Sunday, January 03, 2016

Pound Foolish

From the inbox:

Team Big Base:

This New Year’s weekend is an excellent opportunity for us to continue our energy conservation efforts and save money through our “UnPlug It” campaign. Before you leave work for the long weekend, please unplug items that do not receive daily updates from our computer network or that are otherwise required to remain on for security/safety. Items to unplug include, but are not limited to, computer monitors, coffee pots, printers, scanners, radios, desk lamps, task lighting, shredders, fax machines, microwaves, computer speakers, projectors, decorations, clocks, and any other devices that use an AC/DC inverter plug. Please identify select individuals in each of your respective units/sections to serve as compliance personnel in verifying maximum energy effectiveness by ensuring all unused items are unplugged. Please take note: DO NOT turn off laptops or desktop computer CPUs.

Thanks for all you do to make Big Base an outstanding place to live and work. Working together, we can save upwards of $5,000 per “UnPlug It” event, just through the simple actions described above. Please direct any energy related questions to our energy office at

Have a safe and joyful New Year’s!


Big Base, Flyover State

Now, Big Base has a working population of 26K people, approximately half of whom are civilians. To the best of my research, their average wage in excess of $20 per hour.

Let's assume for the moment that the average time necessary for an individual to read the above email, take inventory of the electrical devices, and unplug them would be six minutes. Some, no doubt, send emails from Col Pennychaser straight to their spam folder, and hence spend no time at all. Many in higher paygrades busy themselves "selecting compliance personnel", and spend far more than six minutes. And some cranky minority spend their own and their coworkers time ranting about how worthless the effort is when the biggest power sucks, CPUs, are excluded from consideration.

But let's assume a six minute average.

It follows that the payroll cost of the email alone runs to $52,000 for the base, in return for which investment the base is estimated to save $5000 in utility costs.

Sounds like business as usual.

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