A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

The Heat on Occupancy Comfort is Being Turned Up

We have written about the work of Software Advice, a Gartner company that helps buyers build short lists of various types of construction software, including HVAC, several times in the past. They have just released a survey that addresses a long-standing problem in every office, including in the construction industry.

Whether in the job shack or in the high-rise office building we have all said or heard – “Why is it so ****(Hot) (Cold) in here?” “Where is the thermostat?” “Who turned the thermostat up so high?”  We have all heard the complaints.  Now with the new smart systems and the software that runs them, we have an opportunity to make a positive change, especially with the “internet of things.”

As part of the process of reviewing new climate control software, Forrest Burnson at Software Advice conducted a seven-day online survey that solicited 252 responses (129 women and 123 men) to assess the issue of “occupancy comfort” among office workers, both young and old.  Their findings were interesting to say the least.

  • Fifty percent (50%) of respondents report being dissatisfied at least several times a month with the temperature of their office.
  • Forty-two percent (42%) of respondents say their offices are too warm during the summer, while 56 percent (56%) report that their offices are too cold in the winter.
  • A majority of respondents (60 percent) say that having more control over their office’s temperature would increase their productivity.
  • The median preferred office temperature for women is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for men.
  • Frequency of dissatisfaction with temperature increases with age: 46- to 55-year-old employees are 36 percent more likely to be dissatisfied than 18- to 25-year-olds.

Nest was one of the first companies to manufacture smart thermostats for residences and small offices.  I know how easy they are to use because I control mine on my iPad or phone from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, whether on my couch, at my desk, my local Starbucks or even in another city.

For commercial systems, companies like Network Thermostats offer Wi-Fi enabled control systems that enable more customized control from the smart phone platform.

Software Advice talks about the Comfy system that lets users vote on the temperature and the system then responds.  I am not certain whether that would escalate or de-escalate the thermostat wars.

As you might see from the survey, the need is there and with the office environment of the future talked about by the major design firms like HOK, Perkins and Will, and Gensler, the demand for more responsive software systems is critical to your productivity and comfort in the next generation office space.  How long will it be before you hear from a “next gen” estimator you are recruiting, “Will I be able to control the thermostat from my smart phone?”  That day is coming faster than you might imagine.  Software Advice is reviewing the newest software that will offer you the opportunity to respond positively the first time you get the question.

Software Advice reviews new construction software and provides advice to companies who are in the market for new software solutions.