2010-04-01

Grüner wird's nicht!


As my loyal readers will doubtlessly know, I have joined VMware last week (has it really been just last week? VMware time is like Red Hat time, about three to five times compressed).

Today I want to show you my new work environment, because I am quite inspired by my new company's commitment to saving energy and contributing to a sustainable way of life.

One could argue that I am overdosing on Koolaid, but the European in me has to say that this amount of effort to be environmentally conscious is quite unusual, even for California.


So, beginning with the outdoors part of the campus, you will see that the plants used for landscaping are local drought-resistant species, which do not require constant watering. I have not seen the campus in the middle of summer yet, but I hear that they let the grass dry up and yellow naturally, and then get green again when the rains start again in the fall.

There are also little stone gardens here and there, and some areas are covered in pebbles. Lots of outdoors stuff is made out of recycled glass and things like that.

Buildings are connected by winding paths as well skywalks. That's pretty cool, at least in my book. Each building only has one elevator, but a number of staircases, and those skywalks, too. All of it serves to encourage walking. If you asked me though, I think we also need a fireman pole or two, for when you are late for a meeting.


I have a soft spot for bamboo, and the fact that I get to walk past a few patches where it grows on the way to and from the office every day makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Then there's the lighting.

Buildings are built in such a way as to allow outside light to permeate the space as much as possible, and minimize the need for artificial light.

Gone is the buzz and flicker of fluorescent bulbs. And you can hear the birds through the open window.

Yes. Open window.

If you live and work in Europe, using windows (the ones with glass in them, not the operating system) to let the fresh and cool outside air in is normal. Not in the US, where people, particularly the ones in office buildings, have to live in stale, yet cold air-conditioned atmosphere.

VMware only uses air conditioning and heating in the few weeks in the year when it is either too cold or too hot to just close or open the windows to get the temperature right.


The Facilities team is providing us all with real porcelain plates and bowls to eat from, as well as real metal silverware and reusable water and coffee cups.

No bottled water is offered, but you can fill your cup with water from the filter on the fridge.

Almost all snacks are "good for you"--rice crackers, dried fruit, cheese, nuts, that sort of thing. There is even Finncrisp-style crispbread available! I should start bringing in some cream cheese for breakfast.


If you choose to bring some food to your desk from the cafeteria, they will give you a compostable container for that.

Every breakroom has bins for compostables, recyclables (aluminium, platic, and glass), and trash.

Best for last.

All sodas (and I figure there are 10-15 choices) are available in aluminium cans. Majority are sugar- and aspartame-free, but full-strength Mountain Dew is there too, for the hardcore geeks.

I am thinking of getting a motorcycle at last, or at least a scooter, for going to work in a more sustainable way. Sadly, public transport options from my location are nonexistent. :(