Over three quarters of office workers find the temperature in their office uncomfortable, a survey indicates, with more than a third suggesting they take at least 10 minutes out of work each day due to temperature alone, so at least 1% of man hours could be wasted due to heat/cold issues. This means that working time lost by cold staff could be costing the UK economy more than £13 billion a year.
Office temperature is often a bone of contention between staff, with some struggling to work from the heat, while others wrap up in jumpers to stave off a chill. One Poll surveyed 2,000 office workers between 18 and 60 on behalf of heating and ventilation specialists Andrews-Sykes. The aim was to gauge how temperature affects people’s workday. The results point to a general sense of dissatisfaction around temperature.
In our recent article Winter Woes for the Building Services Engineer we looked at the issues faced daily by FM’s and Building Services Engineers as the complaints from unhappy building occupants start to accumulate and the issue of poor temperature control becomes a ‘hot’ topic for the Building Services Team.
Facilities Managers have the responsibility to ensure that buildings and their services meet the needs of the occupants in those buildings. They also manage building maintenance such as heating and air conditioning systems. There’s no doubt that the engineering of water systems to improve energy efficiency has been due to broader efforts to improve organisations’ bottom lines as well as general and legislative requirements for greater energy efficiency within non-domestic building stock. But in the case of heating and cooling systems, efforts to modernise systems and engineer efficiency have resulted in the use of key components that are more vulnerable to suspended solids contamination and if this is not managed by improved system design, more prone to partial or full failure.
Closed loop water circuits employed as part of the environmental control systems, will be contaminated with suspended solids produced by the corrosion of pipework and other components of the system and contamination will often result in poor temperature control within the building. FM’s and Building Services Engineers are using Side Stream filtration systems for both the initial clean-up and also for the on-going maintenance of pipework systems to overcome these problems.
Maintenance and engineering managers’ efforts to increase energy efficiency through new technology and operational strategies, makes it more important for FMs to understand the need for Side Stream filtration in water systems. The necessity of Side Stream filtration to ensure the effective functioning of heating and cooling systems is highlighted by references in two BSRIA publications – BG 29/2012: Pre-commission Cleaning of Pipework Systems and BG50/2013: Water Treatment for Closed heating and Cooling Systems.
In order to ensure the optimised performance of modern, efficient components (especially in new build or retrofit and refurbishment projects) and to leverage energy savings from installing new heating and cooling systems, in addition to reducing system maintenance, the hidden application of Side Stream Filtration should be a considered top priority. The contamination issue has become a greater problem as the drive to install systems that are more energy efficient has resulted in smaller orifices in control valves and lower flow rates in terminal units. As a result, it is critical that the Building Services Team has a greater understanding of the systems and the impact on the occupants of the buildings when problems occur.
This is borne out by the results of the survey which showed that only 24% agreed that their office was an ideal temperature for working throughout the year.
The ramifications of this are larger than may be expected: 29% of people surveyed estimate they spend between 10 and 30 minutes each workday not working due to an uncomfortable office temperature. A surprising 6% believe they spend more than half an hour each day not working well for this reason. This means that an office of 100 people will have at least 8 hours wasted each day, due to the temperature alone. The full figure could be more like 18 hours – the equivalent of more than 2% of staff members never turning up to work.
Helen Pedder, head of HR for ClearSky HR, said: « Whether temperatures soar or plummet, unbearable office conditions can have a serious impact on employee health and well-being. Unfortunately the law is left open to misinterpretation by simply stating that employers must provide a ‘reasonable’ workplace temperature.
« Until health and safety guidance provides clear and coherent requirements, there are various steps that an employer can take to prevent a dip in productivity and performance. Relaxing dress code requirements where appropriate and providing heating and/or cooling devices are effective methods that help to regulate thermal comfort. »
Here at Amazon Filters we have an extensive understanding and knowledge of Closed Loop Water Circuits in the Building Services sector. This enables us to provide optimum filtration solutions for particular processes and applications. Our experience includes:-
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