Good News for Control Freaks: Individual Air-Conditioning Vents Are Ultra-Efficient

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We recently reported on a study from Johnson Controls showing that 78% of U.S. office workers feel that their productivity is lowered when the temperature is uncomfortable. The company suggested that individual workstation temperature controls are the best solution. That’s an unsurprising recommendation since Johnson Controls manufactures said temperature controls. But according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Johnson Controls is correct–individual climate control systems can slice a building’s energy use in half.

Researchers at Berkeley simulated an office building in a humid climate using both roomwide ventilation and personalized ventilation. The result: individual ventilation cut energy use by 50% since air only needs to be blown at desks (versus an entire room), and workers can turn off air conditioners when they head out for lunch or leave for the day.

Personalized ventilation systems cost more than larger ventilation systems upfront, but they could pay for themselves in energy savings quickly. And if workers are more comfortable, productivity is increased, and money is saved all around. Or employers could just take the Japanese approach and stick people on the roof when it gets too hot inside.

[Via New Scientist]AS