The continued health and well-being of everyone who uses your premises is paramount, and an effective ventilation system is going to be a significant factor. Ventilation has always been important; however, since the pandemic a lot has changed, and fresh air design has been put under the limelight.
Most modern offices utilise mechanical ventilation, which is great as in most cases, mechanical ventilation is the answer, it works really well with CIBSE guidelines and achieving compliance with building control regulations. Ventilation also works in any type of weather, be it raining and snowing, and solves the issue that occupants are unlikely to open the windows in winter.
Office regulations stipulate that you must provide 10 litres per person per second of air changes; this is of course based on one person occupying 100 square feet of space. This must be taken into consideration when designing offices. Designing offices under guidelines can be cumbersome, and we fully understand this. An example of modern design we will delve into is the Open Office Design.
One of the most challenging environments to get right; not only do you have to take into consideration different ages and sexes, but the office environment also changes on a daily basis, from being crammed to almost half empty which is taxing to the HVAC equipment. This is why we take into consideration all external and internal factors when designing. This could include Room layout, ask yourself:
Do you have heat-generating equipment that spews hot air? If so, can these be moved?
Do you have desks next to doors or windows?
Have you taken into consideration that some of your employees may prefer a colder environment to work in, and others prefer being warm?
Is your HVAC system working as it should, and do you have any open vents that blow down on employees?
Another alternative would be the use of a centralised controller for your office; most modern-day HVAC systems will have the ability to connect to such a system. Centralised controllers allow the user to track temperatures and hotspots within a room and monitor energy use throughout the day.
What we would advise is to use the controller to track trends of energy use, which will allow you to find areas for concern, and counter these areas before they become an issue. You’d be surprised how much of a difference these controllers have in controlling comfort levels and costs. You will also find that allowing your employees access to a centralised controller will play in good stead in their psychological wellbeing, as they will feel better being in control.
You might find that your office does have a centralised system; however, it may need modifying, and we would advise getting in contact with your maintenance company to help you out!
If you would like to discuss office design, please feel free to contact us!