An office is typically a shared space where multiple people spend their day working. In order for workers to be efficient and comfortable in their workspace, certain standards for temperature and humidity levels must be met. With this in mind, we need to determine exactly what the actual standards for temperature and humidity levels in an office setting are, and more importantly, what the ideal settings would be for a given office environment.
Thermal comfort is a term that applies to the level of comfort a person feels at the office which corresponds to the indoor temperature and humidity levels. When a person has thermal comfort, it means they are wearing a normal amount of clothing without feeling too cold or too warm. Every employee at an office has the right to thermal comfort at work. With that in mind, it is necessary to discuss what temperatures and humidity levels can adequately provide thermal comfort to office workers. There is no official temperature that defines exactly what temperature and humidity levels you should keep your office set at, but there are plenty of guidelines that will help you get in the ballpark.
Generally, an office temperature will vary throughout the year, according to the weather outside. When it is cold outside, it is typical for indoor temperatures to be lowered slightly. When this happens, however, it can cause humidity levels to drop, meaning you’ll have to account for this discrepancy if you want to ensure office occupants are moderately comfortable. When the outdoor temperatures get hotter during summer, it is natural for people to keep the office temperature slightly higher than usual. A good starting point for indoor temperatures is around 21 to 22 degrees Celsius. There are other factors that can affect people’s comfort levels however. Recent studies have shown that some women prefer a slightly warmer indoor temperature, ranging around 25 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, most men prefer a slightly cooler temperature compared to the average woman, usually around 22 degrees.
Many people are often more focused on temperature levels at the office, but humidity levels can have just as much impact on comfort and daily productivity. Too much humidity can cause significant discomfort caused by excessive perspiration and a feeling of sluggishness. Too little humidity can be just as discomforting, leading to problems breathing. For the most part, an optimum humidity level ranges between 40-60%, but at minimum should be kept at least between 30-70%.
Recommended Office Temperature Levels in Canada
Canadians are fortunate to live in a country that sees four seasons each year. As a result, we are often switching between a range of indoor temperatures at home and at the office as the seasons change. In a city like Vancouver, which sees a more moderate climate compared to the rest of the country, these changes may not be as drastic, but as we discussed above, even a slight change in indoor temperature and humidity levels can have a drastic impact on a person’s thermal comfort at work. In summer, the best temperature to keep employees comfortable will range between 23 to 26 degrees Celsius, with an optimum temperature of 24.5 degrees. In winter, that temperature falls slightly to a range of 20 to 23.5 degrees Celsius, with an optimum temperature of 22 degrees. These temperatures when coupled with a relative humidity of 50% are viewed as the ideal setting to ensure universal thermal comfort at work.
Determining what temperature and humidity level to maintain at your office can go a long way towards improving employee thermal comfort and overall productivity. With that in mind, every office is different. There are other factors that influence temperature and humidity such as air flow, air velocity from vents, individual metabolic rates and radiant temperature sources such as windows and floors. If you take all of these factors into account, you will likely be able to come up with the ideal office temperature and humidity level for winter and summer.
To learn more about how you can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems at the office, be sure to contact the friendly HVAC experts at Lillie Family Heating and Plumbing today.