2006 - January
Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinator. They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Web site. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.
Delphi Question: Massage therapy
Delphi Question #562
(received October 6): I have heard numerous requests over the years to have
a certified massage therapist on site to perform fee-based
chair massage once or twice a month. Many other companies
offer this benefit to their employees. The therapist would
be licensed by the city, and would carry liability insurance
through a recognized organization, such as the American Massage
Therapeutic massage can help prevent or ease symptoms of
carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic neck or back pain, among
other problems. Is this a
service UCAR/NCAR is able to offer
Response (received December 5): This issue
has been reviewed in the past. Because of logistical and
liability issues, onsite massage therapy has not been previously
offered. Since Boulder has many locations where this service
is offered, onsite massage therapy has been viewed as a convenience
to employees, rather than a necessary benefit.
The inquiry is timely, however, as this issue is currently
being reviewed again. We initiated a liability and logistical
review on October 12, and expect to have additional information
within a few weeks. Once that information is reviewed, we
will decide whether or not to offer this service. That decision
is expected to occur sometime in 2007.
We will supply further information once a decision has been
—Bob Roesch, director
Delphi Question: Energy consumption
Delphi Question #563 (received October 20): What
are we doing as an institution to help reduce the stress
on nonrenewable energy consumption in the area of electricity?
I wonder if F&A has ever researched what it would cost
to implement new resources? How much do we spend at all the
sites for electricity?
I would like to propose to NCAR, UCAR, and UOP, which are
together dedicated to understanding our changing Earth system,
educating about atmospheric and related sciences, supporting
a global community of researchers, and benefiting society
through science and technology, that we become the change
that’s needed to improve our environment by joining
other businesses that are dedicated to using renewable energy
by “going solar.” If we introduced solar panels
at our lab sites, the money spent to purchase and install
the panels would eventually be repaid in savings from climbing
energy prices. And the organization could get rebates for
its spending on solar energy. Technology is getting better
in this area and I am very excited about how we could benefit
from it. I think it would fall in line with our mission statement.
Here is a link to a site that provides more information.
(I am in no way connected to Gaiam; it’s just one source,
and I like what it stands for.)
Businesses large and small around the world are using solar
energy, including the White House, Vatican, National Park
Service, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA,
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, World Health Organization, Discovery
Channel, Greenpeace, Sony, AT&T, Disney, Pacific Bell,
and many others.
Response (received December 8): The majority
of our efforts to minimize energy consumption are related
to Demand Side Management practices. These consist primarily
of the use of our building automation system control of our
facility’s HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning)
systems. By controlling system components based on building
occupancy levels, we are able to maximize HVAC system operations.
Unfortunately, a large portion of our energy consumption
is in the form of systems that need to operate continuously
and as a result are difficult to manage.
F&A has researched some alternatives in renewable resources
and we are currently slated to use 10% wind power energy
when it is available to us. It is worth noting that wind
energy will be purchased at a premium that will impact our
The cost of electricity for all UCAR sites for fiscal year
2006 was $1.895 million. This high cost is largely due to
NCAR’s computing systems that contributed 37.5%
of our electrical energy consumption for the fiscal
The Gaiam site you referenced has some good information on
the benefits of solar, but it addresses residential installations
only. Typically, commercial facility energy savings measures
are considered acceptable when they can produce energy savings
at a level that will repay the investment in eight to 10
years. Gaiam’s example of a 6.5 Kw residential installation
uses electric rates of 10 cents per Kw and has a simple payback
of more than 60 years. UCAR’s energy rates that averaged
between 4.5 and 5.5 cents per Kw for fiscal year 2006 would
result in a payback period nearly twice as long.
We in F&A and Physical Plant Services are very aware
of energy costs and the environmental impact of energy produced
by fossil fuels. Your question raises some good points, and
as the cost of solar technologies comes down, we can consider
using solar energy for some of our nonessential systems,
such as those currently in use at some of the locations you
have listed. These could include the energy used to operate
grounds systems and exterior lighting. Our choices, however,
will have to be based on budgetary impact and the payback
that can be realized from energy savings.
—John Pereira, director
Physical Plant Services
Delphi Question: FL1 lawn
Delphi Question #564 (received October 23):
I have noticed that the lawn between the north wall of FL1
and the parking lot appears to be deteriorating significantly
with the prairie dog takeover occurring there. There are
perhaps 10 mounds of dirt, and large sections are barren.
I haven’t noticed this same problem on other NCAR property.
Can anything be done to improve this area’s appearance?
Response (received November 3): We are exploring ways to
correct the prairie dog issues at FL1. Due to recently adopted
modifications to City of Boulder ordinances, the solution
is neither easy nor inexpensive. Any plans to correct the
problem have to be approved by the City of Boulder and would
involve relocation and extensive fencing. Currently the approval
process could take up to five months. Given the ban on relocation
of prairie dogs from the first of March to the end of May,
this means that no relocation or construction activity can
occur before next summer. We will keep everyone informed
of our progress on this.
—John Pereira, director
Physical Plant Services
In this issue...
Outstanding Accomplishment Awards
update: Scientists enthusiastic about preliminary results
it snow, let it snow....
book explores how to communicate climate change
Question: Massage therapy, energy consumption, FL1 lawn
Just One Look
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