Save energy! Work outside!

So we know about turning off the computer and the savings from car-pooling, we’ve debated the four-day week and every good TerraPasser must by now know the benefits of the smart strip. Is there any stone left unturned in the world of office energy efficiency?

Well I was wondering… until I came across this Japanese newspaper article via Environmental Leader. Office supplies company Kokuyo will banish 140 employees to the garden for 90 days each year in the hope of saving around six tons (so little?) of CO2 emissions.

> Electricity outlets and a wireless LAN system have been installed on the rooftop so the workers can use computers.

> Trees have been planted and a manmade pond has been installed on the rooftop in a bid to reduce intense heat in the middle of summer. Moreover, moveable solar panels have been installed like eaves to block direct sunlight.

> Workers will be allowed work indoors when it rains. In winter, however, they will be expected to try and work in the garden office, staying warm with blankets.

For those unsure of their carbon equivalencies, six tons of CO2 is a little more than the emissions from an average US car driven for a year, so I’m not sure if that’s a typo or this is all just the most stupid idea ever.

Either way, amidst the banality of people working at desks outdoors in winter while wearing blankets, there are two things at the heart of this idea that I think are worth constant reiteration:

1. There’s no need to over-heat or over-cool the office. OK, the whole blanket thing is maybe taking it a little too far, but generally there’s little need for the thermostat to be over 68 degrees in the winter, and no lower than 78 degrees in the summer.

2. The outdoors is awesome. Getting outside is good for the body, soul, and means you’re not using energy indoors (assuming you turned everything off before you left).

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pete