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News ID: 14174
Iran » Iran
Publish Date: 16:21 - 14 October 2017
TEHRAN, October 14 - Iranian researchers in the University of Concordia have developed an algorithm that could end office thermostat wars, with the new software can find the best temperature for everyone.

Iranian researchers develop software able to find the best temperature for everyone in officesTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -  It's a common occurrence in offices - one person will find it too hot, while the other will find it too cold.

Workers will often argue over the temperature at which the thermostat is set.

However, researchers at Concordia University may have found a solution to this problem: A system that automates the control of indoor environmental conditions and optimizes both individual workers' productivity and energy consumption.

How it works

Researchers at Concordia University have designed a system that optimizes indoor environmental conditions including air quality, temperature and lighting based on the preferences of each office worker, while also optimizing energy consumption.

The researchers tested their approach in an open-air Montreal office building with five zones, and four occupants per zone.

They tested different office occupancy scenarios, outdoor weather conditions and took into account employees' temperature tolerance.

Then, they created a mathematical model of the preferences of each office worker to simulate worker preferred indoor temperatures, ventilation rates, natural light and artificial lighting based on sensors places throughout the office.

Under the researchers' model, they managed to reduce energy costs and increase workers' productivity.

The system optimizes indoor environmental conditions including air quality, temperature and lighting based on the preferences of each office worker.

'Improving the quality of the office-building environment impacts the comfort of employees, which in turn influences their productivity,' says Hashem Akbari, professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the co-author of the study, who conducted the study with Farhad Mofidi, a recent PhD graduate in building engineering.

The researchers tested their approach in an open-air Montreal office building with five zones, and four occupants per zone.

They tested different office occupancy scenarios, outdoor weather conditions and took into account employees' temperature tolerance.

Then, they created a mathematical model of the preferences of each office worker to simulate worker preferred indoor temperatures, ventilation rates, natural light and artificial lighting based on sensors places throughout the office.

'We considered several parameters, including energy exchange processes across the building, sets of indoor and outdoor environmental parameters, energy prices, indoor air quality, occupants' activities and personalized thermal and visual preferences,' said Mofidi.

'The proposed method is able to act as the brain behind the decision-making system of a cloud-based energy management platform.'

Under the researchers' model, they managed to reduce energy costs and increase workers' productivity.

The method they suggest is capable of improving the productivity of employees by up to $1,000 per year per person, assuming a productivity rate of $20 per hour.

This is also in alignment with a 2011 study which estimated that economic benefits of $17 to $26 billion can be achieved annually by improving indoor environmental quality of office buildings across the US.

By contrast, buildings where comfort conditions are controlled at a group- or zone-level risk neglecting occupants’ individual temperature preferences which can cause productivity losses.

 

 

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