Turn the Lights Off

I work (for another week anyway) in an office building. I typically come in late, and leave late. When I leave on a typical day, nearly all the offices are empty. Yet I notice a surprising number of offices have lights that are on despite the fact that the fluorescent lights the office comes with are tied to an occupancy sensor.

So what gives? It turns out that the employees who occupy these offices during normal working hours have brought 300 watt halogen floor lamps in from home. These lamps get plugged into a regular outlet (not controlled by an occupancy sensor). Since during the day the overhead fluorescent lights are off while the room is occupied, I can only assume they prefer the quality of incandescent/halogen lighting to that of fluorescent lighting.

Who am I to argue with this? I mean, I try to use fluorescent lighting when possible (despite also preferring the quality of incandescents) in order to lower my carbon footprint; but those are my values and sensibilities. But there is no excuse for leaving that light on all night long. And yes, they are left on all night. I do occasionally have the odd night of sleep where I wake early and cannot go back to sleep, and on those occasions I arrive to work before those same people who leave their lights on arrive. And wouldn't you know it, all of those lights are still on.

So yes, I pass judgement on these people for being energy wasters. And of course I blame the company too. Somebody in facilities should be noticing this and care about it. Surely lots of money can be saved by turning these lights out. And if they don't care about money, then care about the planet, and provide plug-in occupancy sensors for the floor lamps. Or prohibit them, and offer to replace the built in overhead lighting with incandescents. Or something.

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