July 10, 2017 7:00:00 AM EDT  |  Culture  |  Facilities Support Services  |  WELL Building Standard

Office Battlegrounds – The Perfect Temperature (Thermal Comfort)

Office environments are notorious battlegrounds for control over the thermostat. Even when that’s out of reach, employees can take matters into their own hands and bring in space heaters and fans to control their environment, much to the dismay of others.

Young businesswoman feeling freezy in officeWELL Building Standard #76 (Thermal Comfort) addresses this issue of thermal comfort. It reports that thermal comfort can affect employees’ moods, performance, and productivity and admits that temperature preferences are very personal and can vary wildly from one person to the next. 

Even the temperature in a room can vary. There can be a difference of up to five degrees just from the window to the wall.

In order to become WELL certified, all ventilated work spaces must meet the design, operating, and performance criteria in ASHRAE Standard 55-2013, Section 5.3, and natural environments must meet the criteria in ASHRAE Standard 55-2013, Section 5.4. 

These standards define the range of thermal environmental conditions that are acceptable to the majority of a building’s occupants based on a number of factors including air movement and employee’s probable wardrobes. But on an individual level, where perception is so variable, is there anything else that can be done?

Fortunately, there is a new product called Comfy that is out there to help. Comfy is the Waze version of thermal control. Employees can download and use this app to customize their work space by requesting the space to be warmer or cooler. Comfy crowd sources the information and puts thermal comfort in the end users hands.

Comfy works by picking up 100 data points from each person’s request and then aggregating these individual requests and those of co-workers to adjust the air temperature most effectively. It has the ability to work in all types of office environments from conference rooms, open office layouts, to private offices. 

By following WELL Standard #76 and using Comfy, employers can rest easy in the knowledge that their employees are enjoying personalized thermal comfort.

About the Author

Ray Carney

Ray Carney

Ray Carney, WELL AP is a Vice President at Markon Solutions and a champion for wellness in the workplace. Ray’s areas of expertise include workplace strategy and modification, design thinking, leadership, sustainable design, data centers, and creating secure environments. His experience includes providing cradle-to-grave project management support for the successful design and build of secure facilities. He also spearheaded the tenant fit-out of Markon's headquarters expansion to ensure that it achieved WELL certification. This was the first WELL certified project in the Commonwealth and was recognized by the City of Falls Church for its achievement. Since joining Markon in 2007, Ray has managed numerous internal program strategies, capture efforts, and client engagements. He also co-developed Markon's in-house Leadership Development Program. Prior to joining Markon, Ray consulted for prestigious consulting firms in the DC metropolitan area and Ohio. Ray's passion for wellness in the workplace has led him to speak at numerous engagements around the country including the National Facilities Management and Technology (NFMT) Conference and Expo. He also published an article on WELL Building Standards in FaciltiesNet. Ray was named one of Engineering News-Record Midatlantic's 2016 Top 20 Under 40 for contributions to the industry. He received his MBA with a concentration in Leadership and Finance from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in Management with a concentration in Business Technology from John Carroll University. Ray is a WELL Accredited Professional, LEED Green Associate, Six-Sigma certified Yellow Belt, certified SCRUMMaster, Sun Certified Java Programmer, and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential as well as both ITIL v3 Foundations and Quality Management certifications.