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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's C-c-c-c-old in here!

In the roughly 3 1/2 years we've been living in our current city, Dh has taken part in what seems to be a popular game with government offices. It's a bit like musical chairs, except it's musical office space. I've lost track of how many times he's had to move to new office space.

Sometimes it's just from one floor to another. Sometimes his entire team will move together. Other times, part of his team will be on one floor while the rest are on another - or even in a different building. He's been through several of these moves, with the most recent one being to another building, right next to the one he'd just left.

These have all been with government contracts of one type or another. So he's been working on government contracts in civilian offices, as well as contracts worked in government owned offices, specific to the department he's contracted to.

One of the things in common with a lot of these facilities is that they are all variants of "green" buildings. In his last office building, this included things like lights that shut off if there hasn't been any motion within a certain length of time - a problem for people at the far end of the office, who didn't fall into the sensors' area. The lights are turned off automatically, but turned on manually. Of course, the on switch is at the main entry. With few sources of natural light, it became so dark as to be a safety risk. So much so, my husband bought LED night lights that automatically turn on when it gets dark. That way the hall was lit enough for people to go through without walking into things.

Another commonality for these buildings involves temperature control, like in the building he's in now. The entire building would have the temperatures set based on season. In the winter, the heat would be on. In the summer, the AC would kick in.

The problem starts at times like right now. It's the beginning of March, and for this time of year, the "normal" temperature is usually as warm as +2C (-9F) during the day.

Today, it was hovering in the -25C (-16F) range. That's before windchill, which hit -35C (-31F).

Which means the building wasn't being heated properly. Apparently, manually changing the temperature is rather convoluted, so no one was willing to do it. Especially since it's supposed to warm up a few days from now.

My husband and I keep in touch through MSN throughout the day. At one point, he told me that he'd just put his winter coat on because of the cold, and was seriously thinking of digging out his earbuds (like earmuffs, but designed to go around the back of the head, instead of across the top) and scarf. He'd long since put his winter boots back on, and his toes were still freezing. It certainly wasn't helping the cold that he's still fighting off from last week. And it's not like he was wearing a skimpy fabric dress shirt or something. Dress is pretty casual where he works, so he was wearing a thick, long sleeved polo-type shirt. This is a guy that has a very high tolerance for cooler temperatures, too. Usually, he's quite comfortable in temperatures that have me shivering, or seriously overheating in temperatures I find comfortable. So for him to be at the point of having to bundle up, things had to be seriously cold!

When they had first seen the office space he's in now a few weeks back, in preparation for their move (yes, he moved offices at the same time we were preparing to move into a new home), the office space was so hot, he was sweating just in the short time they were there. You see, a few weeks ago, local temperatures were somewhat warmer than average.

Somehow, this is supposed to be a more efficient system. Because heaven forbid, people might actually adjust the thermostat to match current conditions.

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