Are you feeling the heat in your office this summer? Despite London being named the world capital for business, finance and culture, research shows that 29% of currently available Central London office space does not have an office cooling system. These statistics average across all Central London areas: 27% of City of London offices, 33% of West End offices and 28% of WC1 and WC2 reportedly have no access to an office cooling system.
Read on as we discuss how uncooled office space could be sending the productivity of your business into meltdown.
How heat is affecting your business
As expected, studies show that the temperature in your working environment can considerably affect employee working habits. When it’s too hot, employees can’t help but feel uncomfortable, making them feel lethargic and causing their concentration levels to drop. Employees can also feel easily irritated which raises stress levels across the workplace, making for a very tense environment.
Without an office cooling system, it’s likely you’ll be counting on the breeze from an open window to cool you down. However, open windows often mean exposure to pollen for hayfever sufferers, which can result in a stuffy head. Trying to concentrate on work can be much harder for those who are prone to these reactions, with constant sneezing and itchy eyes being the main contributors. As higher temperatures can mean increased sweating, all employees are also at a higher risk of dehydration.
Why aren’t landlords and developers addressing the issue?
So, if offices without cooling systems are affecting business productivity, why isn’t the issue being addressed?
Renovations – lots of older buildings still need to be renovated, so many landlords are holding off installing office cooling systems.
Planning – planning to get the rights to add cooling systems into commercial properties can be a slow process.
Cost – office cooling systems are expensive to purchase and install. There is also the disruption associated with running the rest of the building during installation, which often means the building will have to be fully vacated to undertake these works.
Sustainability – there is more pressure than ever before to cut carbon emissions. With this comes new government measures that require commercial buildings to have energy performance assessments – these will include tests on air cooling systems. This means any systems which are installed need to use low quantities of energy .
What does the future of office cooling solutions look like?
As new commercial properties are being developed, we’re seeing a whole range of new technologies being utilised – with sustainability firmly in mind. So what does the future of office cooling systems look like?
30 St Mary Axe, or the Gherkin as it’s better known, has a series of interstices with six pipes made from a natural ventilation system, which functions as double glazing. In the summer, the pipes are used for cooling the building by removing hot air from within.
London’s Walkie Talkie tower, 20 Fenchurch Street, completed in early 2015, is set to be the first commercial property in London to install a hydrogen fuel cell. Producing heating, cooling and electricity, the hydrogen fuel cell will generate around 300kW of low carbon electricity.
As innovations continue to develop, it’s likely that we’ll see more of these sustainable systems implemented into commercial property developments in future years.