Getting the temperature right in office buildings

After a blisteringly hot summer with record-breaking heat waves, we are now facing an energy crisis. While most headlines have been focused on reducing energy costs at home, the cost of heating and cooling offices has been largely overlooked.

Compared to other countries in Europe, the UK is much less able to cope with high temperatures. Compared to our European counterparts, far fewer are fitted with air conditioning and most have inefficient heating solutions. Most office buildings are designed to retain heat, particularly older buildings.

Now we are entering the colder months and in the midst of an energy crisis, anyone working from home may now wish to take advantage of heating in the office. In the UK, wired.co.uk estimates that 14% of Brits plan to spend more time working from the office to reduce home energy bills. This jumps to 25% in the younger age groups.

With this increase in demand for use of office space, businesses must figure out sustainable ways to keep their buildings at the right temperature throughout the year while negotiating increasing energy costs and environmental responsibilities.

Installing air conditioning may seem like a sensible solution but more air conditioning units equals an increase in energy consumption as well as more greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. This in turn pushes up temperatures so is surely not ideal.

Swapping air conditioning for natural ventilation is one approach. Incorporating operable windows is an often overlooked route to more comfortable office conditions. A large new office building in Covent Garden has been designed with operable windows that will mean 60% of the proposed office space will be naturally ventilated. Both thrifty and environmentally friendly, a naturally ventilated office can halve energy consumption compared to air-conditioned buildings.

Another approach is to create divided spaces within the office building and heat / cool those areas during extremes of weather rather than heating or cooling the entire building.

Speak to an expert at Lizzanno today regarding glass partitions and architectural glazing. 

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