Creating the Productive Workplace

By Derek Clements-Croome | Go to book overview

something like half of the CO2 production of the building. The current consensus is that light levels in buildings should be reduced, and 300 lux is often suggested as a suitable light level. It is common to observe that buildings with apparently good provision for natural lighting are lit with electric lights throughout the day during the winter. One might think that the occupants are being 'naughty' and if the lights were properly controlled by automatic means, then they would be turned off and energy would be saved. Imagine yourself coming to work in the morning in the winter before dawn. The office is dark, the lights are on. After a time it gets light outside and natural light is added to the electric light by which you work. Ideally, the controls would turn the lighting down to maintain a constant 300 lux light level, thus saving energy. You might be satisfied by this strategy, but most people enjoy a little more light and leave the lights on. In our office it is not popular to turn off the lights until the contribution made by the electric light is a small proportion of the total light available, so on bright sunlit days the lights can be turned off and the light level reduces from, say, 1500 to 1200 lux. In my view, buildings should be designed with this in mind so that we really do have generous light. Of course, this brings two dangers: during the winter the heat loss at night is excessive and in summer the heat gain from bright sun is also excessive. The Victorians invented curtains, shutters and blinds to control these disadvantages of windows and I think we should have insulated blinds or shutters which close at night during the winter and close when there is excessive heat gain from light during hot summer days. Roller shutters have the advantage of providing security against intruders.

I have not talked much about mechanical and electrical engineering, because I hope the future does not lie in that sphere. I can design such installations, but I hope they will not be required.


References

h
Humphreys, M. (1965) What causes thermal discomfort? Proceedings of the Workplace Comfort Forum.

i
ISO (1994) ISO. 7 730 : Moderate thermal environments: determination of the PMV and PPD indices and specifications of the conditions for thermal comfort, Geneva. International Standards Organisation.

-76-

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