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Saving the Environment and all that jazz - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Saving the Environment and all that jazz [May. 6th, 2007|05:09 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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[Current Mood |bitchybitchy]

Nobody ever turns the lights off at work out here when they leave for the day. I mean nobody. Ever. As for their computer screens -- forget about it. Which is sad because wasted office electricity contributes more to global warming than automobiles, and yet is rarely talked about.

Of course I'm not about to give my office mates lectures on saving power -- there's no reason for me to be That Annoying Guy Down the Hall. The most I'll do is turn off my monitor and the lights when I leave. You can't save the environment by to annoying people into it (which will likely backfire anyway) but by incentivizing them.

The administration at UT (at least CS) is amazingly incompetent. How much does it take to install motion sensors in all the offices and turn the lights off automatically? It'll pay for itself in power bill savings in perhaps 3 months. And turning off monitors requires only a software change.

Forget any of that -- I can't get them to give me a key to my own desk drawer, the sound doesn't work on my own computer (on which I don't have root priveleges, so I can't fix it), and for a long time I had no office telephone. What they're really good at doing is installing annoying combination locks on all the doors and changing the number every once in a while in the name of security.

But getting back to the environment, if only we all had to buy the right to pollute, and there were a market for energy credits, wasteful power consumption would be cut in half overnight. Ironically, large corporations (in my admittedly limited experience) are a lot better than anyone else at saving power in the office, because they have the clear financial incentive to do it. Put that on your regulation loving pipe and smoke it.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-05-07 02:34 am (UTC)
"Ouch! You may want to talk to them and get it."

Clearly, I've thought about that! The deal is I either get to be on the NFS (and also get automatic backups) or have root. I went with the NFS/backups, but it's been painful enough that I'm going to switch once this semester's done.

I only get a choice because my advisor bought this machine. If it had been department supplied, I don't get to be root, period. Some day I'll rant about how evil the UNIX admins here are.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: fixious
2007-05-07 03:00 am (UTC)
You could put up an unsigned flyer reminding people to turn off the lights and monitors. (I did that, but I must say it doesn't seem to have helped.)
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-05-07 03:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, medryn already asked me to do that. I'm not surprised it didn't help. It's anonymous, but still annoying. Besides, like I tried to say in my post, I don't really see why the users are at fault here -- unless they have some incentive to turn the lights off, why should they?
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From: fixious
2007-05-07 03:22 am (UTC)
Not directly, maybe, but they probably understand that wastage costs incurred by the employer may affect the employees.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-05-07 11:37 pm (UTC)

Leave a note. Post a sign etc..

  • Leave a note asking people to turn the lights off. Post a sign at the office/room/lab exit reminding people to turn the lights/monitors off as they leave.
  • Get the sysadmin to set monitors to auto-off/sleep after 20 minutes of inactivity.

    People don't intentionally waste power, they're just too lazy or uninformed to do otherwise.

    For the record, I always turn the lights and my monitor off before leaving work. I leave the PC running only so that I can connect it from home.

    -Umesh (http://umeshunni.com/)
  • (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: arvindn
    2007-05-07 11:44 pm (UTC)

    Re: Leave a note. Post a sign etc..

    Oh, you have a blog. Cool.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)