There are many reasons window shades make good sense. Often we focus on their benefits to the bottom line, through energy savings and reduction in the size of HVAC systems. We also discuss solar control’s impact on the health and well-being of employees. Today I wanted to share a new white paper Draper has developed entitled “Solar Control and Productivity.” In it, we explore another way shades can have an impact: worker productivity.

Productivity_CompositeSolar control solutions, including window shades, are an important part of helping increase worker productivity. To understand how, one must go back to understanding what makes a productive building, and why productivity should be a consideration in building design.

Productivity Matters
Shading systems have traditionally been presented as a way to achieve energy cost savings by using natural light and solar heat gain control to lower utility bills, and to reduce the size of HVAC and lighting systems. By far the biggest amount of money spent annually on a commercial operation, however, isn’t energy-related. It’s people-related. Wages and other workforce costs are the biggest chunk of operating expense, and it’s in this area where shading solutions can also have an impact.

According to the “Productive” section of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide, typical total life cycle costs of private sector buildings are $200 per square foot per year for salaries; $20 for amortized bricks/mortar cost; and $2 for energy. Based on those numbers, even a very small improvement in productivity can have a huge impact.

The WBDG puts forward five basic principles that are part of “productive building designs:”

  • Promote Health and Well Being;
  • Design for the Changing Workplace;
  • Integrate Technological Tools;
  • Assure Reliable Systems and Spaces; and
  • Promote Comfortable Environments.

In addition to those five basic principles, the WBDG has this to say: “Buildings can be more effective, exciting places to work, learn, and live by encouraging adaptability, improving comfort, supporting sense of community, and by providing connections to the natural environment, natural light, and view.”

To read the rest of this white paper, and to download a free PDF copy, click here.

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