Green buildings make employees see red

Green buildings make employees see red

Employees have to make a lot of changes in order to work in a green building

The nation's greenest data centers eliminate personal printers for most employees. Instead, these buildings provide shared printing and copying rooms on each floor that vent directly outside to keep the rooms cool.

"One of the huge discussions during the design of the building is that we were giving up the printers that everybody had at their desks and the copiers in each department," McCauley says. "Those have been isolated to printing and copying centers, which should reduce energy usage and paper usage. We have two or three of these centers on each floor."

"We are getting a lot of pushback from the rank and file about the printers and copiers," admits Lt. Col Dunic. "But it is going to be our policy going forward."

Green buildings also have fewer electrical outlets so employees can't plug in their own coffee pots, hotplates, microwaves or refrigerators. Forget about personal heaters, fans or desk lamps, too.

"Mr. Coffee uses about 1000 watts when it is brewing, and it cycles on and off. It's 250 watts of constant power if you're keeping a hotplate warm," Long says. "We have rules that allow no more than two coffee pots for every dozen or so people."

"Our employees are not supposed to have coffee pots, heaters or refrigerators in their personal workspaces. It's a constant fight," Pegnato says. "We probably get 90% success on that."

Pegnato says he chooses his battles when it comes to forcing employees to adhere to strict electricity usage in their offices. For example, he isn't likely to force an employee to turn off the lights on a desktop Christmas tree.

"It's a balance and a trade-off," he says. "Do you literally run an office where you have Big Brother watching you? Where you plug in a pencil sharpener and somebody absconds with it? It depends on the culture of the organization."

There is a plus to working in a green building: Lots of natural light. Green buildings are designed to make maximum use of sunlight. The fluorescent lighting in these buildings often have automatic dimmers so they adjust to the amount of sunlight in the room, and lighting automatically turns off when the room is unoccupied.

"No employee is more than 65 feet from natural light," Pegnato says of NSOF. "We have five large courtyards and skylights."

Green building operators say the biggest complaints from employees are about losing their printers, copiers and coffee pots.

"It's a huge mindset change because everyone wants their own close by," McCauley says.

"The coffee pot and the printer are the big things," Lt. Col Dunic agrees. "This is something near and dear to people."

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about Brother International (Aust)COLEnvironmental Protection AgencyHISMotionPLUS

Show Comments