This piece was first published online by Architects Journal on April 21st and then at the UCL Energy Institute blog website.
For Green Sky Thinking 2015, ECD architects presented the initial findings of a detailed Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) of their own offices. The POE was led by Carrie Behar, a doctoral researcher at the Bartlett, UCL Energy Institute, where she also runs the POE module for MSc students.
A Building Use Studies (BUS)was undertaken with almost all of the 45 ECD and Keegans staff taking part in the survey and focus groups, alongside some limited monitoring of internal conditions in different locations and energy use analysis. The offices are located in a former warehouse which was converted 15 years ago, and which ECD have occupied for the last 10 years; over this period the office has grown to accommodate almost twice as many staff.
User feedback highlighted several issues and the difficulty of working in an open plan office (noise), lack of space and that most of the office is too hot all year round, even in winter, with some staff complaining that this affected concentration levels. Actual data collection confirmed the high temperatures in the open plan offices, highlighting that during winter, temperatures were above CIBSE office comfort benchmarks. Further analysis has shown that this overheating is caused by a combination of factors including the building’s characteristics and high internal heat gains from the number of people and the equipment they use, as illustrated by the diagram below. It also appeared heating may not be entirely switched off at the weekend.
Diagram showing equipment and people, contributing to high internal heat gains.
In response, ECD intends to review energy management and control and thermostat settings in addition to making incremental changes such as arranging desks better to suit individual preferences as well as investigating passive design measures to the building such as solar shading and night cooling to prevent summer overheating. It seems that initial solutions may be straightforward and at little cost, yet with potential significant gain to occupant satisfaction and comfort. All of the above will be followed up by continuing evaluation and feedback and James Traynor, Director of Architecture at ECD Architects, intends to give an update at next year’s Green Sky Thinking week.
An interesting discussion with the audience followed, where more stories (and some solutions) were shared. A few other themes appeared:
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