Comfort and energy conservation do not necessarily have to be antagonistic concepts, even more so nowadays where there is a variety of measures that can be carried out aimed to keep offices cool without having to increase energy cost.

Offices usually have very elevated energy consumption due to the high number of hours they remain open making use of their heat, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, lamplight, computers, printers, etc. Within this context, there is a set of measures that can be fulfilled in order to reduce such consumption.

How to save on the electricity bill without minimising comfort

On the one hand, we must bear in mind a series of illustrative data with a view to understanding why it is not convenient to lower the temperature more than enough within office buildings:

  • According to the RITE (Spanish acronyms for the Regulations for Thermal Installations in Buildings), the proper temperature in the summer months for administrative and commercial offices, as well as for public facilities, is set at 26ºC.
  • Just a one-degree difference in HVAC systems can lead to increase electric energy consumption or cost up to 7%.
  • A too low temperature can result in a lack of comfort, in addition to health problems. Both issues can give rise to poorer job performance.

A too low temperature can incur economic losses due to the employees’ decline in productivity and the consumption of equipments themselves, but a set of measures can be adopted in order to minimise the impact deriving from the use of air-conditioning:

  • In order to improve air-conditioning systems and prevent them from operating in excess, awnings and shutters can be installed in buildings, thus avoiding most of the solar radiation while reducing temperature inside the building all at once.
  • Substituting old appliances with others more efficient. Machinery loses power over the years, becomes less efficient and needs to carry out higher effort in order to reach the temperature fixed. Which is why, performing the maintenance set out by the manufacturer is a top priority. However, on occasion, performing only periodic inspections is not enough and appliances need to be substituted with other new generation equipment and with the A class energy label, which secures lower consumption.
  • Leverage cross ventilation. Taking advantage of natural streams of air makes work environment be more pleasant, as well as it reduces the electricity bill.
  • Enhance thermal insulation. This is one of the most important aspects since unsatisfactory insulation makes temperature within offices dispel quickly, and they can cause heat flows from hot to cold between the exterior and the office itself.
    • In the first place, the building enclosure has to be inspected in order to assure that there are no cracks through which heat or cold in the interior may dispel.
    • Windows are another element by which the greatest temperature transfers take place, particularly in those places with extreme temperatures. This is why, it is recommended to substitute both the leaves of windows and the window frames with double glazing windows and frames with a thermal bridge breaking system, which will avoid temperature transfers to a great extent.
    • Doors. The installation of automatic doors in office buildings is one of the best solutions aimed to avoid both BTU loss and high energy consumption. Manusa automatic doors, thanks to their high tightness level and their fast opening and closing system, avoid leaks and heat transfers between the exterior and the interior. Besides, since they open only when it is necessary, they avoid temperature fluctuations in the interior, keeping temperature stable and thus preventing air conditioning systems from operating in excess.

The buildings of the future, the “Passivhaus”

A “Passivhaus” building, or passive house (a concept that derives from the German language), makes use of almost zero energy since it can reduce energy demand up to 75% through the use and exploitation of the existing resources, due to a strong thermal insulation system. Besides, the little energy that may be needed to make these buildings work comes from renewable resources, which is why this type of construction is also referred to as “zero consumption” and is considered as the future of construction.

A clear example of such building model can be found in Sollana (Spain). The main factor for energy efficiency in this office building is the night cooling system: a system of mechanical ventilation draws the air coming from the exterior and filters it to purify it. The result can be acknowledged both by the quality of the air that employees breathe and the temperature kept stable in the interior of the building.

Manusa Automatic Doors