Improving Building Energy Efficiency through Environmental Testing
There are a variety of environmental parameters that should be checked when considering the overall health and operation of a typical office building or industrial facility where people spend a large part of their day. However, keeping these parameters in a safe range not only provides for the health of the workers, but also the efficiency and cost of running the operation. Julian Grant, General Manager for Chauvin Arnoux UK, looks at how the amount of energy consumed in a building is greatly influenced by the indoor environmental conditions.
Temperature, ventilation, and the lighting environment are key parameters effecting health, productivity, and the comfort of the occupants. Studies have shown that the financial impact of a poor indoor environment for the employer, the building proprietor, and for occupants, are frequently substantially higher than the cost of the energy used to run the building. It has also been proven that proper indoor ecological quality can improve overall work performance as well as reducing absenteeism.
Apart from good environmental parameters contributing to lower energy costs and employee wellbeing, there are, of course, standards and guidance such as The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, HSE Thermal Comfort guidance, EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits, and the CIBSE SLL Code for Lighting. These, among other things, discuss temperature, humidity, air flow, carbon dioxide (CO2) and lighting levels.
The ability to measure and now record these parameters has improved significantly over the years, but along with this, the monitoring requirements have changed. For example, in the past measuring natural, incandescent, and florescent lighting levels was probably all that the average facility manager required, but today, with the increasing use of LED lighting, due to its improved energy efficiency and lifespan, we also need to be able to monitor those.