Spaces With Controlled Energy Systems Create Optimal Results

People who work or learn in well-lit spaces  — and with the heat or air set at optimal levels — have increased productivity, safety and happiness.

There is a direct correlation between lighting and HVAC levels and the happiness, safety and productivity of the people who use those spaces, energy optimization experts say.

A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design revealed 68 percent of employees complain about the lighting situation in their offices. The data is clear: it is important for public organizations and businesses to design their workspaces with lighting and temperature solutions that deliver the optimal place for people to think, focus, create, and collaborate.

“An optimized space is an environment that is enhanced to make occupants more comfortable, productive and safer as they carry out their day-to-day tasks,” said David Kluskens, a lighting systems expert at a nationwide energy systems optimization company and a member of the Association of Energy Engineers.

Imagine a well-lit industrial plant with newly optimized HVAC and lighting controls tied together and tuned to prime shift schedules, illuminating, cooling and heating as needed. Workers aren’t bundled up to stay warm. Or dragging from being too hot. Employees are safer because they are able to clearly see where they are going. Less mistakes are made as employees carry out their tasks with ease leading to enhanced operational efficiency and product output.

Now imagine a steaming hot office space in the beginning of June. The building has aging HVAC equipment that is failing. Staff gather in the conference room for an all hands update. They open windows, turns off lights, bring in fans — draping cords across dimly lit and crowded room. The presenter tries every trick to get employees to pay attention. But they are too hot and can’t concentrate. Patience runs thin for the presenter trying to manage the situation. Employees complain. No one is happy.

With an energy systems optimization, the office scenario can be just like the manufacturing one: a well-lit space with perfect thermal comfort for users regardless of the tasks they are carrying out.

Geoff Stim, a building controls expert for an energy systems optimization firm, said the goal is controlling the systems to maintain comfort levels only when the space is occupied.

“The trick is to balance energy savings and occupant comfort by taking advantage of integrated information to control the HVAC system,” Stim said.  “Using occupancy sensed by the lighting systems as well as an easily adjustable scheduling system to maintain comfort and save as much energy as possible makes a more comfortable space with greater overall energy savings.”

 

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