We present another interview in the "Office Metamorphosis" series. This time Bartosz Chołuj, Key Account Manager at Interbiuro, will tell us about air conditioning and ventilation systems.
What is the significance of properly selected air conditioning and ventilation systems in an office building?
Interbiuro usually performs reconfiguration of existing building systems – adjusting them to new layouts and décors. Costs and upgrade choices depend on the system we are to deal with. Thus, when one chooses a system it is important to predict precisely what will be happening with the space in several years.
Obviously, well-chosen air conditioning and ventilation systems influence significantly optimal comfort parameters in the room and thus affect directly comfort and work efficiency. From the point of view of the investor, well-chosen systems influence significantly the investment costs and, later on, maintenance costs associated with the operation of these systems.
From the point of view of tenants it is one of the most important installations in a building which directly affects work comfort and efficiency of the employees, especially from spring to autumn. Those installations provide both proper work temperature and proper air quality in open spaces and closed office rooms.
The possibility to introduce separate zones in one office space and thus to provide comfort for most employees is yet another advantage.
What are the basic requirements of a well-designed and well-constructed air conditioning and ventilation systems in office space?
In the case of office buildings, proper requirements for air conditioning and ventilation systems come down to providing a given amount of fresh air and adequate cooling capacity and thermal power. The system of air distribution is also important – a well-designed installation will not cause "draughts" and will provide desired acoustic parameters.
Adjusting to those parameters provides optimal benefits form the installations and minimal discomfort – related mainly to acoustic inconvenience for the users – thus disproportionate to the benefits of their use.
After the completion of modernization works, our employees train the users to operate the controllers to affect the temperature in the space. When there is no such training or explanation how the installed devices work, the costs of the operating costs will increase and there will be no improvement of work conditions whatsoever despite installed devices and expenses incurred.
Which modern system solutions are most frequently employed in green offices?
Ventilation and air conditioning solutions in ecological offices are based on widely understood heat recovery. Additionally, all solutions which are based on heat pumps solutions using, at least to some extend, renewable energy. Cooling devices with so called "free-cooling" function are also used. Such solutions serve to use as little electrical energy as possible for air conditioning and ventilation processes.
What solutions within air conditioning technologies can be employed in older buildings with no such installations?
When we conduct construction works in buildings with no air conditioning installations we usually employ solutions which affect the construction of such facilities as little as possible. Most frequently these are air conditioning solutions based on exemplary VSV systems produced by DAIKIN as they have small diameter of cables carrying refrigerant and are flexible when it comes to installing the devices (systems) both inside and outside. Such a solution gives us almost 100 percent certainty that installation is possible and guarantees efficiency and maintaining a suitable temperature in each room. The system is also relatively cheap. Our customers choose this solution very often because of good value for money and resulting comfort.
Are there any legal requirements for the owners and managers of office buildings related to maintenance and inspections of air conditioning and ventilation systems?
I do not know of any legal requirements. These are mainly the requirements of manufacturers (suppliers) of the devices related to the warranty provided. These requirements relate to servicing and maintenance checks of devices. For tenants maintenance in terms of hygiene including mould removal and replacing filters is the most important. After we preform reconfiguration of installations we provide our clients with maintenance checks which often allow to replace devices cost-free in case of failure throughout the warranty period. We can frequently see that devices installed especially in older office buildings do not improve work comfort because of the lack of maintenance checks or incorrect setting of the airflow and temperature.
What kind of indoor microclimate parameters should be provided in offices for optimal comfort?
Polish standards and environmental standards define designed air parameters in offices which provide hygienic conditions and comfort. Parameters providing optimal thermal comfort include the temperature and humidity of air, air flow rate, partitions temperature and temperature gradient in the room.