Latest news from Durable 1: Heat & Glare

The impact of glare at work

30 April 2015

As Spring approaches and the sun is low in the sky it serves as a reminder of the effects of the sun’s rays. Firstly as glare on screens which can be a real problem at this time of the year and secondly the issues created by heat gain during the hotter summer months.

In the USA much fuss is made of the issue of glare on screens and for good reason. The American Optometric Association refer to Computer Vision Syndrome which is a catch-all title for what is a frequently occurring health problem experienced by 70 per cent of people who work with VDUs and other screens. Less is made of this in the UK and yet we are all familiar with the symptoms: eye-strain, headache, nausea, all resulting in lack of energy. Working at a computer is stressful on the body and when glare on the screen is added it can move this from uncomfortable to hazardous. In the USA there is already talk of potential legal action against organisation’s neglecting to protect employees from the effects of excessive VDU work.

Most companies with windows allow staff to cope by any means from turning screens to pulling blinds and yet there is a very simple solution that has multiple benefits. The solution is the application of solar-control window film which once applied takes the issue away. New window films like 3M Prestige reflect more than 90% of Infrared rays and 59% of solar energy and yet, because of the nano-technology construction, these new films are virtually invisible.

Reducing glare is a huge benefit, but as the summer approaches the ability to also filter out transmitted heat from the sun through glass has more benefits than many building and facilities managers might realise. Start with the idea of pulling blinds which does take the glare away but does not stop the heat from entering the room – it merely delays the effect. Once heat enters the work environment energy has to be burned cooling down internal work spaces. which is expensive as it takes 3 times the energy to cool air than it does to heat it.

Anyone responsible for a building has to justify expense which is why it is interesting to note than in many assessments of the benefits of window film payback has been measured in less than 3 years, and this for a product with a long guarantee. This return on investment evaluation does not take into account the added benefit of improved staff productivity. Increased productivity is more than an aside, but is a serious issue as illustrated by an article that appeared in the ASHRAE Journal written by David Wyon and Pawel Wargochi which summarised many studies over the years on the effects of the sun’s rays penetrating in the workplace (copies available from Durable), and which found that productivity generally reduced by 20% when temperatures reach 24⁰C. Modern window films like Prestige mentioned above which restrict glare and heat but maintain natural light also help increase productivity and wellbeing in the workplace according to a studies such as the 2003 paper by Heschong Malone Group found that workers in a Call Centre, a pressurised environment where productivity is critical, performed 6% faster with natural light and a view.

For more information on new window film technology to reduce heat and glare contact Durable Limited on 0118 989 5200 or visit durable.co.uk.

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