An Example of How Budget Problems Can Help the Environment (and It’s An Ill-Wind That Blows No Good)

Here’s the text of an email we received earlier in the week from building management:

As a result of sequestration, effective Friday, March 8th the Frances Perkins Building (FPB) Facilities Management Office will be modifying the hours of operation for the FPB heating and cooling systems to achieve required savings detailed in OASAM’s sequestration plan.   Normally, the FPB heating and cooling systems are operational for 14 hours, from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.  In order to achieve the reductions required by the sequestration, the FPB hours of operation for the heating and cooling will be adjusted to the General Services Administration standard 10-hour operating day, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

We encourage you to prepare for the building being cooler/hotter in the morning and evening hours by:

–making sure that window blinds are opened or closed appropriately to maximize the sun’s effect,

–leaving private office doors open to maximize air circulation, and

–dressing appropriately, layered clothing that can be added or removed during the day.

We appreciate your cooperation as we implement these sequestration-driven cost reductions.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Here’s what I wrote back (restraining myself from noting that when President Obama called upon federal workers to make suggestions for how to save money two years ago, I suggested that we change the dress code and the building temperature to reflect the season, not some outdated notion of what is “professional” dress and was resoundingly ignored):

This is fantastic news.  I have long advocated making the inside temperature more consistent with the outside weather for our health and for the environment.  I hope that you will keep a policy of spending less money and precious fossil fuels on heating and cooling even if the budget picture improves.

I’m thinking that building management doesn’t usually get positive feedback.  😉


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