November 3, 2022
How Does Room Temperature Affect Productivity?
Is your company’s staff productivity going down? Meetings, internet and pool planning, are known productivity killers, but did you know that room temperature can also make people less productive? Too high or too low temperatures can impact employees and other people in a building negatively. This post is a closer look at room temperature to evaluate how it impacts the people occupying a building. The post will further demonstrate the recommended working temperature and highlight good ways to keep the indoor microclimate in the best condition. Finally, we will highlight some useful tips to help keep your air conditioning energy use in an office or building low.
How Indoor Microclimate Impact Thermal Comfort
When people work in a building, they continuously exchange heat with the environment. This exchange is affected by a number of parameters, including the water vapour, air pressure, the ambient temperatures, and the speed of air particles. Because the human body works best when its temperature remains constant, it uses mechanisms such as sweating to help dissipate excess temperatures. High thermal loads weaken the human body's ability to use these natural mechanisms, resulting in decreased thermal comfort.
Thermal comfort is crucial to people because it determines a person's well-being and the crucial factors that go with it. If the temperatures are too high, the type of clothing and physical activity change compared to cold sessions. If the room temperature is low, there is a risk of employees suffering from regular colds and flu. This could result in loss of working hours, missed workplace targets, and high staff attrition.
When designing interiors, buildings and ventilation, it is crucial to factor in the thermal comfort levels of the occupants. If the comfort and health of people working in your organisation, office, or building are compromised, it could have legal implications.
Impact of Room Temperatures on Productivity
The temperature of a room impacts people’s efficiency, mood, work satisfaction, and overall productivity. When the temperature level is too high, people feel tired and their work output goes down. Again, too low room temperature makes it challenging for people to concentrate. Work efficiency in these extreme room temperature ranges reduces by up to 10%
One of the studies done by experts at the Technical University of Helsinki found that increasing or decreasing temperatures by one degree Celsius above or below the normal range of 22 degrees Celsius causes a drop in productivity by 2%.
To guarantee people a safe working environment and promote high productivity, countries have installed specific laws and policies. In the US, the federal temperature standards require the minimum indoor temperatures to be 20-24 degrees Celsius. Brazil's laws recommend a different range of 20-32 degrees Celsius, while Spain allows 17-27 degrees Celsius.
The right room temperature should be kept constant and at the right range, not simply for the people who are working in the office, but for economic advantages. When the productivity of employees goes down, it is likely to result in financial losses. This is why your company should prioritise workplace health all the time.
The Most Effective Ways of Maintaining the Right Room Temperature
Now that you know that room temperature is an important determinant of staff productivity, the biggest question is, “how do you maintain the best range?” Here are some of the best Strategies to consider:
- Create Exterior Shades
During the hot days or months of the year, radiation from the sun can quickly raise room temperatures and make the workplace uncomfortable. You can reduce this temperature rise by blocking the sun's radiation using exterior shades. Your organisation can invest in blinds that completely block radiation via doors or windows.
Another impressive method of blocking radiation is planting trees around the office. These plants will keep not only your office building cool but also the neighbourhood. Make sure to check the best tree species for your facility. The good thing about using trees is they also help to improve the aesthetic appeal of a building or office.
- Change the Bulbs Used in the Room
If your office is still using old incandescent lamps, they can significantly raise the room temperature and reduce productivity. Good alternatives are fluorescent and LED lamps. LED lamps consume less energy, produce higher-quality light, and last longer compared to traditional incandescent lamps.
- Use HVAC System
Using exterior shades, reflectors and changing the lamps help to lower the temperatures with a limited range. If the room temperatures are very high or low, the best alternative is using a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). This system is used to provide you with total control over your office or room's air temperatures. The impressive thing about air conditioning is that it is easy to control and the results are immediate.
Types of Air Conditioning You Should Use to Control Room Temperature
A HVAC system is used to regulate both the room temperature and air quality of the indoor environment via proper ventilation. The system works through a network of ventilation, cooling and heating systems. To cool a room, the hot air is sucked through the ducts, cooled, purified, and re-circulated into the system. The reverse is used when the temperatures of the room are too low.
There are different categories of HVAC systems that you can use to control the room temperature of your office or workplace. Here are the best four systems:
- Split HVAC System
This is the most preferred type of HVAC system, and it comes with two main units dedicated to helping keep the office cool or warm. It contains an indoor unit (fitted in an area like the attic or basement) and another unit fitted outdoors. The system uses blower fans to circulate heated or cool air into the office rooms via the ducts to achieve the targeted temperature ranges.
This HVAC system is recommended for use in warm climates, especially in the tropics, which do not experience extreme freezing temperatures. The main challenge of this system is that it has a high cost of installation. Also, air from the outdoors can at times have impurities directed to the indoor environment.
- Hybrid Split System
This HVAC system uses the same model as a split HVAC system but does not rely only on gas for heating. Instead, the heater allows the use of electricity. This means that you have greater control over the heating and cooling-related energy bill. Like the split system, installation requires a lot of work.
- Ductless HVAC System
A ductless air conditioning system is another awesome option, especially for small offices. It comes with several units that can be located inside each office to help control heating and cooling. The ductless system is fitted on a wall and links to a compressor that is located outside the house.
The main advantage of this system is that it is easy to install and you can focus only on the targeted office rooms. However, maintaining room temperature in areas with extreme climates can be expensive when using a ductless HVAC system.
Keep the Cost of Energy Use by Your HVAC System
In most offices and buildings, the bulk of their energy bills go to air conditioning. Therefore, you cannot take your eyes off the energy bill because it can significantly reduce your profits. There are two main methods that you can employ to cut down HVAC-related energy bill:
- Use Smart Heating and Cooling Management System
This is an intelligent system that uses sensors to note when rooms are occupied and turn the HVAC system off when empty. For example, the HVAC of the restroom does not have to stay on for nine hours every day. Instead, the smart management system turns the system on only when someone is using the restroom. Also, the system eliminates the risk of forgetting to turn off the HVAC system, leaving it to run overnight or the entire weekend.
- Install CONTINEWM in Your HVAC System
This is the most recommended method of enhancing the efficiency of any HVAC system for offices. So, how does it work?
CONTINEWM works by clearing electrostatic charges that cause resistance to airflow in a HVAC system. When a HVAC system is running to keep the room temperature within the recommended range, electrostatic charges are released because of the friction of the moving parts. These positive charges cause resistance to the smooth flow of air via the HVAC. The effect is high energy for your office air conditioning. CONTINEWM is installed on the front part of the heat exchanger and progressively generates negative charges to neutralise the impact of positive electrostatic charges.
When installed correctly, you can improve the efficiency of a HVAC system by up to 50% while reducing an average of 25% on your air conditioning bills. Remember that CONTINEWM is pretty easy to install because it is fitted on the front section of the heat exchanger. Indeed, you will get way more from CONTINEWM because it not only helps to improve the efficiency of the HVAC system but also clears away odours. Therefore, you will also be improving the air quality for higher productivity.
The room temperature of your office is crucial in determining the overall productivity of staff. As we have demonstrated in this post, you need to take note of indoor air quality all the time because failure to do so can have both legal and financial implications. Air conditioning is the best method of maintaining control over the room temperature. Remember to also focus on improving its efficiency using strategies like installing CONTINEWM. Also, make the efforts part of your sustainability report and partner with international organisations, such as Climate Fresk, for professional support.