How Will Your Office Celebrate the Holidays?

While I hope you are going to have some nice office activities around the holidays, the title of this post was meant to be literal - what is going on in your office building on December 25? How about Jan 1?

For most of us in the US and other locations abroad, the answer is "pretty much nothing". In fact, at Sun, many of our engineering facilities are closed for the whole week in between Christmas and New Year's Day.

So back to the question - what is going on in the buildings that day? Are desktop machines humming along waiting to provide instantaneous response to someone typing on their keyboard? Are printers at the ready in case someone gets the urge to breakaway from college football (that's what we do New Year's Day here in the states) to come to the office and print out a business document?

The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, NH) reports about a successful program to turn stuff off over Thanksgiving at UNH:

By "powering down" -- turning off computers, lights, office equipment and electronics -- for the Thanksgiving holiday break, UNH faculty, staff and students saved more than 34,000 kwh, $4,721 in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions reductions equivalent to removing two cars from the road for one year.

Now in the 24x7x52 world we live in, everything can't get shutdown. Our chip development team will keep our compute farm in Sunnyvale busy every nanosecond of the holiday weekend working on next generation chip designs. But think about it - turning everything off what you can for one week can lower the power bill for that stuff by 1/52nd, or just under 2%. That may not blow your socks off, but remember that the Kyoto Protocol only targets a 5% reduction from 1990 levels by 2008-2012, so depending on what goals you're managing to, it's not insignificant.

So before you leave your office for your holiday break this year, think about what will happen there while you're gone and turn off everything that you can. Your office equipment deserves a break, just like you do.