Some Like IT Hot – Solving the Mystery of Office Comfort Cooling
Changes to the layout of an office can have the unintended consequence of generating an uncomfortable workspace environment throughout the workplace, with hot and cold spots disrupting work stations and colleagues.
For many years the thorny issue of office cooling has been played out across the UK with the thermostat control panel being the front line of conflict between those who are too hot and those that are too cold. Whilst amusing, it is actually a real issue that causes levels of uncomfortable working environments and highlights inefficiencies in current comfort cooling design and layout.
Sudlows’ Simulation and Modelling team have taken their forensic computational analysis capabilities from the crucial cooling environments of data centres, and applied the same methodology to try and solve the widespread issue of comfort cooling.
As you can see from the images above , the ‘before’ image analysis of the airflow and temperature of a real office highlights how even in a modern office environment there are certain areas that have both very cold and hot spots. These extreme differences help explain why some people feel different in the same office.
These pockets can be caused by the office layout or some remodelling work, and new partition walls can have significant impact on how the airflow interacts with the new layout and subsequently causes temperature clashes. This explains why some people feel a cold draft and some are in hot stifling areas.
By initially using Point Cloud Technology to accurately create 3D geometry of the space under investigation. The 3D model then becomes the basis upon which Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) combined with Building Information Modelling (BIM) workflows, enables the Simulation and Modelling team to demonstrate how some simple changes to office layout, i.e. just by moving desks around and introducing some subtle mesh baffles can help break up the strongest areas of airflow and rebalance the temperature for everyone.
Such simple and affordable measures are able to provide a more efficient and comfortable working environment that has the benefit of reducing energy consumptions and office conflict!