Hot tips for a cooler office

Data centres aren't the only rooms that face power and cooling issues. While an energy-inefficient office wastes electricity and money, IT also generates excess heat that can make you downright uncomfortable.


In my office, the combination of 160 watts of office equipment and 370 watts of lighting generated 1,810 BTUs per hour -- enough heat to keep my office uncomfortably warm even during cool fall days. In my case, turning on my window fan brings in another 95 watts of waste heat along with the outside air.

Here are some tips for keeping your cool.

-- Use Energy Star-approved equipment and use power management to reduce energy consumption. Put equipment on a master switch, and turn all nonessential equipment off at night.

-- Switch lighting to fluorescent fixtures or compact fluorescent bulbs, which consume a quarter to a third of the electricity of incandescent lights.

-- Optimise lighting to the task. Don't over-light an office just so you can read at your desk. A focused desk lamp will allow you to reduce -- or even eliminate -- overhead lighting.

-- Consider adding LED technology for task lighting. A 6W LED light fixture mounted over a desk can replace a standard 32W overhead fluorescent fixture. Another benefit: The directed lighting produced by LEDs doesn't create glare. The downside: LED technology isn't cheap, but costs have been going down, and colour quality and lumens per watt have been increasing.

-- When you do need to cool the office, consider a high-efficiency ceiling fan, such as the Gossamer Wind series Windward III, which consumes half the energy and produces twice the air flow of a conventional fan.

-- A desk chair with a ventilated back can help you maintain your cool without switching on that air conditioner or fan.

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