Technology for the Environment
In 2006 London Hydro initiated Chill-Out (www.chill-out.ca), a program designed to encourage residents of London, Ontario to safely retire old, energy-inefficient refrigerators and freezers in an environmentally conscious way. London Hydro arranged for the free pickup of these appliances and ensured the safe decommissioning of all units collected. The aim of the program was to save energy (an inefficient refrigerator can cost $175 a year in electricity) and to ease the strain on the province’s power grid. In addition, London Hydro offered a $75 rebate for the purchase of new Energy Star refrigerators at participating retailers and provided an energy-savings kit to all participants.
Parachute Software, in partnership with London Hydro and The Clean Air Foundation, was selected to provide professional services and a sophisticated software solution to manage the program. Parachute Software was tasked with working with London Hydro to incorporate their needs and program design goals by analyzing the retirement, decommissioning and incentive processes and designing/developing a software solution that would seamlessly manage the data between the various stakeholders. Tracking the appliances throughout the process was absolutely critical to ensure the proper dismantling of the unit. The software offered multi-user interaction through a web-based solution to ensure complete visibility throughout the process. All the necessary participants, including the consumer, call centre, pickup organization, and the back-office could view the program data, with varying levels of security access and control. This minimized errors, response time, and paper waste.
During the three-month program between May and July ‘06, over 5,300 fridges and freezers were collected and decommissioned through Chill-Out, surpassing the lofty goals set out prior to kick-off. After completion, Parachute Software assembled the wealth of useful data collected by the program to London Hydro that was used for a follow-up case study to analyze the effectiveness of the program.