Considering how much time many of us spend in indoor workplace environments, the comfort and quality of the air around us isn’t something we should take for granted.

Indoor space occupants need a comfortable and healthy workplace to perform to their full potential. Image credit: Supplied | Creative Commons

Indoor space occupants need a comfortable and healthy workplace to perform to their full potential. Image credit: Supplied | Creative Commons

A good heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system not only keeps occupants comfortable, it also improves physical health and well-being. But with increasing energy costs, organisations are also faced with the challenge of managing their energy consumption more efficiently.

Organisations therefore need to find HVAC solutions that not only provide clean air and a comfortable work environment but that also prioritise energy efficiency and sustainability.

The impact on productivity

Indoor air temperature, humidity, and quality all have a significant impact on employee health and productivity. High temperatures or humidity, for example, can cause people to feel sluggish, uncomfortable, or frustrated.

Too low a temperature, on the other hand, can lead to illnesses or an inability to concentrate.

Cornell University researchers conducted a study which found that employees made 44% more errors when the thermostat was set to a cosy 25°C compared to a cooler 20°C. To keep employees comfortable and focused for longer, a room should therefore ideally be cooled to around 20 or 21°C.

Indoor air quality is also important for health and well-being. Research has found that poor indoor air quality, characterised by increased concentrations of fine particulate and carbon dioxide, caused employees to experience slower response times and reduced performance on cognitive tests.

More importantly, poor air quality can also lead to respiratory issues and have an adverse impact on the health of employees over the long term.

An HVAC system should therefore not only be able to regulate temperature and airflow effectively to promote a productive work environment. It should also have sufficient air filtration and purification capabilities to remove harmful air particles and ensure healthy indoor air quality.

Air purification kits, for example, use four layers of filtration to remove up to 99.9% of particulate matter. The latest HVAC technologies can also use IoT systems, sensors, software and connectivity to monitor air quality, energy usage and maintenance diagnostics. The conditions and health of an HVAC system can be monitored in real time from anywhere.

Keeping costs down

In April 2021, South Africa saw one of its largest electricity tariff hikes in the country’s history with an increase of 15.6%. And with energy costs still steadily increasing, businesses are under increased pressure to reduce their energy consumption. HVAC systems are essential for keeping the workplace comfortable, but they also consume energy. That is why it is becoming ever more crucial to look for HVAC systems that use smart inverter technology or have monitoring capabilities.

Smart inverter technology adjusts the HVAC unit’s power output according to the set temperature. Once the set temperature is achieved, a smart inverter HVAC unit will reduce its output power and ensure less power consumption. Some systems for example, use smart load control to dynamically adjust the flow of air and increase energy efficiency, ensuring consistent temperature control while minimising operational costs.

They are also equipped with temperature and humidity sensors, which allow precise monitoring and control of airflow.

Keeping HVAC systems clean and well-maintained should also not be overlooked: regular maintenance can minimise their energy consumption, maintain healthier air and ensure a longer unit lifetime.

A breath of fresh air

Employees need a comfortable and healthy workplace to perform to their full potential but having quality indoor air and a good working temperature doesn’t have to come at the cost of a frightening electricity bill. With all the technological innovation happening in the commercial HVAC sector, organisations can find solutions that find a perfect balance between air comfort and quality, and energy efficiency.

Article supplied by LG Air Solutions South Africa