As I woke up after far too few hours of sleep this morning , I pondered about some of the matters I had not written about in my nocturnal rant about the heat. There had been different prognostications about the weather today, with some claiming that it would be as hot as yesterday and the Weather Channel correctly noting that it would be about twenty degrees cooler today than yesterday, which was definitely a relief as far as I was concerned. Although I was more than a bit tired this morning as I blearily went off to work, the fact that it was somewhat cool gave me a sense of renewed hope and encouragement and it is with a spring in my step that I walked to my car and began my drove for work. After all, my satchel was full of books, I had my lunch and my snacks for the week, and it was not too late in the morning. I knew I was not on top of my game because of my lack of sleep, but it was not a disastrous morning.
When I arrived at work, and waited for the elevator, one of my coworkers made a humorous comment about how hot it was upstairs. He wasn’t joking. When I got off the elevator and made it into the office, I was met with a blast of desert heat (a desert because the temperature was a good twenty or more degrees hotter than the outside, with correspondingly lower relative humidity) that was barely if at all helped by all of the open windows that allowed in the local wildlife, including at least one bird. I reminded myself that Reese’s chocolates were probably not the best snack for a day like this, and our group soon scattered to cooler areas. I went down to my old computer for the rest of the morning until lunch to do my reports where it was a bit cooler, and it was much nicer by the time I returned upstairs to eat lunch and do some reading, managing to finish an entire 250-page book during the course of a normal lunch break. It was nice to know that if the air conditioning game was not very strong and I was not at my best that I was still able to read at my accustomed level of skill.
What had happened to make the office to hot? To be sure, it was hot this weekend, but why wasn’t there at least some cooling by the time work began this morning? As it happens, I found the answer to that question today, and that is that there is no automatic thermostat in the entire building. All temperature controls are manual, and so when there is no one in the office, as was the case this weekend, no cooling is done at all. Having lived in areas where mold is a serious problem, it became very clear why this is such a consistent problem. If no one is on duty during the weekends to make sure that the air is on to at least some level, then the first people who know that there is a problem are going to be those who show up for work on Monday morning, when it takes ours for the air conditioning to fully kick in to bring the internal temperature to its normal acceptable limits. To say that I and my fellow coworkers were deeply puzzled by this revelation is a deep understatement.
This brought to mind another question. How is it that an office building was built and permitted in the first place without having any automatic thermostat? Perhaps I am a bit biased because I grew up in Central Florida, but anyone who designs a building that does not keep the temperature to a certain level ought to face some sort of capital punishment. In Europe, the lack of consistent cooling in older houses leads to the deaths of tens of thousands of people during particularly bad heat waves. In an office building that is only a few years old, there are no excuses for not having the benefit of such temperature control devices. Is it so expensive to keep a building within its proper temperature control that one can sensibly forego air conditioning that would at least keep the office building at eighty degrees, which would be pretty warm but at least not overwhelmingly so. Is it worth the possible damage to computer equipment to allow a building to heat up without limit? Did no one think of this when the building was being constructed?