the workplace

The office in which I work is pretty eco-unfriendly. I am doing my part, but with the dynamics of the space, there's so much more I want to do but can't.

The one plus I see is that we moved offices fairly recently, into a 100-year-old building. At least we are using an existing, semi-historic building, even though it's not energy efficient.

Recycling
Last summer I implemented a recycling system. We go through enormous amounts of paper, cans and plastic. For a few months, I kept all of my waste paper and would bring it home once a week or so. But I was already changing my habits and conserving more. A few phone calls later and a lovely blue 96-gallon container was in our back area. I became the one in charge of bringing the container down for pickup each week. We also have a can designated for recycling by the printers that fills up fairly quickly. It's great that we recycle as much as we do, but it's not even as much as we could be recycling. Sometimes people just aren't willing to get up to recycle paper when there's a trash can within arm's reach.

In the nature of our business, we receive a lot of newspapers from around the area. And we receive multiple copies of some magazines with different employee names on each. The majority of these go straight in the recycling bin. We take what we need from the newspapers, but they all get tossed not long after arriving. But, we buy bubble wrap and rolls of brown paper for when we need to ship things. I believe my next scheme for this office will be to convince them to stop buying stuffing paper when we have tons of newspaper available to do the same thing. 

Energy
As I've mentioned previously, we have lots of computers, mostly Apples, which are fairly energy efficient, but which are never turned off. I understand there are nightly backups to be done, but they don't take all night, and the majority of the computers sit each night with screen savers going. But, since I've got one ally in the office who happens to be "IT", we've managed to solve most of the problem. Now each computer is set to sleep after the backup is complete, saving a great amount of energy each night. (And causing said coworker to call it the computer slumber party.)

There are four flat screen televisions throughout the office, all of which are on every day and one of which is on all the time. (That one is in the boss' office and is specifically requested to stay on, even if he's not here.) The only thing is, no one actually watches the TVs. I can see one TV from my desk, but can't actually read any news headlines. But, they are supposed to be on every day; my eternal question "Why?" goes unanswered. 

There are at least 30 windows in the space. On top of that, there are 12 warehouse-strength lights hanging from the ceiling. On top of those, there is one wall lined with eleven desk lamps - and no one works at those desks. There are two rooms that have lights that stay on (unless I sneak and turn them off) even though no one stays in them. When people do go in the rooms, they don't turn the light off when they leave. The one day over the summer we left the warehouse lights off, everyone else complained it was too dark. Plus, the windows are around 100 years old - they are not energy efficient. They leak air worse than a punctured tire.

Also, this is Louisiana. It's hot in the summer. We have four massive air ducts that blow air throughout the open space. But, one duct doesn't work, and the three that do aren't managed properly. Some areas are constantly hot while some (mine) are constantly cold. In the winter, when we use the heaters, it's still cold. We have 15-foot ceilings and heat rises. Needless to say, I am always cold in here and bought a sweater that stays here.

Conservation
We print. A lot. While many people are in the habit of printing double sided, there are still times where pages of just email signatures come through. Or there's a printer error that causes things to go haywire. (I have actually created a binder full of still-usable printer error sheets that I use to make notes and task lists.) Many people print emails that don't need to be printed, or if they lose something, they just print it again. Conservation really isn't a word used around here.


And of course, I am seen as the crazy one because I make an effort to not leave a giant carbon footprint in my workspace. I have had to fight to keep the recycling bin around - which by the way, I won.

2 comments

raindog said...

you're right, i am it! couldn't resist that, ha.

i think you've pretty much hit almost everything. the tv situation is really bad when you factor in the actual number of times they have been used for what they were supposedly bought for. but, of course, they were bought to show off this so-called great space in big, shiny high def. speaking of the great space, the next version could mention the improper wiring and power strip overuse, ha.

and did i just notice this morning the light illuminating nothing but the umbrella bin in the corner. i find it hard to believe that i'm just noticing it.

Caitlin said...

HA! Good one.

I actually hadn't noticed that until you mentioned it. But I believe the lightbulb was recently replaced - before, it didn't work.

Looks like the computer slumber party is still working well.

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