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The importance of room automation in an office environment

2023.01.06.

Nowadays it is a commonplace that offices are ergonomic, as it has been proven that it has a positive impact on workflow, efficiency and even health. However, only few people realize that our health is also affected by other factors.

Photo: Siemens

Whether a person feels well in an office or not, also depends on the premise’s automation level. Nowadays having room thermostats is a common phenomenon. With these we can adequately adjust the temperature of the room. Shading controls from room controllers are becoming more common to ensure proper lighting. Adjusting the temperature of a premise is equally as important as measuring and controlling the concentration of relative humidity, CO2, PM2.5 and VOC (meaning: volatile organic compound). Relative humidity is probably the most familiar of the previously mentioned concepts. It is advisable to keep the rate between 40 and 60%; if the rate is too low, it would lead to dehydration (dry eyes, irritation, and throat scratching are typical symptoms), if too high, it would encourage pathogens to grow and lead to mold. The level of CO2 has a significant impact on fatigue: If the air is stale, i.e., the proportion of fresh air is not appropriate, people feel tired, yawn, and their efficiency worsens, so they will be less productive. The concentration of PM2.5 or indoor fine particulate matter and VOCs has a major impact on health and our level of comfort. The elements used in a room (carpets, paint, furniture etc.) play a significant role in both, and it is typically the dust that is trapped and stirred up in these elements and the gases that escape from them that can cause discomfort. If we feel unwell in an office or in a building, and the symptoms only last while we are inside, then the quality of the air is probably bad, and we can be suspicious that the place is suffering from Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. If we experience something like this, it is worth informing our employer, who must investigate the available opportunities in order to improve air quality and comfort.

Author: Andrea Papp electrical engineer

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