see it as five-year-old Luke struggles with a door stuck tight by a January thaw-freeze cycle.

Inside, the excitement continues. “We’re going to watch a movie!” Luke exclaims, bouncing backward onto the couch in glee. He’s clutching Ice Age, a title whose irony strikes only later as I reflect on the spectre propelling his parents’ journey: global warming. 

For Luke and his three-year-old brother Jacob, watching a movie is an event. So is riding in a car. And if the rack of half-dry clothes in the corner of the living room is any indication, the clothes dryer is as foreign to them as the army of Dodos they’re about to meet in the movie.

And that’s not all. Before year end, the two boys and their parents, Conrad Nobert and Rechel Amores, will be living in what aims to be Alberta’s first ever LEED Platinum Certified residential building – and Edmonton’s second Net Zero house. A structure designed to produce at least as much energy as it consumes….

© 2009 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
For reprint information, contact Cheryl@wordsthatsing.com

Batteries included: This electric vehicle hits a top speed of 130 km/h and costs pennies a day to operate. Meet the man behind the invention.
TechLife, v2.1, 2008, pp. 14-17

Nap Pepin purrs to a stop at the Sherwood Park IGA—and like a magnet, his low-slung electric one-seater draws a curious crowd. Even before lifting the bubble-topped canopy to step out, he’s rhyming off particulars in response to rapid-fire questions. Fuel economy? As high as 628 miles per gallon. Top speed? At least 130 kilometres an hour. Range? Nearly 200 kilometres between charges. Heading inside for a bag of marshmallows, he hears the gratifying clincher: “Holy cow, I want one of those.”

It was not for the attention that Pepin, a project engineer at ATCO Electric, put more than 300 hours of free time into building this zippy little three-wheeler; in fact, he hesitated to take the egg-shaped vehicle out in public at first, fearing ridicule. Rather, he built it for the joy of learning all he could about the latest electric vehicle technology, with an eye to building an even better car next time. The thumbs-up and bravos and front-page coverage that came his way as soon as he dared to venture beyond his own cul-de-sac have been icing on the cake….

 © 2008 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
For reprint information, contact Cheryl@wordsthatsing.com