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Office Wars: The Space Heaters Awaken

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The cold weather is here at Verdigris HQ (yes, it gets cold in California!) and we received the annual email titled,"Use of Office Space Heaters," from our landlords. This email was unsurprising: our NASA research campus building is old and inefficiently heated. My co-worker has his toasty toes next to a radiator, while I shiver 10 feet away in front of a drafty window. While Verdigris employees don't use space heaters (the force is with us!), it's easy to see why portable heaters are popular in offices with poor temperature control. The email goes on:

"Portable space heaters are devices employed to heat a small, partially enclosed area. Unfortunately, space heaters are highly inefficient, may sometimes impede the proper operation of the buildings heating and ventilation system and pose a serious fire hazard in the workplace when not used properly."

Space heaters are a problem in offices. They are dangerous and wasteful, but cold employees love their space heaters. And for every 10 or even 100 good employees or tenants, there's 1 not-so-good one, breaking the rules.

How can facilities managers find space heaters, especially in large or multi-building facilities, or when left on overnight?

As I see it, there are 3 options:

1. Clone yourself 10-100x and alternate waking/sleeping shifts to walk around your buildings looking for problems (oh, and don't pay your clones, because you can't afford to!)

2. Absolutely perfect your heating for everyone (and that's going to happen when we all have personal temperature controlled bubbles... I'm predicting that will be in year 2100)

3. Use Verdigris as your eyes-on-the electricity 24/7 space heater galaxy hunter

Verdigris Space Heater Data
Bet you didn't know you had a space heater on in the hallway? (Verizon Office, January 2014)

Here at Verdigris, we're used to surprising our clients by finding unexpected energy sinks and fire safety violations in their electricity consumption data. Verdigris hardware is designed to identify individual equipment, directly from your buildings' circuit breakers. Space heaters happen to have distinguishable profiles that we have caught repeatedly in our office clients' energy data.

Yup, we find the energy and safety violators for you!

And with our new Tracker App, we send alerts directly to building operators when a usage profile matches one of the deviant space heaters.

Whew, no more cloning or space suites, you can just use Verdigris.

Want to learn more about how Verdigris energy data can give you extra eyes on facility equipment and energy use? Download our white paper to learn 15 ways to use energy data.

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Thomas Chung

Thomas is co-founder and product manager at Verdigris

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