Get comfy: Optimal thermal comfort
July 27, 2015 - Green Buildings
Optimal thermal comfort can be achieved only when the air temperature, humidity and air movement are within the specified range often referred to as the "comfort zone." Almost everyone can agree that being in an office setting that is either too hot or too cold can make the workday a less pleasant experience. This can lead to discomfort, distraction from their task at hand, and negatively impact their overall well-being. In turn this can lead to a decrease in motivation and reduced concentration at the office. These factors will significantly affect a company's bottom line and ultimately impact revenue. It is important that the decision makers within a company put thermal comfort at a high priority. To ensure proper thermal comfort is achieved, the MEP engineers must be consulted during the design and maintenance of an office space. For instance, a LEED Certified building may design to meet the ASHREA 55 standard. Additionally, surveys can be handed out to employees at set points during the year to gather feedback on how the building is performing and if comfort standards are being met.
Ensuring thermal comfort is beneficial for both the company as a whole and for the satisfaction and wellbeing of the employees. Comfortable employees are more productive, alert, and into their task at hand. Those working spend most of their time in an office setting and deserve a comfortable place to spend long hours. So take off the huge sweater, turn off the personal desk fan, and let the building mechanical systems work to make you comfortable.
Zoe Reich, LEED AP BD+C, is the director of sustainability at Edwards & Zuck, P.C., New York, N.Y.