Record Temperatures Not a Sign to Throw in The Towel…
Facilities Managers Must Double Down on Sustainability
by John C. Wang
CEO & co-founder
The UK and Europe have recently been in the fierce grips of a record-breaking heatwave. Not only is it a not-so-subtle warning of the growing climate emergency, but also an indicator of increasingly extreme temperatures to come.
Where are we now?
These temperatures are not a blip. If anything, they are a herald of summers that will linger for longer and swell to ever hotter temperatures. Meanwhile, while the UK government has yet to set a limit for maximum working temperatures, increasing pressure from unions and employee representatives may see steps been taken to protect employee health by enacting limits. To add to that, research from the University of Chicago discovered that for every degree above 27ºC, productivity dropped by 2 to 4 percent.
As climate becomes more extreme, we are likely to see colder and longer winters too. This spells bad news for facilities managers who will be experiencing pressure from several stakeholders to maintain a comfortable workplace experience despite changing external conditions. The only solution may feel like ramping up the output of HVAC systems to compensate.
Where do we need to get to next?
By simply increasing output to cool workplaces down, it exacerbates the issue and undoes any previous gains made by facilities managers in improving workplace sustainability. Yet there is a very real need to provide a workplace that is warm during the winter and cool during the summer without knock sustainability and ESG goals to the wayside.
How do we get there?
It may be tempting to readdress sustainability as low priority, or that with this year’s record-high temperatures, feel a growing sentiment to simply give up and throw in the towel. That however just does not make sense, and I challenge facilities managers who can in good conscience put aside their responsibilities of sustainability to their organizations and continue with ‘business as usual’.
Instead, FMs should be doubling down on their sustainability efforts. They should be identifying more places for savings, optimizations and automations. They should be asking how they can integrate workplace systems — HVAC systems, occupancy systems, space reservation systems and so on — to communicate with each other to create adaptive spaces.
Occupancy data too plays a critical role in sustainability by allowing systems to automatically adapt on the go to an ever-changing flow of occupants. By automating and optimizing HVAC output based on occupancy, sustainability goals can be reached while simultaneously providing comfortable environments for occupants.
Ready to get serious about sustainability? Catch our latest webinar “The Future of the Sustainable Workplace” and get reducing your organizations carbon footprint now