All offices need air conditioning and heating for many reasons. First of all they need it in order to be able to provide for their staff and to make them feel comfortable at work which is an important from a moral perspective. At the same time though it is also important for the productivity and if an office doesn’t have the right heating and air conditioning then staff will find it difficult to work in those conditions and might result in less output and a lower quality in general of work. Finally though, the precise air conditioning and heating that the company chooses is very important from the perspective of going green – and by selecting these systems carefully a company can shrink its carbon footprint thereby reducing overheads as well as improving their PR.
When choosing air conditioning or heating solutions the first thing to consider is whether you want to use ducts or whether you want to create an ‘oasis’. Ducts are the obvious answer in the case of the majority of companies. This means that you will have the hot or cool air circulated throughout ducts in the ceilings and walls of the buildings. You thus have only one unit – a furnace for instance – that creates the warm air, and this is then circulated around the building by being blown around it. This is the opposite from using an ‘oasis’ of heat, where a single heater can be turned on or off independently in order to heat just the area around it. By using an oasis of heat you can warm a single area by running just that device and this will save energy and help to go green as you aren’t heating the whole building for the sake of one employee. At the same time it provides the employees with more freedom of control. For air conditioning you can create an oasis using a window unit which sits in the window and blows cold air in that way.
However at the same time oasis heating/cooling solutions have a downside in that they are more expensive to run individually. This means that if you should want to heat the entire business, you will need to run each of them independently and that would prove very costly. The best solution then is to have both devices available and to mostly rely on the ducts. Getting ducts installed is a good investment for a business and one you should consider carefully if you want your company to go green.
Another thing to consider is the energy efficiency of the devices themselves. Most heating systems and air conditioning units will come rated for efficiency and paying a bit more for a high efficiency machine is important for going green and for cutting overheads. With a furnace for instance look for a ‘non-condensing’ system and you will save considerable money.
You also need to think about your policy on heating and air conditioning and you need to walk the fine line between providing comfort and saving energy. Try to have strict protocol and this way you will be able to more closely monitor your energy usage and look for ways to improve it. Bear in mind that running heating early in the year is important to prevent the temperature of the building from dropping so that you then have to heat it back up.
Lastly consider other things that can help. Could tinting for the windows, or blinds for instance, stop you from needing to use as much air conditioning? Likewise could you lower your heating costs by using more insulation in your walls and ceilings? Every decision you make regarding heating and air conditioning will help you to go green and to cut expenses.