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It's a Struggle

Nazita Saye

Nazita Saye

Posted Aug 17, 2009

I work in an open office environment. There are about 20 of us in a big room and we have a problem. No … it is not noise. It is an airflow problem and the struggle I refer to is that of obtaining the perfect temperature for comfort.

The guy who sits right next to the temperature controls likes heat. I affectionately call him a lizard because the hotter the room, the happier he sits … just like a lizard sunning itself on  a rock. I, on the other hand, am not a hot-house flower … I function best when it’s cool. Ok I know what you’re thinking: how come he’s a lizard and I’m a flower? Quite frankly it’s my survival instinct talking. I wouldn’t think he’d be very pleased being called a flower. So if you prefer I can him the Controller.  Anyway with every heatwave we experience in London, the struggle over room temperature begins: I complain about lack of airflow and stale air while the Controller says the air in the office is perfectly fine. To keep the peace,  I usually stop pestering him, open the windows by my desk and turn on two fans in the hopes of getting some air.

That's a not-so-reasonable facsimile of me sitting in the midst of all that yellow and orange. Image courtesy of Travis Mikjaniec.

That's a not-so-reasonable facsimile of me sitting in the midst of all that yellow and orange. Image courtesy of Travis Mikjaniec.

I have toyed with the idea of using one of our CFD products, FloVENT, to model our office and to find out why we’ve got such a disparity between the two locations. After all, simulation is the fastest and easiest way of finding the root cause of this type of problem. But in the end it comes down to a case of time/priorities (yes a case of “physician, heal thyself”).

This problem had been gnawing at me until a couple of days ago when I watched a presentation made by one of my colleagues. Turns out, the model Travis used in his presentation is very close to the set-up in our office.  And yes… I’m the poor soul who sits in the corner near two sets of  windows (one to my left side and one behind me).

If you watch the presentation you’ll see that both the Controller and I are right. Where he sits he _does_ get lots of fresh air and where I sit I get the stale/hot/dirty air.  The solution is simple. I can fix the problem by adding a few air ducts and vents to my side of the office. Now if they’d only let me remodel the office, I’d be a very happy camper indeed ;-)

Until next time,

FloVENT, CFD, Airflow, Occupant Comfort

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About Nazita Saye

Nazita SayeI have been involved with the CFD user community in one shape or another since 1999 -- when the NIKA team first introduced FloWorks to the engineering community. Over the years I've seen the market evolve and I still marvel at the wide range of products that are being designed with our tools. As the Manager of External Communications for the Mechanical Analysis Division at Mentor, it is my privilege to bring some of our customer stories to you. Visit CFD doesn’t mean Color For Directors

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