Adventures in Office Greening, Volume 1, Issue 4
Ok, so not the most creative title. But it does sum up the problem of the electricity used by appliances when not in use.
When I first heard about this, I thought it couldn’t be that big of a deal. But everybody’s little power strip, populated with their cell charger and laptop can add up. I’ll save the exact stats research to someone with more time.
What I’m trying to figure out right now, is how to get a sustainable (i.e. easily and consistently done) system running in our office so that everyone’s work stations are shut down for the night. As well as achieving this without resorting to nagging. I just don’t have the energy. (I’m conserving, remember?)
It seems like the main hurdle right now is setting up people’s desks so that the power strips are within reach without having to crawl under a desk every night. Or else, making sure we have power strips that are easily flipped with one’s foot.
Then, there’s making sure the lights are turned off. I thought it would be a neat idea for desk lamps to turn off if there hadn’t movement for a while. A sort of sleep setting. In fact, if you fell asleep at your desk, the name is apropos.
I don’t know if it exists yet, but I think it would make energy use more tangible if there were interactive electric meters that flashed colors along with a usage display. Then you can have real-time feedback on your actions inside your office or home.
“Woo hoo! We turned off our monitors at lunch, and the color changed from light orange to dark yellow!”
(PG&E currently has a glowing orb, but it provides conservation warnings on a system-wide scale.)