Are you feeling the heat?
Chances are that you or someone you work alongside has had a rant about the high temperatures we’ve been experiencing of late. A summer heatwave is great if you’re by the beach of course…but the workplace is a different matter, especially if you have no air conditioning or any control over your immediate surroundings…
Being too hot at work will lower productivity – that’s a fact. Research undertaken by Harvard University found that those working in buildings with air conditioning and good control performed significantly better at problem solving and memory tests than those working in poorly controlled, hot buildings.
As a result, in some of today’s buildings, individuals are not fulfilling their potential in their working environment due to simply being too hot. A good option to address this is for the building owner or facility manager to consult the WELL Building Standard. The standard puts wellness at the centre of design in an effort to create more productive workplaces.
A Building Management System (BMS) is also crucial to ensuring optimum comfort for building occupants. Building controls engineers can implement strategies which are able to detect changes to building conditions outside of agreed limits and identify what the cause is. Steps can then be put into place to automatically resolve such matters which is particularly effective during seasonal changes. This is particularly important with the blurring of the seasons – a properly set up BMS will respond to the external conditions and not a Gregorian calendar!
It’s important to remember that contemporary buildings are designed to retain heat, therefore even as the temperature subsides outside, modern buildings can remain hot as the heat becomes ‘trapped’. The indoor heat can prove difficult to shed, hence the need for sophisticated and effective building controls to manage cooling and ventilation.
However, those businesses that have already invested in air conditioning solutions for example, need to ensure that engineers are regularly servicing and maintaining the systems. An integrated BMS can help with the management and ongoing performance of these systems. Good servicing and management will ensure optimum efficiency and output as ineffective air conditioning plant can lead to increased temperatures in some cases…
Thanks to ongoing advances in technology, there many products available on the market which can help improve occupant comfort. Effective building controls are one solution to addressing improvements in comfort and wellbeing, but it is also pivotal that there is good planning, design and preventive maintenance programmes at the initial stages of a new build to ensure maximum comfort for building occupants over the long term…
Therefore, contractors and developers must take the comfort of occupants into account when both altering and commissioning projects. The design stage can easily get overlooked when considering the capabilities of a building but it is at this point in the process where important decisions need to be made regarding overall occupant satisfaction. It is also critical to ensure that everyone in the supply chain has a sound knowledge and understanding of the overall vision.
Savvy contactors and developers that are pro-active and maximise use of the WELL Building Standard will remain one step ahead of the game. Introducing intelligent controls allowing individuals to take responsibility to manage their own personal preferences in regard to ventilation, cooling and lighting will go a long way in achieving this…
So, next time you’re having a rant about being too hot in the workplace, ask yourself what measures you are taking to take control of the situation? Keep cool, keep smart…
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