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Stairway To (Coding) Heaven

Stair Challenge!

I don’t know what things are like in your country, by here in Canada, our Public Health Agency is constantly on our cases about “accumulating” (as they like to put it) 30-60 minutes of physical activity each day.

So, this past summer we decided to take advantage of GT’s natural geography (the 5th floor), and hosted a stair climbing challenge. We determined that the height of our floor from the street was 1/465th the height of Mt. Everest, and devised a tracking poster to measure this ascent in individual treks up to the 5th floor.

Our primary objective was to encourage employee physical activity, but our tree-hugging little hearts were also excited about realizing MASSIVE energy savings from this exercise. It turns out, however, that our elevator is actually quite energy-efficient since it uses the counter-weight system (as opposed to hydraulic). The elevator’s motor only has to overcome friction, with the counterweight doing most of the heavy-lifting; a one-way trip up or down the 5th floor only uses about 12.5 Watt hours.

To put this in perspective, we’re talking about enough power to run a computer & monitor for about 3 minutes. In terms of cold hard cash savings, that’s a cost reduction of about $0.08 per person per month if they were to use the stairs exclusively twice a day. Looks like aching thighs would have to be our primary motivation.

GT Massive Stair Climbing Chart
The Massive GT Stair Climbing Chart

With 95% participation from staff (John & Darius assured me they would have taken part, but were allegedly injured – though I still haven’t gotten those doctor’s notes!), we formed 4 teams of 6 people each:

  • Mastairs of Destruction
  • Effin’ Stairs!
  • Irrelevators
  • Quit Stairin’!

The team competition was a genuinely close-fought battle between the Mastairs of Destruction, captained by Nathan, and Adrian’s Quit Stairing team. In the end, it came down to Adrian arriving at the office before anyone else for the first time in 10 years, and who along with his evil henchman Sachin, filled in those final bars.

The Winning Team
Quit Stairin’ – Teh Winrar Team!

The individual challenge winner was Rick, in a tantalizingly close race.

I think after realizing that he lacked the leadership skills necessary to propel his team to victory, Rick decided to forsake them and put on the vulgar display of logging an individual tally over five times greater than that of his closest rival.

Captain Rick
Captain Rick. Leaves no man EVERYBODY behind.

We’ll be leaving the poster up for a while, so that individuals can complete their solo ascents of Everest. At this point, 2 months post-challenge, I’ve successfully formed the habit of trudging up those 97 steps at least once a day. I think…hope…that it’s starting to get a little easier…