Keeping Your Home Cool during the Sweltering, Summer Months

Forget An Open-Door Policy -- Your Office Needs An Open-Window Policy

by Anthony Graves

Most new-build commercial buildings have windows that do not open at all; these are meant to help regulate the temperature inside the buildings. By not having open windows, you don't risk "air-conditioning the outdoors," as your parents might have said. But if you're in an older building that does have windows that open, you need to set up a building-wide policy about when those windows can be open. It can't be too strict, of course, as everyone's comfort level varies. But it should make it clear to building occupants that there have to be limits on when the windows are open if the occupants also want to have air conditioning or heating in the building.

Windows That Open Are Good, But...

Windows that open allow people to air out stale rooms and let odors drift away. But they can also create some conflict as people who want fresh air clash with those who want the air conditioner on. The open windows allow that cool air to escape while allowing hot air inside, making the air conditioner work a lot harder to keep a stable temperature inside. Or, the air conditioner gets turned off, resulting in hotter temperatures inside than people would like. For these reasons, you have to set limits on when the windows can be open versus when the air conditioner is on.

This is not an easy step. But by letting people know that they need to see if the air conditioner is on, or if the temperature inside the building is warm or cool enough to prevent the air conditioner (or heater) from turning on before they open the window, you can save the occupants a lot of grief. For example, if it's 70 degrees outside, and the air conditioner is set to turn on at 78 degrees, opening the window is unlikely to create problems. But if it's 88 outside and 78 inside, someone trying to open the windows for reasons other than letting a bad odor out may start a conflict and cause your utility bills to go up.

Vent Locations Affect Perceptions

Keep in mind that the locations of the vents blowing out air from the HVAC system add to the perceptions of whether the office is too hot or cold. Someone who is not near a vent may feel a lot warmer than those whose desks are right under vents. That could lead the non-vent person to open a window while the vent people get blasted by more cold air from the HVAC system.

One way to help keep the temperatures a lot more stable is to ensure that the HVAC system is already in great shape. Arrange for regular inspections so that you know that, no matter how warm or cold the people in the building feel, the system itself is working well. For more information, contact your local commercial HVAC services.