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The role of a BEMS in the workplace

​Businesses are starting to realise the positive effects of a comfortable working environment on employee wellbeing. A growing body of research has shown that optimising the comfort conditions in a place of work leads to a positive impact on people’s physical and psychological health.

Building Research Establishment (BRE) has published research showing that people in Europe spend around 90 per cent of their time indoors. Poor indoor air quality can reduce employee productivity through symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, aches and pains, eye and throat problems and skin irritation. It can also exacerbate seasonal affective disorder (SAD), stress, depression, backache
and other cardiovascular ailments.

Business owners and tenants would do well to tackle the issue of poor indoor air quality by implementing systems which ensure that work conditions are optimised at all times of the working day. A Building Energy Management System (BEMS) plays a significant role in enhancing occupational wellbeing by creating an environment where air quality and general comfort conditions are fully optimised. A BEMS will also properly control of lighting within the workplace to ensure that people work in properly illuminated conditions at all times. Combining natural lighting with a DALI control system allows a workplace to achieve the optimal balance of cost efficiency and employee wellbeing.

The good news is that that employees who are more comfortable are more industrious. The World Green Building Council states that productivity improvements of 8-11 per cent are not uncommon as a result of better air quality, while a Gensler survey found that 90 per cent of employees admitted that their attitude about work is adversely affected by the quality of their workplace environment.

BEMS for visibility and control

It’s important to give occupants a certain amount of control of their workspaces – something that can be easily achieved with a BEMS. Individuals can access their own unique graphic or dashboard, which displays relevant information in an easy to understand format.

But, at the same time, the amount of access to the system can be kept at an appropriate level for each user, i.e. the office manager can make their area warmer or cooler within an agreed band or extend lighting for an hour at the end of the day – but cannot access the HVAC controls system for pumps or boilers, which are generally the responsibility of the maintenance manager.

The latest BEMS supervisor software available from Trend Controls, called IQVISION, means that any smart device with the appropriate security levels such as a user’s own PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone can access relevant information remotely. The BEMS is therefore accessible to a wider range of users, leading to greater productivity and improved workplace environments.

Centre of excellence

A workplace that has wellbeing as a key focus will offer a better return on any investment through improved productivity, less absence through illness and better staff morale. It is therefore clear that, as well as being at the forefront of the drive towards greater energy efficiency, the environmental benefits that can be experienced through a BEMS are considerable.