It’s been hot in London this past week – we’re expecting a high of 33C or 90F+ today (despite my living here for a few years I still don’t understand Celsius and often find myself doing mental arithmetic to convert the figures to Fahrenheit). Now I’m lucky because I get to drive to/from work in an air-conditioned car but I feel for my fellow London commuters who use the Tube (the underground) in this heat. The first line was opened back in the 1860s and the network has expanded to carry more than 5+ million people around London each month. Unfortunately (and as far as I know), with the exception of the Jubliee line (the newest line) none of the underground trains have air con so it gets hot in there. And to make matters worse, the Tube wasn’t originally designed to ferry so many people (a game of sardines anyone?) so the combination of heat, humidity and overcrowding is not something I relish and avoid at all costs.
Hot weather was probably not on the forefront of the minds of the designers of this system because back in the 1800s temperatures on the average were a lot lower than what we experience now. If you’re curious to see how much lower, then check out this short animated movie representing the predicted temperature rise through to 2100. You’ll have to scroll down half-way down the page to the section titled Climate Change Projections. BTW these predictions were made by the Met Office in England which is responsible for all matters relating to weather forecasts. Anyway, we know that modern life has contributed to global warming so it stands to reason that any activity that reduces our impact on the planet while helping businesses create better products, faster and less expensively has got to be a good thing.
While we often hear about simulation and its role in improving product performance, we rarely talk about the impact of simulation on planet earth. With the help of simulation, design engineers can create products that not only perform better, but they do it more efficiently. Increased efficiency results in a lower demand for resources such as raw material and electricity. So it’s easy to see how it can have a significant impact on the environment.