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Control the office climate from your cubicle

Office furniture maker Herman Miller comes up with the C2, a personal climate control device for office workers.

It could be all the microclimates here on CNET's sixth floor, or it could just be my co-workers' widely divergent internal thermostats. Either way, a given day here in the office will see some of us shivering and reaching for thick sweaters, while others complain that the place is steaming hot. What's a newsroom comprised of such varying body temperatures to do?

Herman Miller C2
Herman Miller

Office furniture maker Herman Miller, it turns out, has come up with the C2, a $300 personal climate control device for just such a workplace dilemma. The company--which notes on its Web site that temperature control ranks among the top 10 work environment factors impacting job performance--is set to unveil the C2 this weekend at NeoCon in Chicago.

Just place the product 12 to 18 inches from you and turn it on, being careful, of course, not to aim the air at your temperature-incompatible cubicle mate--or your delicate desktop fern. Herman Miller says the C2 not only controls the heat, but also filters the air, intercepting particles like pollen, dust and pet dander. The filter is reusable after cleaning.

At 10 inches high, the C2 is fairly unobtrusive, and Herman Miller touts it as energy-efficient (the device uses only 1.5 amps of DC power, which is 90 percent less energy than a typical space heater, according to the company). But one of my co-workers is a tad concerned about the prospect of a C2-filled office. "I hate people who disagree with my...thermostat defaults," he says, "but I don't want to empower anybody. I smell a huge new power suck as everybody squanders electricity to alternately cool and heat the same air."