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Greening My Office Blog: First Success!

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 21st, 2010

Source: Greening My Office via The Ecologist

Image: petrr via flickr CC

From I got them to switch the heating off! by Sylvia Sunshine:

My office is over 70 square foot in size, but only half of the space is ever being used at one time. The other half lies empty.  The organisation that pays my wage rents a large office space and sublets out to two other companies. However, my company has been unable to sublet the remaining space on the floor.  According to research by the property agent NB Real Estate, there is now over 10 million square foot of office space lying empty in London alone, up from 7.8 million in 2008. The capital has been left with over 10 per cent of its offices empty, with the situation at its most drastic in the West End (where I’m based).  And of course, with this waste comes the predictable onslaught of environmental damage.

Because there are so few people in the space I’m in, it takes more energy to heat, in both real and relative terms. Furthermore, in the empty office adjacent to my office, we heat the entire space day and night, even though it lies vacant (and has done for nearly a year).

The next morning I approach the company head honcho about the empty space in our office.  ‘No one wants to buy at the moment,’ he says. ‘We’ve tried to lower to price too, but nothing seems to work’.

‘Can we switch off the heating in there?’ I murmur, head hanging low over a bowl of organic museli.  My boss looks at me carefully. I can see the cogs turning as he remembers previous conversations. As time stands still I think he’s about to upbraid me for being too much of a goody (non-leather) two shoes. But instead of attacking me – as has become par for the course – he glances over to Jill and squawks: ‘Can we get building services to switch off the heating in the other offices? Rooms 2a and 2b? They’re not being used at the moment, are they?’

‘Sure,’ Jill shouts back across the empty office, ‘I’ll email the landlord now’.

‘Wow,’ I think. No qualms, no questions and no awkward silences. Just action. Maybe my technique is improving? Or maybe some kind of sea change is underway?

Read more about Sylvia Sunshine’s efforts.

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