Reducing energy makes perfect business sense; saving money, enhancing corporate reputation and lowering emissions. However, many commercial buildings do not have the correct systems in place to effectively manage energy consumption. In addition to saving energy, it’s important that premises are kept at a suitable temperature in order to maintain occupant comfort.
Simon May, product manager at Drayton Controls, explains why smart thermostats are the ideal solution when it comes to managing utility costs and keeping the occupants of a building comfortable.

When it comes to the temperature of commercial premises, there are legal guidelines that companies must adhere to in order to stay compliant.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, advises that “During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable”.
However, what constitutes ‘reasonable’ will vary in accordance to the nature of the work being performed and the environmental conditions of the workplace. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the ideal working temperature in a non-domestic building is between 16ºC and 13ºC, if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort, and a minimum of 16ºC applies to a sedentary workplace, such as an office or public reception area.
Ensuring that personnel are kept at a comfortable working temperature can influence performance levels, fatigue and alertness as well as overall wellbeing.
Therefore it is vital that companies adhere to temperature guidelines, not only for compliance reasons and to ensure employees can work to their maximum efficiency, but to maintain their general health too.
To keep temperatures at a desirable level, internet connected controls – or smart thermostats as they’re known – are the ideal solution to enable building managers to remotely monitor and control heating systems.

Thermal comfort

The working environment has a huge impact on how productive employees can be. It can be dependent on a range of factors, such as the colour of the walls, background noise and the temperature of the facility in which work is being undertaken.
According to the HSE, there are six individual environmental and personal factors that influence thermal comfort, which together contribute to an employee’s overall wellbeing. These consist of air temperature, radiant temperature, air velocity, humidity, clothing insulation and metabolic heat.
Staff may adapt their behaviours to cope with their thermal environment, such as adding or removing clothing or moving towards sources of heat, like radiators and air vents. By controlling and managing thermal comfort, a healthy room temperature can be achieved meaning increased morale and productivity levels.
In addition to this, people working in uncomfortably hot and cold environments are more likely to behave in an unsafe manner as their ability to make decisions and perform manual tasks deteriorates.
A study from Cornell looking at office temperatures found that when temperatures were low at around 20ºC employees made 44 per cent more mistakes than at optimal room temperature of 25ºC, proving how altered office temperatures can influence the workforce.
Installation of smart heating controls allows building managers to remotely monitor and control the temperature of premises, in order to maintain a comfortable level for the occupants.

Controlling costs

Aside from keeping employees comfortable, commercial office buildings face rising energy costs, creating very difficult challenges managing the facility budget.
Energy management requirements of commercial buildings are often very different to that of a residential dwelling. Considerations such as when the building is occupied and by how many employees will affect the levels of energy being used at different periods during the day.
Adding a modern ‘TPI’ room thermostat plus TRVs to a conventional heating system can reduce energy costs by over 50% - and new smart devices can take this even further with the enhanced control they offer.
Smart controls - such as the miGenie range from Drayton - provide complete control of heating with additional options for hot water control, enabling monitoring and management of a building’s temperature via an app on a smartphone, tablet or Apple Watch.
Remote control provides the facilities manager with the power to programme and alter heating and hot water schedules, depending on number of people in the building and/or changes in the weather, to ensure that there’s no energy wastage.
If there are doubts over introducing internet connected heating controls into a business, it is important to remember that some controls continue to operate even if there’s no internet connection and can be operated manually by the programmer, ensuring employees wont be left in the cold in the event of loss of internet connection.
So in order to maintain a healthy and happy working environment, it is smart to consider internet-connected heating controls for their range of benefits; minimising running costs, reducing overall energy consumption and improving comfort levels for occupants.