Does keeping the thermostat low at work save money? The answer is more than just shaving some cost off the operations budget, because temperature and humidity levels DO affect your fellow workers. The results of turning the heat down are more than just taking bets on who’ll be wearing ugly sweaters today. It’s about productivity. In 2004, Cornell University ran a month-long study in a Florida-based insurance office. Among other findings, they discovered that when the ambient office temperature was below “comfortable”, workers made more clerical errors. This result and other factors indicate that low temperatures may actually increased labor costs by 10%.
What’s the sweet spot?
We all know two people at work: one is never warm enough and the other would have the windows open during a blizzard. You can’t make everyone happy. However, that same 2004 study did indicate that between 69.8°F and 71.6°F (that’s 21° to 22° Celsius) there was a clear improvement in workplace performance, with productivity peaking around 71.6°F for office environments.
You may still know someone who’ll have a small space heater under the desk. While these units are not necessarily bad or inefficient, they are all an indicator that the HVAC system may not be working well. Beyond the sheer cost of operating them, space heaters are notoriously ignored when it comes to cleaning and power cords can pose trip hazards in the work place.
Is Dry Heat Better?
It depends. Humidity levels for indoor environments DO affect our sense of comfort. Here again, there’s a generally accepted comfort zone. When humidity dips below 25%, many people experience chapped skin and itchy noses (as mucus membranes dry). These conditions also increase the incidence of static electricity, which can affect computers. Humidity levels above 50% can lead to indoor mold and fungus growth leading to potentially much bigger Indoor Air Quality issues. Most commonly, indoor humidity levels between 35% and 50% are considered to be the most comfortable.
With so many variables Triton Mechanical would be happy to provide you with an assessment for your particular needs. When you and your staff need a “comfortable review”, call us at: 585-209-1600