With spring on our doorsteps, heading into April promises more than just the hope of warmer weather. For most of us the joy of Easter Bank Holidays, Easter eggs – heck, Easter in general, brings a welcomed smile to our faces.
Happiness as we know has a major effect on our bodies and our productivity so I thought on the first official day of spring I could talk about how not only the weather will be affected in the coming months, but our bodies and buildings will too.
How it will affect you as a worker
On the 26 March the clocks change again, allowing us all to enjoy the longer and lighter days of summer. For those with disorders like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) these lighter days bring a world of relief and for the rest of us, lighter days often improve sleeping patterns and alertness so we can all benefit in one way or another.
If you work a standard 9-5 job, whether that be in an office, a retail shop or any other building, the days of arriving and leaving in darkness will be long behind us (until September of course).
However, the most obvious effect of more daylight will be productivity, right? Apparently more sunlight does equal more productivity but in countries where actual sunlight isn’t too frequent, it’s questionable if more daylight offers the same effect. In fact, the conventional ideals of spring and summer are long lazy days when surely the percentage of afternoon napping, long lunching and leaving-work-on-the-dot increases?!
On that note, does sunlight – or in fact daylight actually make people happier? I think in a place like Britain where sunshine can sometimes feel sparse, a bright hot day does make us all more upbeat. But for those who live in a permanently sunny climate, who’s to say if they really are happier.
How it will affect the (typical) building you work in
When it comes to typical commercial buildings, the main drivers of energy use are lighting, IT, space heating, water heating and air conditioning. In fact it is estimated that 19% of an office building’s operating costs are energy consumption.
With the lighter spring days, the reduction in energy usage through lighting will naturally be decreased which is good news for around 40% of office energy consumption because lighting is the biggest culprit.
However, space heating will be replaced with space cooling if you’re lucky enough to work in a building with air conditioning and thus the consumption of energy for cooling offsets any decrease in heating.
That is why it is important to make sure you have a heating and cooling system that does not compete with each other – as has sometimes been the case in the past.
Whatever system your building uses, I would strongly advocate checking your control system
We know that the British weather can often mean we need both heating and cooling on the same day, which is why the best air conditioning systems are able to simultaneously heat and cool, so that heat recovered from cooling one space – such as a kitchen or server room, can be reused to heat another – thereby reducing overall energy consumption.
Whatever system your building uses, I would strongly advocate checking your control system. Not only can controls mean you can automate things a lot more (even linking to weather sensors so that adjustments are made for you), modern controls are often available as an app, meaning you can control your system from just about anywhere.
Hopefully this has got you looking forward to spring and thinking about how you can keep yourself and your buildings comfortable in an energy efficient way.
For me though, I’m looking forward to increasing my overall consumption – of Easter chocolate of course – I just hope I remember to control it adequately!
Ellina Webb is a Marketing Specialist at Mitsubishi Electric
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