Tips, Tricks & Tech Bits

  • The Tech Bit: Energy Gets Agile

    Agile workplaces, also known as Activity Based Working, are becoming more prevalent within tenancies that value its flexibility and smaller spatial footprint.

    The reduced space requirement leads to two considerations in a NABERS Rating:

    • Work point density: Agile workplaces are generally more dense and a work point per 11 m2 is common.
    • Work point utilisation: Agile workplaces generally have a higher work point utilisation, seeing over 80% in comparison to 65% to a conventional office.

    NABERS conducted a study on a couple of operating agile workplaces to model the difference in actual impact on Base Building and Tenancy ratings between a conventional office with assigned work points against an agile office.

     

    Base Building Ratings

    A default building model was constructed with a conventional office layout and compared to:

    • A high occupancy agile model, representing a dense, high work point utilisation space. The average and median differences were -0.02 stars.
    • A zero load occupancy model, which assumed a zero heat load from occupants and equipment to model the maximum sensitivity of occupant and equipment heat loads. The average difference was 0.12 stars and the median difference 0.18 stars.

    This provides evidence that tenant density has minimal impact on the base building energy rating.

    The following chart shows the differences in the varying cities:

    NABERS Tips Trick & Tech Bits

     

    Tenancy Ratings

    A default tenancy model was constructed with a conventional office layout and compared to a high occupancy agile model, representing a dense, high work point utilisation space. The agile model improved the rating by an average and median of 1.2 and 1.1 stars respectively.

    This improvement is due to:

    • Laptops/tablets using less power than desktop computers
    • Fewer peripheral devices
    • Lower overnight base load as laptops are packed away overnight

    The following chart shows the differences in the varying cities:

    NABERS Tips Trick & Tech Bits

     

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  • The Tech Bit: Counting Computers in an Agile Environment

    Agile working presents a challenge when it comes to counting computers.

    The computer count in the office energy whole building and tenancy ratings are a proxy for equipment loads within the office. This is used to adjust the energy use for equipment density to produce a comparable rating.

    The current rules are designed for conventional office space with assigned workstations. A computer can be counted when it is not currently in use if there is indirect evidence, such as personal effects and in-trays with files on the desk. This provides the Assessor with flexibility to visit the space to count computers at times of low occupancy and obtain a meaningful equipment load.

    Agile workplaces lack this indirect evidence when a work point is not in use. The study into agile work places found the current count suitable when taken between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm. This is based on an hourly computer count compared to live occupancy data. During these times, the computer count of an agile work space was representative to obtain a meaningful equipment load.

    The conclusion of the study is THAT the current computer count method is suitable, however it is more restrictive on when an assessor conducts a count for it to be representative.

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