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Issue Date:- 23 July 2008


NORTHERN businesses are hitting themselves where it hurts – in the pocket – by spending too much on heating and cooling their premises while at the same time seeing productivity levels drop as staff struggle to work in uncomfortable temperatures.

New research from leading air conditioning supplier, Daikin UK, suggests that more than 50% of businesses in the north could be wasting thousands of pounds every year by failing to properly manage the temperatures in their workplace.

The YouGov survey of working adults from industries across the UK, including retail, leisure, health, hospitality and food and the public sector, saw 55 % of northerners complain they were either too hot or too cold at work.  The Scots proved to be the most miserable about their working environment, with 62 % of them complaining they’re too hot or too cold, while Londoners grumble least – with 46% dissatisfied with the temperature of their workplace.

“Temperature may seem a minor point, but World Health Organisation research shows that working in an environment which is too hot or too cool or which fluctuates, can have a very measurable negative impact on a business’s output,” said Mark Dyer from Daikin UK.

37% of northerners questioned agreed that investing in new combined heating and cooling technology would help improve comfort levels, with 50% agreeing that a combined system would improve energy efficiency in the workplace.  Such a move would also help reduce energy consumption, with combined heating and cooling systems more energy efficient and cost effective than separate systems. And the research suggests many businesses need to tackle energy wastage. 69% of those living in the north said their employers could do more to save energy.

“The message to organisations is to act now to cut out energy wastage, starting with temperature control technology. With energy prices anticipated to rise again before the end of the year businesses can take action now by reviewing how and where they’re using energy in their workplace,” continued Dyer.

The answer, he says, lies in investing in innovative new-generation heat pump technology, which takes heat from warm areas and redistributes it to cooler rooms and vice versa. Unlike fossil fuel systems, heat pumps extract available heat from the air rather than using energy to generate heat.  “Such a move would kill two birds with one stone – saving on energy costs, while improving conditions for staff and customers – and also see productivity and staff morale increase,” Dyer added.

Tips to help start optimising workplace temperatures:-

1. Find out what’s going on:- evaluate the workplace at different times of the day and during different seasons, to see how and when heaters and cooling equipment are working.

2. Check temperatures and times:- ask staff whether they are comfortable and how they control the heating and cooling.

3. Maintain optimum temperatures:- maintaining temperatures of between 18 - 24°C provides optimum conditions for staff and energy efficiency.

4. Invest in new technologies:- modern heat pump air conditioning technology is more cost and energy efficient than separate heating and cooling systems, as well as providing better control over workplace temperatures.

Environment faces major threat from ‘eco-apathy’ of Liverpool office workers

THE true extent of Liverpool office workers’ attitudes to the environment and company green policies was exposed in a highly revealing research study commissioned by Canon UK, world-leader in imaging technology solutions for the home and office. The research, which questioned over 1000 UK based office workers was designed to test how green we are in the workplace compared with the home and uncovered some worrying truths.

In Liverpool, just 5% of workers questioned said that they are more environmentally conscious at work compared to at home, where recycling and energy efficiency is common practice, and only 48% believe that protecting the environment during office hours is their responsibility. Interestingly, 22% feel that company bosses should shoulder the burden and 19% even went as far as saying that it should be the government, not them, which should be held accountable for polluting practices.

Worryingly, 41% of Liverpool employees say their company doesn’t have a green policy designed to reduce their environmental impact and where one does exist, 36% said that the companygreen policy it’s just for show and has no real meaning to the business and its staff. Perhaps a more telling indictment of Liverpool workers ‘eco-apathy’ is that 19% don’t even know what a green policy is. Interestingly, the results also showed that only 30% admit that they’d be happy to report a colleague for not toeing the green line, although a third of these workers would want to do this anonymously.

“The green debate is not a new one and big businesses have acknowledged the importance of a robust environmental strategy. However, these results indicate that individual employees have either not bought into their company’s policies or perhaps don’t believe they are genuine. These results do not paint a good picture in offices in Liverpool and it is shocking to see just how disinterested workers seemingly are when it comes to doing their bit to protect the environment. Every office worker needs to understand their individual impact when it comes to the environment and taking responsibility for improving company policy needs to be a collaborative effort between company bosses and staff. Without effective communication of green strategy throughout an organisation, more damage will be done than good.” says Andy Vickers, Managing Director, Canon UK & Ireland.

A clear example of how office workers are turning a cold shoulder to the environment is in the disposal of paper. The office paper mountain continues to grow despite much publicised technologies such as double sided (duplex) and secure printing. On average an office worker unnecessarily throws away 8 pages of A4 paper every day according to Canon’s research. This equates to approximately 120m pages of A4 that don’t need to be printed every day – the equivalent of 250,000 reams of paper. Despite this huge volume, only 24% of offices default their printers to duplex settings.

“As an organisation, Canon evaluates its environmental impact across all areas of the business.  It’s important that large companies lead by example and also practice what they preach. Secure printing ensures that pages are printed ‘on demand’ and accessed via swipe cards or PIN codes instead of sitting on top of the printer. This is not only much more secure, but also ensures that paper is not needlessly printed, and then thrown away. Saving paper is the one area that companies can easily address. Secure print alongside the simple switch to double-sided printing reduces unnecessary wastage and energy consumption and also saves your business money; it’s a win-win situation.” continues Vickers.

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