Latest news from Durable 1: Heat & Glare

After Many a Summer

05 February 2015

Having experienced the warmest year on record in 2014, with a mean average temperature of 9.9⁰C, the height of winter is just the time that prudent organisations will be considering plans to mitigate the effects of the coming summer sun.

Durable Limited specialise in applications to existing glazing which results in very cost-effective ways to make windows perform better and to help the internal environment.

In summer when the heat streams in to any workplace or other building it causes issues.
Many workplaces become excessively hot affecting concentration, accuracy and productivity. In March 2013 an article appeared in the ASHRAE Journal written by David Wyon and Pawel Wargochi which summarised many studies over the years on the effects of heat in the workplace (copies available from Durable). In general terms productivity is reduced by 10% when temperatures reach 24⁰C and up to 20% in study environments. Other studies indicate that at 30⁰C productivity drops alarmingly. Accuracy is not covered by these studies but still a factor. Wyon and Wargochi conclude that most measures taken to limit heat gain above 24⁰C are likely to pay for themselves in a reasonable period of time.

Applying window film to reflect the direct heat, which is a service Durable Limited offers, is probably the most convenient and cost-effective way to keep internal workplace temperatures down. Of course productivity is only one issue. Building engineers will tell you that it takes three times the energy to cool air compared to heating it by the same margin. Yet many facility managers condone the high cost of cooling air, very often running air-conditioning systems to excess, when the air temperature could be reduced by filtering out the sun’s rays.

For some organisations a concern more potent than wasted energy is the welfare of staff. Heat is more than a discomfort and, as stated, has a direct impact of productivity. In addition it can affect worker’s health causing fatigue, stress and ultimately absenteeism. An issue not covered by Wyon and Wargochi, which adds the effects on people, is glare. In any close-working environment involving screens of any kind glare has a direct impact on performance and accuracy. Without going into the details of how screen-based words and images are formed, but suffice to say that the eye has to work hard to focus on them, when glare is added this can easily lead to eye-strain and other medical issues. In the USA a great deal of research is underway to more accurately measure the effects of people that work on screens, acknowledging that 70% of workers experience an eye related problem at some time.

In filtering out the sun’s heat window film also brings the added benefit of reducing glare. In effect, building managers get two major benefits from installing window film, reduced heat gain and glare, and every installation will pay for itself as a result of increased productivity and reduced energy costs.

Five of the warmest summers on record have happened in the last 11 years. That this summer will be hot is a good each-way bet and supported by most metrological bodies.
The installation of window film can be written down as a capital cost and put against company profits starting in the current year, which is why for many companies, with their tax year corresponding to the HMRC year ending on 5 April 2015, now is a good time to consider the long term benefits before the temperatures start to rise.

For information visit www.durable.co.uk or call Lynn Wheaton on 0118 989 5200.


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