Office Thermostat Wars: Any way to keep the peace?

1. Sustainability Problem

Controllability of Systems – Thermal Comfort

In summer air-conditioning season, nothing is more divisive than when and where to set the temperature in workplaces. Some employees control the thermostat and it’s a daily battle of, “I’m cold. I’m hot. Turn it off. Turn it up.” Thermal comfort impacts worker productivity and company’s triple bottom line. New information and office productivity technologies are a driving force for innovation.

2. Technology Article Summary

An article from the Wall Street Journal: Cold War Over the Office Thermostat

By Sue Shellenbarger

Updated June 8, 2016 12:47 p.m. ET

  • People dress to stay cool on the commute but freeze inside the office. Some wear sweaters or coat at work, while others strip down to a T-shirt and sandals.
  • Some employees tamper with the thermostat without asking colleagues.  According to a survey by the International Facility Management Association, many devise tactics to get the temperature they want inside offices.
  • Building managers maintain temperatures in a range between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit—comfort levels for most people.
  • To placate complainers, some facility managers install dummy thermostats to give occupants an illusion of control, although with no connection to the air-conditioning system.
  • Dummy thermostats make office workers happier because of the sense of control over the temperature. Office workers perform best when they have control over their physical environment.
  • Many variables affect individuals’ basal body temperatures:
    • Different circadian rhythms
    • Diet and exercise
    • Clothing
    • Activity
    • Gender
  • People are using high tech approach to manage thermostat disputes:
    • Comfy, a smartphone app that allows occupants to request one of the following: Warm My Space, Cool My Space, or I’m Comfy. It then sends a blast of hot or cool air to their area.
    • View Dynamic Glass, a smart window that enables smartphone-app users to lighten or darken the shading to heat or cool the interior, without blocking the view of outdoors.
    • Vector Occupant, an app that allows occupants use their smartphones to register complaints about the temperature with the building’s control system.
    • CrowdComfort, a crowd-sourcing app that enables office occupants to send complaints via smartphone to the building manager; about 30% to 40% are from people who are either too hot or too cold.
  • Using CrowdComfort app, facility managers quickly adjust temperatures that are out of the target range, or fix problems.
  • By building a network of human sensors, CrowdComfort allows users to capture data related to the human sensory experience. With this data, people can influence comfort, safety, and operations, and collaborate to make a building’s environment more efficient and more effective.
  • CrowdComfort’s Human Sensor Network platform leverages crowd-sourced occupant feedback to improve safety and operations in workplaces, unlock efficiencies in facilities management and preventative maintenance, increase employee productivity, and more.1
  1. Organizational Stakeholders
  • Building Occupants
  • Business Owners/Employers
  • Management Executives: CEOs, CFOs, COOs
  • Office Managers
  • Office Workers
  • Building/Operations Managers
  • Manufacturers
  1. Deployment

          How it works? 2

  • Sign-up for CrowdComfort’s Software-as-a-Service (Saas) cloud platform – no hardware required.
  • Install QR codes in rooms and assets throughout building.
  • Customize what information you receive and where it goes; integrate with existing building’s system.
  • Collect site-specific feedback in real time to fix problems before they escalate.
  • Analyze building and team performance to improve operations, increase productivity, and reduce costs.

Other references:













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