It’s been a tough winter for me. The skies over London have been especially grey… I’ve started calling it Tupperware skies because it happens to be the same color as Tupperware. And being a bit of a sun worshipper, my sunny disposition has eluded me lately. So when I was asked to attend a couple of meetings in Phoenix and in LA, I jumped at the idea.
On my first morning in Phoenix which happened to be yesterday, I got up at 4:30 AM (thanks to jet lag), did a couple of hours of work, and decided to look out the windows to see whether I should wear a coat or not to the office. And low and behold what did I see in the sky? Something bright yellow and utterly glorious… it was the sun. I quickly got dressed and ran downstairs so I could get a few minutes of sun before going into the meeting. The sun was nice and warm but the temperature was in the 40s. Brrrr… After a few minutes I went back inside (albeit reluctantly) and took refuge in a meeting room by the window. I had forgotten that it gets warm in Phoenix even during the winter and after a couple of hours the temperature outside had risen to about 70 degrees. That’s when I realized that the room had gotten uncomfortably stuffy and warm. Since we couldn’t open any windows (the building seems to be hermetically sealed), we turned up the air conditioning system. After about 10 minutes everyone started complaining of the cold. And that’s when the cycle of turning up/turning down the temperature started …
I know this problem is not unique… a lot of buildings have this issue. It really is a shame that builders spend hundreds of thousands if not millions on constructing an architecturally cool building shell. Then they end up splitting that space into “living” or “working” chunks. While ensuring airflow within an open structure is not that big of a deal, when you add walls and cubicles, these additions disrupt the flow of cooling/warming air.
This issue is not unique in just buildings… I have seen (felt) this same issue in any kind of an enclosed space – it is even present in our fantastically massive rental SUV. It is either cold or hot. No in between. I guess you could always go for brute force and pump massive amounts of air but in an era when we are looking for more efficient ways of cooling/heating spaces, this is not really a good idea.
If you are involved in the design of any kind of space and are concerned about occupant comfort, I would like to invite you to attend a free web presentation titled: Planes, trains and automobiles: Cabin comfort using CFD. The two presenters are two of my favourites – both Andy and Alex are fantastic and routinely deal with these issues. So I’m sure you’ll learn a lot from them. If you’d like to sign-up for the session, please follow this link. Hope to see you there.
Until next time,
PS. The answer to the question from my last post was A.