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Unfiltered Story #249731

, | Unfiltered | December 16, 2021

I used to work at a company with a fairly large campus and several different buildings. The building I worked in was completed just before I started, and made our company locally famous and the subject of frequent news stories and tours, due to the fact that it was, allegedly, the most energy efficient building in the state. At the time, only about 8 employees worked in this building, and for the first few months it was great… until winter hit.

The building was built strategically to capture the most sunlight: It was angled to face where the sun would hit the solar panels most often, and the front was mostly windows to capture sunlight for heat — but this meant that all winter, while the sun was always low in the sky, everyone’s computer screen was glared almost all day. A few people asked management if we could get curtains installed to be able to get work done, at least until spring came and the sun was higher in the sky, but the requests were denied. A few coworkers resorted to taping pieces of paper to the windows and moving them every so often as the sun moved, but were asked to cease doing this because it looked messy when the company owner brought tours through to show off the building.

The worst came when the cooling system broke down and the building became unbearably hot on every sunny day. We put in request after request to get the system looked at, but management always brushed it off saying that the heat was just a side effect of the building being so efficient. We had no choice but to regularly open all the windows and let the frigid winter air in — which the company owner took and ran with, telling his tours that “this building is so efficient at heating itself, we have to open windows to COOL OFF in the winter!”

Finally, my team leader had had enough. He went to the head of HR and asked to see her smart phone. He installed an app that was connected to our building’s heating/cooling system, and set up an alert for every time the internal temperature got above 80 degrees. Lo and behold, the very next day (a Saturday, when no one was in the office to open the windows), she got an alert that the temperature had peaked at 86 degrees (30 degrees Celsius). This was in a northern state, where 86 is considered an oppressively hot temperature for a summer day, let alone an indoor temperature during the winter. The head of HR spoke with management and was finally able to convince them to bring in an HVAC professional, who discovered that the cooling system had not been installed properly and had probably not been working in months. We stopped needing to open windows after that, and the owner stopped using it as a talking point on his tours.

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