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View Diary: Sequester turns up the heat—literally—on federal workers (70 comments)

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  •  What studies are these? Plenty of people... (2+ / 0-)
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    cordgrass, Joe Bob

    want the thermostat at 80 and above. May not be the majority but it's a good chunk of office workers. The ones with the sweaters on when the temperature is set at 72.

    Not to mention those that wear wool suits in a heat wave.

    Fans use much less electricity vs air conditioning by the way.

    •  Upper 70s is usually OK (2+ / 0-)
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      MPociask, Notreadytobenice

      Low 80s is OK with decent humidity, fans, and open windows.

      I can't think of anybody in the humid Eastern U.S. who is comfortable with an air conditioning thermostat at over 80 degrees in a typical office building with unopenable windows.  

      Our top-floor office is sometimes 82 or 83 degrees in the afternoon sun, with high humidity.  Little productive work gets done, and people tend to disperse with laptops to cooler parts of the building.

      Maybe that works in Phoenix with low humidity, where the low 80s is over 30 degrees below outside temperature on a normal summer day.  

    •  These are common engineering standards (1+ / 0-)
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      Notreadytobenice

      The baseline for most HVAC design is 75F and 50% RH. The applicable standard is called ASHRAE 55 – Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy. Part of the standard is based on a long history of survey data that allows you to predict what percentage of people will report being dissatisfied with their environment in a given set of environmental conditions.

      Given a set of environmental variables, you can make a good prediction of how (un)comfortable a building can be. We have a given of a thermostat setpoint of 80F. We don’t know anything else for certain but, since we’re talking about federal employees let’s assume conditions based on Washington, DC in August. RH outdoors can range well above 80%, and since we won’t be running our air conditioner very much we will have poor dehumidification, so assume an indoor RH around 65%-70%.

      I can plug those numbers into the calculations and tell you that for a large part of the workday between 40% and 65% of people will be uncomfortably hot given the conditions. Generally, an HVAC system is considered to be ‘not working right’ when more than 20% of people would report being dissatisfied.  

      As for your second point: Yes, a fan uses less energy than an air conditioner. But if we’re talking about an office building full of people, dozens, scores or hundreds of inefficient little fan motors are going to negate or even exceed the energy ‘saved’ by dialing back the central systems.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:21:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  40-65% uncomfortably hot is acceptable. (0+ / 0-)

        People remember times when the outside air exceeds the system's design day or something breaks or the operator farts.

        Add those long memories to the "some like it hot and some like it cold" fights and you get a song full of complaints.

        Agree with fan energy use if everyone brought one in. Guarantee that doesn't happen by a long shot.

        Article linked in diary about airport et al is telling.

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