It isn’t often that green technology is based on insect swarm logic. But Regen Energy is using swarm theory as the basis for its devices that collectively and intelligently regulate energy requirements of a building.
The company’s Enviro-Grid swarm-logic controllers work smarter as a group, capable of reducing peak demand energy usage, said Wayne Candy, director of channel distribution with the Toronto-based company. “The whole idea is based on emergent swarm theory which is essentially saying that within a colony of insects … when you put millions of them together they are capable of extremely complex tasks,” said Candy.
Typical customers of these controllers would be big box stores, government institutions, hospitals and schools. Basically, “any kind of environment that has multiple high-use electrical volts” to power, for instance, roof-top HVAC units or multiple tanks of hot water heaters, said Candy.
Regen Energy was one of many exhibitors at the Greening Greater Toronto Marketplace, a showcase of green technology vendors, and part of the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery conference this year.
The marketplace is an opportunity to get the suppliers of green products and services together with procurement managers, said Keir Brownstone, director of environment and sustainability for the Toronto City Summit Alliance. Businesses today must heed the fact the global energy infrastructure is changing, said Brownstone. “Carbon in some jurisdictions has a price on it. That’s coming to North America very soon,” he said.
Another vendor, GEEP (Global Electric Electronic Processing) Inc., redeploys and recycles used electronic equipment using a proprietary system that allows it to re-use resources. “We break that material down, and recovery the commodities that are in there, so we pull those resources back and put that back in the system as raw material,” said George Craine, business development manager with GEEP.
As part of its services, the Barrie-Ont.-based company maintains depots across the country where people can drop off, for free, their used hardware. GEEP also manages redeployment warehouses for hardware that can still be used.
Customers who use the services, said Craine, are primarily concerned that the recycling process should deal with hardware in an environmentally conscious fashion. Specifically, he said, that hazardous materials are extracted and handled in a specific manner domestically, and not exported to Third World nations.
The mentality of North American society towards waste must change, said Craine. “They have a poor outlook on their waste,” he said, however adding that the trend towards being green is definitely catching on.
Another vendor at the Greening Greater Toronto Marketplace was Content Interface Corp., a developer of an interactive interface for viewing digital content that allows users to dynamically navigate through repositories of data via touch-screen.
The idea is to digitize information that would otherwise assume the form of paper printouts, said Brian Wannamaker, vice-president of special projects with the Toronto-based company. “We can put all that material that’s typically on paper into a digital form.”
The interface is a front-end access to a variety of data formats, like flash objects, PDF files and video. It’s basically a “multi-media editing and layout tool that allows you to use different types of digital media … all in the same information quilt and provide access to that information,” said Wannamaker.
Applications of the technology could include the real-estate industry (would-be owners could view images of property in a dynamic fashion across different geographic areas) or the electronic newspaper industry, to allow readers to view archived content.