Finding the right temperature in the office is essential to work comfortably, both in summer and winter. With the arrival of temperature rises, we want to remind you of the importance of creating a comfortable environment in work spaces, as it affects the well-being and effectiveness of workers.
According to the INSST (National Institute for Safety and Health at Work), there is thermal comfort when people do not feel cold or hot and are at a favorable temperature for the activity they are doing. Within the thermal sensations of each person there is a significant degree of subjectivity, so it is impossible to achieve total thermal well-being in which all workers feel comfortable. Even so, a high level of comfort must be reached, keeping in mind that there is always a percentage of people who will be dissatisfied (the margin is 5-10%).
Thermal comfort is made up of operating temperature, air speed and humidity. In the case of temperature, the recommended temperature in summer for air conditioning is between 23°and 26°C, while in winter, the heating season, it is between 20°and 24°C. With these temperatures you get comfortable and, if it stays within these ranges, it allows you to save on energy consumption and reduce monthly expenses. In addition, the company will be more sustainable, since CO2 emissions will be reduced.
To maintain these temperatures in the work environment and make efficient use of energy, the following recommendations can be followed:
- Turn off the air conditioning or heating when not in use or reduce its intensity if the space is empty for a long time.
- Perform periodic reviews and maintenance of air conditioning systems.
- Install temperature regulation thermostats, improving comfort and saving more energy.
- Choose breathable and light clothing in summer, adapting it to the ambient temperature.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature in the workspace. It must be done gradually to increase the useful life of electrical appliances and avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
- Install insulation systems in walls, floors and ceilings with the appropriate materials to prevent the entry of cold or heat from the outside.
- Regulate the temperature throughout the day. The body and environmental temperature changes throughout the day, varying the sensation of cold and heat. It is important to adapt the temperature within the recommended ranges.
- Organize the work space ensuring that the air conditioning or heating equipment does not directly affect the body of the workers, thus avoiding headaches, throat ailments, dizziness…
As for humidity, at room temperature it should be between 30 and 70% but, with air conditioning, it should not be less than 50%.
Finally, the air speed must not exceed 0.1 meters per second.
These are the recommendations of the INSST, but in the legislative field, Royal Decree 107/2007 approved that the values provided by the RITE (Regulation of Thermal Installations in Buildings) were those that were in accordance with the occupational risk prevention law.
According to the RITE, the recommended operating temperature is:
- In summer, between 23°and 25°C (vs. 23° and 27°C according to the INSST)
- In winter, between 21°and 23°C(vs 17°c and 24°C according to the INSST).
- The marked relative humidity is between 45-60% in summer and between 40-50% in winter.
- The air speed must be less than 0.2 meters per second.
Despite the fact that the marked values vary, the optimal thing would be to stay within the threshold accepted by both organizations so as not to breach either of them. In addition, this guarantees the safety, health and care of workers.