Comfort and efficiency in a post-lockdown world: Part 2

In the second part of his blog, Graeme Rees discusses the importance of achieving occupier comfort and health as well as energy efficiency.

Where comfort once meant ‘warm’, today we consider comfort to also encompass elements of the wellbeing of the building occupant. Keeping occupants at a comfortable temperature is a given, but we also consider the amount of fresh air, the humidity, light levels, (including artificial vs. natural daylight) noise, smells and the new agenda topper… occupancy level! Where once owner occupiers were concerned about people density per square metre, it is now a case of space between people…..per square metre. Where once building control technology was used to guide an occupant to a free hot desk, this same technology can be used to guide occupants through less dense areas of a building, avoiding crowds to clear, and cleaned, work spaces.

All of the above relies on the building control systems, the vast majority totally hidden from sight. Doing all of the above efficiently relies on the skills and experience of the control system design engineers. To achieve logical operation is one thing, to achieve that in a super-efficient way requires training, experience and the tools, software and equipment that deliver reliable and precise control of the mechanical and electrical systems within our buildings.

Comfort and efficiency is achievable whatever scale the building or budget, but not every building has the application for every system described, so where would you begin to understand what controls are actually needed? After all, our buildings account for over 40% of the global energy consumption with commercial premises more than half of that figure. Getting it right is clearly important from a cost perspective and importantly an environmental and sustainability perspective too. Moreover, getting it wrong.….the lack of or simply poorly implemented building controls have been seen to be accountable for seven of the 10 reasons our buildings do not perform as efficiently as they were designed, with energy consumption and costs being as much as twice that intended.