Monday, 20 July 2015

Turn Down the Cold!

Summer is in full swing and memories of winter's chill are far off.  But why do so many businesses crank up their air conditioning to the point of freezing customers?

On those hot muggy days that many places tend to get in the middle of the summer, a retreat into an air-conditioned shop or restaurant is often welcome.  But then, after spending just a few minutes in the establishment, you feel the cold gradually creeping into your skin and setting off chills.  When you glance around you notice that the employees are all wearing sweaters.  Not wanting to become hypothermic, you make your excuses and head back outside into the heat.

In smaller or older buildings the employees might not be able to control the temperature, so they often attempt to alleviate the problem by opening the doors to the outside, blasting people on the sidewalk with cold air as they walk by.  Unfortunately this only causes the system to work harder and elevates electricity bills.

In one office where I worked there was a free-for-all around the thermostat for a while.  The temperature was not evenly distributed by the system and so some office spaces froze while others were too hot; some employees took to regularly adjusting the thermostat to suit themselves and causing others to be uncomfortable.  Finally the boss had a box installed around the unit, to which only he and the senior supervisor had a key.  I started to keep a sweater in my desk.

What we need are smarter ventilation systems that can balance the temperature throughout a building and adjust as required.

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