Sustainability is more than energy-efficiency
IEQ vs energy savings
We spend about 90% of our lives indoors. By the time we are 80 we have spent about 72 years inside. Knowing that, it seems nearly naive not to care for the indoor climate in the places where we spend time. If we also know that we are 16% more productive in a satisfying work environment and that our ability to think strategically is reliant on good air quality, it seems negligent not to require a good indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in all premises where we are expected to perform and thrive.
Having that said, it is important not to chase any easy energy save but rather to make choices for a sustainable and energy-efficienct operation of a building for many years to come, but without compromising IEQ.
A good indoor climate when people are in the office
Traditional offices are usually occupied for a number of hours per day, and a number of days per year. When the office is occupied, people are expected to perform and thrive, and there is consequently a clear need for a good indoor climate. When the office is empty, the basic requirement is to comply with legal requirements and keep the building from being destructed by weather or other external impacts. However, offices used in hybrid working models might see a varied pattern of people coming and going which creates a different demand.
Demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) is a sensor and data driven technology for creating a good indoor climate in a room or building. Information in terms of temperature, CO2, humidity and more is gathered, interpreted and communicated to the HVAC-solution for air flow, heating and cooling to be adjusted to the actual need inside the building. In terms of an office, energy is saved when the needs are met rather than when a preset standard is followed, and employees are cared for as they are offered a productive and comfortable indoor climate at all times.
Read our expert's blog about DCVLearn more about demand-controlled ventilation
A list of 3 recommended blogs
Understood from the above, it is essential to ensure a productive and comfortable indoor climate when people are in the office, but the need to heat and/or cool when no one is inside is nearly minimal. Unfortunately, numerous office buildings have HVAC-solutions operating as if the building was crowded, as if traditional working hours sill exist and, at times, by the means of out-dated technologies.
The three blogs below put forward both short- and longterm considerations for a better and more efficient operation of an existing HVAC-solution, while explicitly favouring a good indoor climate for the people inside.
How to increase energy-efficiency of an air handling unit (AHU)
Can an existing CAV system be upgraded to VAV?
Building certificates to meet sustainability targets
Coming back to the fact that sustainability is a multi-facetted subject in the HVAC-industry and recall what we said above, it is clear that people and planet are intwined and both need to be acknowledged when creating offices for success. Building certification standards may be one way to meet both the above as well as internal and external sustainability targets.
Focusing on the world known building certification standards of BREEAM, LEED and WELL, they are with separate approaches driving developments in energy efficiency and cost-savings, human health and well-being in relation to buildings and indoor environments. Not only can we support in a certification process, we can also offer a wide range of Swegon products and system to meet the requirements. In fact, our Swegon WISE is a system for demand controlled indoor climate which can be key to meet the far-reaching sustainability targets of the above standards and attain the higher levels of certification.
Read more about Swegon and building certificatesGet familiar with Swegon WISE
Prolonged operation and a solution made for adjustments
If the people perspective of sustainability is slightly put aside for a moment and more focus is spent on planet and profit. It then becomes relevant to consider available alternatives for proloning a products lifetime and adjusting an operation to continously be optimised in relation to the most recent indoor climate requirements.
With that angle of approach it is recommended to carefully chose products and systems for an HVAC solution that allow for cosiderable exchanges of parts and components. Also, as technology advances, units which may be digitally upgraded or adjusted ought to last longer than products that are produced for "here and now".
Learn more in our next guide sectionVisit our website on the topic of sustainability