CIBSE Council slams thermostat mindset

What’s stopping the progression of greener buildings? According to the Council of CIBSE it’s the thermostat mindset.

Council members called for a shake up of the traditional mindset through which thermally comfortable indoor environments are delivered, with a view to initiating changes to the currently accepted norms of set-point temperature operation of offices.

The need to address the thermostat mindset was one of the major findings from a brainstorming session held by the CIBSE Council. The session was part of the Institution’s contribution to 100 Days of Carbon Clean Up, a major initiative being taken by the Institution, and funded by the Carbon Trust, to encourage companies to measure and reduce their carbon emissions.

In the debate on how to ‘Achieve buildings which are green in operation’ CIBSE Council Members called for a series of actions to be taken to overcome the barriers to energy efficient buildings and to encourage a change in both education and attitude.

They said: “For too long we have accepted ridiculously low set points in air conditioned buildings in summer, and unnaturally high set points in winter. Nothing stays the same, our world is changing and that means we have to accept change, embrace variability and aspire to adaptability. We need to help designers, facilities managers and staff to recognise the advantages of floating set points, of letting things warm up a little when the weather’s nice, and of not expecting sub-tropical conditions in buildings in winter.”

“We can no longer afford the thermostat mindset when every effort is strained and every system stressed to achieve typical UK office temperatures of 20OC in offices in the summer and 24OC in winter. We have to recognise that people can be comfortable at a wide range of temperatures if they have the freedom to dress appropriately.

“If we can achieve a consensus that floating temperatures are the way to go, and outlaw the thermostat mindset – the future will be better for us all. Building energy use will be reduced and our carbon emissions will similarly go down, rather than heading inexorably upward.”

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