In the last week, DC has had day after day of record high temperatures, with the heat index soaring past 100 on a daily basis. Heat warnings, sweaty metro rides, and sweltering walks have abounded as thousands of government employees have gone to work during these hottest of days. Inside the halls of the HHS Aerospace Building, however, the temperature has been something much more akin to arctic. As I walk through the office on a daily basis, I see my fellow colleagues huddled over their desks with sweaters, blankets, and large cups of coffee, all signs of their attempts to stay warm in such a cool environment.
The apparent disconnect between inside and outside has been astounding. In a ten story building whose sides are covered in windows, the costs of maintaining such low temperatures when the air outside is so hot must be astronomical. This likely is the case in other government buildings where similar heating and cooling strategies are employed. By raising the default temperature that the air conditioning units are set to by even just three degrees in the summer, or, conversely, lowering the temperature during the winter, the government would be able to save large amounts of money that are currently being wasted on over cooling. If the sentiments of offices across the government are anything like they are here in OPRE, this respite from temperature backlash would likely be one that would be welcomed and applauded by staff members.
Fixing this problem would not take intense time, energy, or resources from the current staff in each building. This simple solution would produce positive economic and morale results with, quite literally, just the push of a button. Such proactive steps taken by the government would likely be seen as positive steps towards reducing government waste during this period of intense political and environmental heat in Washington, D.C.