The demand for co-working spaces is increasing. Across Central London alone, flexible workplace providers have taken over 21% of office space in 2017, while competition in the regional cities is intensifying.
In response to such growth, industry stakeholders are rapidly examining their approach to designing and specifying equipment for modern workplaces. Unlike traditional offices, co-working spaces are not always occupied by the same amount of people, or indeed fully occupied at all. As a result, demand patterns are likely to be different, as the entire premise of flexible working centres on not having a 9-5 schedule.
So, what are the key considerations when specifying heating equipment for a co-working office?
Flexible, energy efficient heating
Co-working spaces are operationally more efficient than a typical office: facilities and staff are shared between a larger number of members, keeping overheads and other costs lower. This drives the use of more intelligent, automated technology, such as sensor-activated lighting, or smart thermostats. The advantage of such measures is that they can also decrease energy usage, reducing bills as well as environmental impact.
An aspect which is often overlooked is the technology used to emit heat. Paired with an efficient heat source and controls, the right radiators can really boost a building’s green credentials.
Low water content radiators contain a tenth of the water compared to a standard steel panel radiator, so they waste less heat and react at least three times faster to fluctuations in ambient temperature. This means that they heat up almost immediately if the temperature falls below the set level and stop emitting heat as soon as that same level is reached. BRE tests show that a switch to low water content radiators can deliver energy savings of up to 15% compared to standard steel-panel radiators.
Another innovative, yet easily deployed, radiator technology for managers to consider is fan assisted DBE (Dynamic Boost Effect), which improves airflow and boosts heat output by drawing air over the element – increasing the efficiency of the radiator and helping to quietly circulate air around the room.
Whilst the DBE unit maintains rapid, effective and accurate room comfort conditions, it can also supply a quick boost of heat if required.
People who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores—in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy—than those who work in offices with typical levels.
Conventional ventilation systems are not well suited to co-working spaces with their varying occupancy rates as there is not a consistent pattern in CO2 levels. Of course, vented windows provide a form of natural ventilation, but as many offices are in heavily polluted inner-city areas, may not be the most pleasant solution.
This is where demand control ventilation comes in. These systems are fitted with intelligent sensors that detect CO2 and only begin filtering the air when levels get higher than a specified point. This is the most efficient and comfortable way of ventilating a building as energy is only used when necessary.
Jaga’s Oxygen is a demand-based ventilation system that can be integrated with Low-H2O radiators for a hybrid heating and cooling system.
To attract co-workers into a space, the look and feel of a building is important. Glass façades are incredibly popular in modern offices as they look attractive and let in plenty of natural light. But they can be a specifier’s worst nightmare, as they are not very thermally efficient, meaning internal temperatures can become freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer. Also, they’re quite tricky to mount a traditional radiator on!
Thankfully, trench heating can help with temperature control issues in floor-to-ceiling glass environments by creating a curtain effect. Its subtle design is flush with the floor and can be customised with dozens of material options, to ensure the heating solution adds to the design rather than detracting from it.
With the popularity of co-working only set to increase, specifiers need to be aware of the technologies available to help foster an environment which is comfortable, harmonious and conducive to productivity.