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Now Is the Winter of Your Discontent, This Glorious Summer in the Office Thermostat War

Jul 25, 2017 11:02:36 AM

It never seems to end, does it? Half the year, the outdoor temperature is as pleasant as a frozen tundra (speaking for us Northerners). The other half of the year, we must defend ourselves from the onslaught of air conditioning so heavy we get goose bumps sitting at our desks or dining in public. How embarrassing! How revolting.

What's worse is that half the office (ahem, men) usually prefers the Arctic air stream all summer. However, at 6'0" and 150 lbs., I am often on the side of goose bumps. Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, we're fighting back!

The Thermostat War Is On! We're Taking Back the Stat!

Thermostat tug of war

Just kidding! At 75F, we don't have thermostat wars. 75F brings peace to the office throughout the year with Dynamic Airflow Balancing and Outside Air Optimization. Winter is tamed. With 75F, winter never encroaches on your indoor environment. 75F plays nice, integrating with your existing HVAC equipment and even working as a downstream solution in central plant HVAC systems.

Office workers, we feel you. You're sick of making requests to modify the air temperature in your part of the office or in conference rooms. You just want to be comfortable and productive while you're at the office. The HVAC system should be smart and responsive.

Facility managers, we get you. You're tired of getting calls and complaints from all corners of the building about the air temperature and comfort. Don't people know you can't please everyone? Don't they know how expensive and time-consuming that would be?

Actually, it's a cost-effective fix that boosts comfort, control and productivity for everyone (all at once, throughout each day). The 75F system removes hot and cold spots throughout buildings by automatically balancing airflow according to building dynamics and usage patterns. It predicts environmental changes and adapts on its own. However, building occupants and facility mangers still have control when they want it. A simplified user interface allows easy, touchscreen control of the balance between comfort and energy efficiency. Facility managers are able to monitor and control the system via the Facilisight mobile app and desktop application.

The workforce and facility managers alike can put down their weapons and peacefully go about their work again, uninterrupted by pesky air temperature discomforts.

(We had fun with this photo shoot!)
Thermostat battle of cold and warm office workers

Businesses Can Save Serious Money by Keeping Workers Comfortable

In 2004, a Cornell University study linked warmer indoor temperatures to higher productivity. The study found that, on average, raising the office temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone (up from 68°F to 77°F) can save employers about $2.00 per worker, per hour, or up to 12.5% of wage costs. That's not to recommend your office target 77°F, but studies do suggest better comfort with an indoor air temperature between 72°F and 77°F. Exceeding that range has the same negative impact on productivity as does undershooting the range.

If there are 100 people in your building with an average wage of $25/hr, a 12.5% wage costs savings is equivalent to $3.12*100 = $312/hr OR $12,500 each week!

Of course, this is just a study of an office environment. We understand that many environments, such as kitchens, warehouses, factories, industrial facilities and some commercial spaces, may require different temperature ranges than the optimal range for office workers.

The predictive, proactive building controls and smart HVAC solution developed at 75F also improve comfort levels and indoor air quality. Most commercial buildings need indoor air quality improvements. High indoor CO2 and volatile organic compound levels are caused by HVAC systems that aren't optimized as well as cutting-edge building management systems. 

In 2014, a Harvard School of Public Health double-blind study found high CO2 and volatile organic compound levels have direct negative impacts on thinking and decision making (cognitive ability).

How Does 75F Stack Up in the Market?

Our larger competitors (Schneider Electric, Honeywell, Siemens, Johnson Controls, etc.) focus on large commercial and industrial buildings. Their systems are expensive to install, monitor, and update or reconfigure. The typical energy management system (large or small) saves just about 16% of energy costs on average (excluding industrial and factory buildings, which get lower energy savings), according to a 2015 global study by researchers at National Taipei University of Technology's Department of Energy and Refrigerating Air-Conditioning Engineering in Taiwan.

75F provides dynamic, quick to install, quick to commission solutions that reduce energy costs by 30% to 50%. Our clients get state-of-the-art building intelligence and automation optimized for value by Internet of Things, cloud computing and machine learning technology.

There are certainly competitors in the market for smaller building footprints as well. They are also working to provide maximum comfort and energy efficiencies in the modern workplace. Here's a brief look at the top three:

  1. One type of technology being implemented in the industry uses crowdsourcing applications that allow office workers to send complaints and requests to facility managers to either increase or decrease the temperature of the air in their area of the office. Algorithms democratize requests for hot or cold air in each area and learn from trends over time. However, the subscription costs for this solution exceed the energy cost savings the company claims, which range from 20% to 25%. Air quality and the overall system efficiency are also not controlled by this system, so it's not a full building automation or energy management system.

  2. Another optimizes the energy usage of rooftop units (RTUs) in a similar fashion to 75F. It creates significant efficiencies (up to 50% more efficient RTUs) and provides real-time monitoring, scheduling, lighting controls and portfolio management while reducing preventive maintenance costs. However, it doesn't control other HVAC assets downstream from the RTU, which can provide further efficiencies and data points to proactively resolve comfort and air quality issues in buildings. This too, is not a full building automation or energy management system.

  3. The third offers energy management as a service ("EMaaS"), which means they offer energy usage monitoring and control for HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems with cloud-based software, wireless devices and big data analytics. 75F also has these capabilities, but we often double the 20% energy cost savings claimed by this competitor most obviously through our dynamic airflow balancing solution, continuous commissioning and proactive machine learning applications.

75F does more than end thermostat wars. We help businesses improve the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental accounting. We solve your building's thermal problems, improve equipment life, help to boost employee productivity and reduce overall energy usage costs by 30% to 50%.

The 75F building automation system (BAS) significantly cuts the price of a BAS in competitive bidding processes, often by 40% to 50%.


Thermostat War Outakes:

Thermostat tug of war and smiling workers

Thermostat and remote tug of war close up


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