When your HVAC system isn’t working, everyone knows it. Even the largest commercial property is at the mercy of outdoor temperatures. Offices become too hot or cold, creating distractions that can undermine productivity.
However, recent research is showing that even when systems are working, they need to be managed carefully for optimum performance. Your HVAC system has a major effect on productivity even if it seems to be operating normally.
Recent Research Shows Indoor Temperatures are Too Low
Finding the ideal indoor temperature for everyone has never been easy. However, research is now pointing to an epidemic: Commercial office space is uniformly too cold for the people who use it.
A 2010 study demonstrated low office temperatures – below about 69 degrees Fahrenheit – have a dramatic effect on typing accuracy. Workers operating in cold environments were only about half as fast as those in offices at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. A major 2015 study demonstrated most offices are too cold for women, whose thermal demand varies markedly from that of men. This confirmed widespread anecdotal evidence suggesting that women are often less comfortable in colder offices than their male colleagues.
Naturally, temperatures that are too high also have dramatic effects.
An Indoor Climate Strategy for the Modern Commercial Building
Traditional approaches set the office temperature somewhere between 68 and 73 degrees. In addition to a higher error rate for data input and other tasks, this can lead to fidgeting or moving around the office in efforts to feel warmer.
As the workforce becomes more diverse in age, gender, and other factors, approaches that may have been designed with suit-clad men in mind should be given a second look. Allowing a higher average temperature can also create energy savings in the long run.
Nobody knows exactly what the “ideal” temperature should be, but human biology offers a few clues – and companies around the world are experimenting to gather more concrete information.
Raw temperature isn’t the only factor to be aware of. Relative humidity below 20% can cause discomfort to tenants, while humidity levels above 70% are known to be conducive to the growth of mold and fungi – a health hazard any commercial structure should avoid.
For a Better Bottom Line, Make Sure Your HVAC System is Optimized
To help everyone in the building do their best, facilities leaders should optimize temperature and ventilation. The best way to do so is to partner with HVAC system experts who can ensure you are getting peak performance at minimal energy costs.
Get started today by contacting Donnelly Mechanical.