Having to spend about eight hours at your office every single day changes your perspective on private and public property. We all know that renovating, decorating and designing your own home is easier than doing the same at an office because our home is ours and we can do what we want with it. The office, on the other hand, is a different deal and it belongs to the company we work for, which makes it less suitable for adaptations.
However, ideas that bring viable results and a more sustainable environment should be implemented. New double grazed windows, for example, will not only make your office look nicer and more welcoming, but will also reduce the outside noise, regulate temperature and save a lot of energy. Here is how a retrofit can make a difference in your office, too.
Stage One: Planning
Since your office space is shared with a group of people, a decorating or retrofitting job has to take the interests of all involved parties into consideration. So, instead of forcing your own opinion, talk to your coworkers and come up with a solution that will satisfy everyone’s needs and requirements.
Another person whose opinion you should listen to is an architect who will tell you what can be improved and how the entire retrofitting process is to be conducted. In addition to that, you should invite an energy expert, an interior designer and a contractor to help you with the planning stage. What you can do on your own, though, is an office energy audit that will show you how to achieve the perfect level of energy efficiency.
Stage Two: Pinpointing the Problem
No matter what your energy-related needs are, you can be certain that your retrofitting job will ultimately come down to one single thing: thermodynamics. In other words, your intention is to minimize the exchange of energy between the indoors and the outdoors and prevent heat from leaving your offices.
If you manage to do this, you will make sure that you spend less amount of energy on heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. This way, your office will not only remain properly thermally regulated – do not forget that the temperature affects your employees’ performance – but you will also start spending less money on your bills.
Once you identify the core of the problem, you will soon realize that you actually have two jobs: prevent heat from leaving your office through the walls and through the windows. These are called conduction and convection, respectively, and you need to focus on both if you want your office to be entirely energy-efficient.
Stage Three: Finding a Solution
Each of these problems has a simple solution – install new windows and insulate the walls. When talking about the former, keep in mind that double glazed windows have two glass panels instead of one and are additionally equipped with a layer of air between them. That is why they are much better when it comes to keeping the heat inside the office in the winter and outside during the summer. As soon as you install these, you will start feeling the obvious benefits of double glazing, not only on your energy costs, but the comfort you feel while working
As for the walls, the best idea is to insulate your office both from the outside and from within. If you manage to find proper insulating material – fiberglass, Styrofoam, polyurethane, mineral wool, recycled material, etc. – you will be able to protect your office space from harsh temperatures and the outside noise as well. However, if also you insulate the inside walls, you can be sure that your office will be even less noisy.
Stage Four: Experiencing the Benefits
As mentioned before, there are four main benefits of a retrofitting job:
- energy efficiency,
- saving money,
- noise reduction and
- thermal comfort.
The first and the second point are interconnected and the benefit they bring is felt almost instantaneously – more than 30% of an office’s entire energy is lost through the windows! Once you replace them, however, and install new double glazed ones, your energy and heat bills are going to get lower and you will start saving a considerable amount of money right away.
Keeping your employees at peace is the key to success, so you need to ensure that your offices are quiet. With new windows and insulated walls, the level of street noise will drop drastically – up to 70%! – and this will ensure uninterrupted work all day long.
Finally, proper insulation also regulates the temperature and your offices will stop being too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. This will, besides giving all your colleagues a sense of comfort, also mean that you will have to spend less money on the heating and the cooling systems.
Remember that your office space is not the area where you only work, but you also spend a significant amount of time living there as well. Due to that, you should try making it as pleasant and enjoyable as possible and a new office retrofit project will ensure precisely that!