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How these 3 HVAC Mistakes Reduce Productivity

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Upfront expenses for an HVAC system might seem daunting. Once you have it, the necessary ongoing maintenance incurs additional costs. But the cost of operating with a poor HVAC system (or without one at all) is far greater.

The cost is productivity.

In commercial buildings, employees spend the entirety of their day working within the confines of the building. It makes sense, then, that the quality of the environment would have an effect on their ability to effectively concentrate and work. 

According to a study in 2004 on air conditioning in offices, “there is a potential monetary gain due to improved workers’ productivity if there is a shift in focus towards the provision of better indoor climate conditions”. Diminished working efficiency quickly adds up to lost dollars, when you consider the amount of work lost per employee per hour.

The following 3 HVAC issues are key contributors to sabotaging worker productivity:

1. Warm Temperatures

Ideal thermal comfort is when people perceive the room temperature as neutral. Not too cool, not too warm. However, employees can put on extra layers to warm up if the temperature is cool inside. If it’s too warm, on the other hand, work rate has been found to suffer.

Air conditioning is important for maintaining the right balance; if the air conditioning is off or the temperature is set too high, it can significantly affect productivity. Even a moderate heat stress can negatively impact performance.

While a few degrees may not seem that important, even at 24°C typing productivity is reduced by 30%. At 27°C, workers experience at 30% decrease in the rate of thinking tasks.  If room temperature is different from neutral temperature by as little as 2-8°C, more than 10% of productivity can be lost.

These numbers are not trivial, and amount to a greater profit loss than the cost of properly maintaining and powering the HVAC system.

2. Loud Acoustics

Acoustics are important for commercial office building design. Noise is one of the leading annoyances for employees, becoming an office stressor. Workers lose productivity when they are distracted and stressed by continuous or intermittent auditory pollution.

This problem can be combated by purchasing quiet HVAC systems, locating HVAC equipment away from work spaces, and ensuring that HVAC equipment is regularly serviced.

Furthermore, ductwork can be designed to encourage laminar flow instead of turbulent flow. This helps the air travel more smoothly, and eliminates the need for large, noisy fans.

3. Poor Air Quality

Indoor air quality in large buildings can sometimes be quite poor due to inadequate HVAC systems. Sick Building Syndrome causes respiratory problems and other health issues, which result in sick days and doctor appointments. Health issues – even minor irritations like congestion or dry eyes –  lead to slower working rates. Sick days and doctor appointments result in lost work hours.

Proper HVAC design and installation, as well as regular maintenance that is in line with the HVAC equipment’s specifications help to reduce these productivity-sucking problems. That way, the money you spend on heating, cooling, and ventilation will be money well spent.

>> Intelligent Comfort Solutions provides the expertise needed for proper HVAC installation and maintenance. Contact us today for a quote!

Dave Morrison is the General Manager at Intelligent Comfort Solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial HVAC maintenance, repair, installation, and indoor air quality improvement. He prides himself on finding the best HVAC solution for your business, and building a lasting relationship that your business can depend on. Dave is known for his open and honest communication and his friendly top notch customer service.

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