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Occupancy Data for Energy Efficiency Post-COVID

Occupancy Data for Energy Efficiency Post-COVID
01 December 2021

In a world where buildings are responsible for up to 39 per cent of CO2 emissions, sustainable use of office space and reducing environmental costs ought to be embedded within organisations’ CSR policies.

Furthermore, the costs of running a business are diverse, ranging from the mundane day to day operational costs to long term strategic expenses. Real estate and related costs are high up on this list, accounting for a substantial share of a company’s expenditure. Reducing the energy required to run offices means a drastically reduced operational cost. 

That’s the opinion of Yodit Stanton, CEO & Founder at OpenSensors. In this opinion piece, Yodit explains how ensuring the efficient use of space in the office means considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the host of new elements it has introduced. 

Yodit has designed and built large scale data systems for various sectors and has played a key role in leading development teams to run critical trading and machine learning infrastructure for FTSE500 companies such as Deutsche Bank, Man Investments, Nomura and Lehman Brothers. With over two decades of experience as a Data and Machine Learning Engineer, Yodit specialises in predictive modelling for real-time systems, social network analysis and middleware development.


"An inevitable hybrid work environment, which has emerged to accommodate all these needs, means that offices will be vacant sporadically, requiring accurate data on space utilisation in order to meet sustainability and efficiency goals." 



Picture: a photograph of Yodit Stanton



COVID-19 and Changing Work Patterns 


Currently, ensuring the efficient use of space in the office means considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the host of new elements it has introduced. 

Health protocols now necessitate a different way of using space, and along with it should come a fitting approach for sustainable workspace utilisation.

As we start to navigate the return to work, the seemingly daunting task of measuring, monitoring and predicting the energy demands of the workspace can be made simple through technology like occupancy and booking engines.  

The pandemic has changed the way we function in more ways than one. As physical distancing protocols led to a rise in remote work and Activity Based Working, the slow return to work now requires more organisation than before. Ensuring adherence to physical distancing in the office, synchronising the use of workspace between employees, and supervising cleaning rotations are some of the tasks at hand for businesses. 

An inevitable hybrid work environment, which has emerged to accommodate all these needs, means that offices will be vacant sporadically, requiring accurate data on space utilisation in order to meet sustainability and efficiency goals. 

Occupancy sensors help fill in this gap by providing data on what part of the office is being utilised by employees as they weave in and out of the office based on their tasks and needs. The reports provide insight on where employees are spending their time and aid predictions on what is required from the office. 

Decision-makers can then make accurate calculations of what spaces need tending to in terms of cooling, heating, and cleaning. As nearly 30 per cent of building-related carbon emissions come from heating alone, this is one way businesses can address their corporate social responsibility. 

Alongside managing the day to day energy demands placed on office space, workplace data can assist businesses plan their long term strategy in an environmentally conscious manner. Understanding the demands placed on office space by various teams enables Facilities and HR teams to create employee-centric workplaces, minimising the time assets go unused, and thus avoiding unnecessary and expensive office expansions as the space available is used to its full potential.


Preparing for the Future With Occupancy Data


The pandemic has ushered in a hyper-vigilant state of hygiene and cleanliness. A well organised and efficient cleaning regiment will not only reduce costs but enhance employee confidence in the return to work.

Technology like booking engines are available for employees to book and plan their work schedules in the offices. This provides accurate data on workspace utilisation making cleaning spaces before and after usage a precise science. 

Additionally, occupancy and booking insights can provide the necessary data not just to monitor energy consumption but make instant changes based on real-time data. Sensors and related technology can help reduce emissions by up to 10 per cent globally through addressing passive heating and cooling of spaces.

Making changes to operations to ensure sustainability thus dictate that businesses turn to the data behind what energy is consumed by the buildings they occupy.

As the number of buildings grows at an alarming rate, your business can plan for a high performance and low energy workspace using occupancy and booking engines designed to give you a full picture of energy utilisation in your workspace.

Picture: a photograph of three people working in an office at work desks

Article written by Yodit Stanton | Published 01 December 2021


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