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BUILDING INSPECTION, MAINTENANCE

AND FACILITY MANAGEMENT

Personalised Thermal Comfort
for Office Occupants

How might we develop an office-wide system to provide personalised thermal comfort for occupants?
 

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Challenge Statement Owner
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Hear directly from the challenge statement owners!
 

Review the presentation video and slides from the Q&A session.

Background and Current Practice

Office spaces, especially those with open concept design, are designed with air conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV) systems that use a blanket approach to regulate the temperature within an area and are not customisable to each occupant’s needs and preferences. The temperature is usually set in the colder range, as it is more widely accepted.

This leads to higher energy consumption to meet the cooling demands. Cooling a typical office space is estimated to account for approximately 60% of the total energy consumption of a building. Thus, an effort to reduce cooling demands by 15-20% would significantly save energy and operating costs.

Opportunities and Key Challenges

We are interested in solutions that can provide personalised thermal comfort for the office occupants, while reducing the total energy consumption of the office. Good thermal comfort allows occupants to improve their productivity at work by creating an environment conducive for their well-being and minimising distractions.  

 

The solution should work in tandem or even integrate with the existing ACMV systems in the office to achieve optimal outcomes. For tenants that lease the office spaces, it is desirable that the solution would require minimal modification of the existing ACMV systems.

The following describes how personalised thermal comfort and energy savings could be achieved:

  • The solution monitors the presence and state of the occupants to understand their thermal comfort requirements.
     

  • The solution allows occupants to personalise settings or provide feedback.
     

  • The solution can adjust the airflow rate, direction, quality, or moisture levels for the area occupied by an individual.

Expected Outcomes

The solution is scalable office-wide to improve thermal comfort for all occupants at a personal level without sacrificing thermal comfort of their neighbouring occupants. The solution helps companies achieve at least 15% ACMV energy savings in their offices.