How to make your office more comfortable using smart technology
Office comfort can be a tricky thing to get right.
We’ve all experienced offices that are too hot, too cold, or too stuffy – and the simple answer is usually to add or remove a layer of clothing or open/close a window. But smart technology has revolutionised this age-old problem, offering facilities managers a whole raft of options for maximising the comfort of their offices and other buildings. Smart sensors can record a variety of different indicators that show how comfortable a room is and provide you with real-time information that allows you to adjust things quickly and efficiently. Data from the sensors can be sent via a wired or wireless connection to your existing cloud platforms, providing an overview of all your buildings which can be acted upon in real time. Not only does this enable you to get clever about heating and cooling buildings, and provide staff with the optimum working environments, it also helps reduce energy use – ensuring that you only heat, ventilate and cool areas where needed. This article looks at the different sensors available and the way they can be used to help create a comfortable office environment.
- Temperature These sensors give a live view of the thermal conditions within a room, measuring and monitoring air temperature. The data provided by them allows the climate control process to be automated based on live conditions, ensuring rooms never creep over or under certain temperatures.They can also be used to monitor surface temperature of machines/casings or water temperature, which means they can automatically detect potential faults with equipment like air conditioning units before they happen, preventing breakdowns and ensuring temperature and humidity are constantly controlled.
- CO2 You may not be able to see it but carbon dioxide can have a huge impact on how a room feels. High levels have been proven to affect the way the human brain functions, reducing our ability to process information and make decisions, and causing physical symptoms like headaches.Outside air usually has a CO2 concentration of around 400 parts per million (ppm), but this can quickly increase in enclosed rooms with lots of people in them. A decrease in the functioning of the human brain can occur at as low as 1,000 ppm.Using a CO2 monitor allows you to be alert to any sudden increase in levels, but also enables you to make energy efficiencies by not over-ventilating, which can happen when ventilation rates are automatically set.Click here to see how we helped Cavendish Engineers deliver a 42% reduction in air handling for their client using our CO2 sensors.
- Humidity Humidity (the amount of water vapour in the air) can be one of the main causes of discomfort for staff in an office.If humidity levels are high the air in a room can feel thick and uncomfortable, causing energy levels to slump. It can also cause headaches, exacerbate conditions like asthma and stop smells from dispersing as quickly.The effects on the building itself can also be hazardous, with high levels of humidity leading to condensation and mould if left unchecked, which could lead to an even greater health hazard for staff.Getting the balance right can be tricky, as too little humidity is also a bad thing. If air is too dry it can lead to itchy skin, dry eyes and a sore throat.Using sensors to detect humidity levels means you can automate humidifiers and dehumidifiers to ensure levels in your buildings stay constant.
- Door/window sensors Smart sensors which show whether windows and doors are open can be vital in helping to control temperature fluctuations within rooms.They prevent windows being left open for hours when a room is empty, only for the next user to arrive and find they can’t get the room heated up quickly enough. Likewise, they can be used to make sure a room is sufficiently ventilated ahead of meetings.They can also be used to help ensure that automated climate control systems work properly, allowing you to instantly identify why there may be an unexpectedly high or low temperature in a room.
- Occupancy Occupancy sensors can be a vital part of your smart office monitoring kit, helping you to see which rooms and workspaces are most used and automate climate controls accordingly. Being able to see how many people are in a room and when can help you to identify areas that are being over-ventilated or over-heated, reducing spend and increasing comfort levels for those that use them.They can also help with comfort by preventing overuse and overcrowding in high-volume areas and ensuring a more even distribution of staff across all available workspaces.
To talk to one of our experts about the best climate control options for your office or workspace click here.