Ever wish you could micromanage the heating and cooling of your workplace down to the area around your desk? Turns out, not only would it make you more comfortable, but it would also save energy.
If you've ever worked in a large office building, you know that the AC can pump so much that you're freezing in the middle of summer. In my last workplace, many people used individual space heaters to cancel out the arctic blast of the AC vents - not exactly energy efficient! Well, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered that allowing people to control their own AC vents at their desk can cut a building's energy use by as much as 50 percent.
The personalized ventilation cuts electricity use because the air only needs to be cooled around an employee's desk instead of cooling entire rooms or hallways. Vents could also be set to shut off when someone leaves their desk. It's easy to imagine how this would work in closed offices, but I wonder just how personal the ventilation would have to be to work in cubicles?
The greatest savings would be seen by companies based in places that require year-round cooling, like Singapore, and places where employees stay put and don't move around much. Even for other climates, there would still be savings, and the bonus of limiting the spreading of airborne diseases and happier, more comfortable employees.
via New Scientist
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