Researchers develop cloud based system to control temperatures in an office environment according to individual preference

In what could bring an end to the endless thermostat wars at office, scientists have developed a system that can automatically optimise the indoor conditions including air quality, temperature and lighting according to each workers needs. No matter the season, thermostat wars rage in offices worldwide. Employees bicker over the temperature, complaining that it is either too hot or too cold.
"Improving the quality of the office-building environment impacts the comfort of employees, which in turn influences their productivity," said Hashem Akbari, professor at Concordia University in Canada.

Image: Concordia University

Image: Concordia University

The researchers simulated their method in an open-air office building with five zones and four occupants per zone. They tested different occupancy scenarios and outdoor weather conditions and took into consideration the employees thermal tolerance. Using data analysis techniques, they modelled the preferences of each office worker. As a result, they could simulate worker-preferred indoor temperatures, ventilation rates, natural illumination and artificial lighting based on sensors placed throughout the office.

"We considered several parameters, including energy exchange processes across the building, sets of indoor and outdoor environmental parameters, energy prices, indoor air quality, occupants activities and personalised thermal and visual preferences," said Farhad Mofidi, a graduate from Concordia University. "The proposed method is able to act as the brain behind the decision-making system of a cloud-based energy management platform," Mofidi said.

The system not only reduced energy costs, but also increased the overall productivity, researchers said.

Updated Date: Oct 15, 2017 15:35 PM