I’ve got to hand it to the engineers out there looking for ways to make our society more sustainable. The “green movement” has gone from fringe to fashionable, and now there are even varying degrees of green-ness (forest, bright, etc.). But as “new” as the green movement/sustainability seems, I find it ironic that one of the most-publicized instances of a sustainable practice is decidedly old school: using ice blocks to cool a building.
Because electricity is needed to make the ice, water is frozen in large silver tanks at night when power demands are low. The cool air emanating from the ice blocks is then piped through the building. At night the water is frozen again and the cycle repeated.
Seriously, how drunk must some engineer have been to come up with that one? But you know what? It’s an awesone solution, and definitely sustainable/renewable. In a world where “green” is often equated with Al Gore and the Prius, it’s refreshing to see a high-profile application of sustainability that actually has a shot at widespread business adoption. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth got people inspired. Toyota got people looking at hybrid cars, even though Honda was technically the first to market with its Insight. But using ice to cool a building — now that is something that every single business (not just American ones) can seriously consider as a practical response to both business expenses and global warming. You go, engineer!