Something there is about ice cream on a summer day that can charm one’s spirit utterly. And if you happen to own and operate a business or a Toronto restaurant that sells cold refreshment to said charmed spirits, and the lot of you are sweltering under a blazing sun anyway, well, might as well make the most of it.
Such was the thinking behind the recent transformation of Ed’s Real Scoop, a two-location ice cream parlour that set itself up earlier this season as Canada’s first solar-powered ice cream shop.
Building on energy-conservative initiatives that began with a retrofit of in-store lightbulbs (owner Ed Francis replaced his incandescents with longer-lasting compact fluorescents) and the store’s principal ice cream fridge (he switched from an old-style air-cooled to a much more efficient water-cooled system), Francis elected to install solar water heating panels as his latest move to slash energy usage at his 10-year-old business.
The solar water heating system heats the water in the Real Scoop’s commercial kitchen courtesy of the four hungry panels that harvest the sun’s heat from the roof. So efficient is this method of capture and transfer that Francis expects to cover a full 50% of his hot water needs with it. More than that, the parlour employs a one-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that promises to generate a return for Francis of roughly 10% every year for the next 20 years.
But it’s not just the economic benefits that have inspired this transformation. With its sun-converting acts of magic, Ed’s Real Scoop vaults itself into an entirely different category of ice cream purveyor. Now, folks enjoying an under-the-scorching sun scoop of green apple gelato or caramel nut bark crunch ice cream from this good-to-the-environment entrepreneur enjoy an enhanced sense of pleasure with their summer treat .
Ed’s Real Scoop has two locations: at 2224 and 920 Queen St. E.