A new app called Comfy is promising to put an end to uncomfortable air temperatures in office buildings. The app lets office workers decide when they'd like their area in the office space to be cooler or warmer.
One of the biggest issues in an office work environment is the temperature. This is especially the case in the summertime, when outside temperatures rise and building maintenance employees often blast the air conditioning so hard that workers inside have to wear coats and scarves just to keep warm. The opposite often occurs in winter, when overheated workers wind up sweating due to too much heat.
Building Robotics, the developers of a new app called Comfy, have designed a solution for that issue by placing the temperature control back in the hands of the people it affects most. The Comfy app allows office workers to command a burst of hot or cold air directly into the area in which they are located.
Lindsay Baker, vice president of research for the company, explained that the top complaint of office workers regarding their environment is related to temperature.
Baker said: "It's just one of those funny things. For all of the emphasis on productivity, it's an enormously important part of keeping people comfortable at work."
Office workers are able to request a 10-minute shot of hot or cold air, and eventually, the app learns what temperatures office workers prefer and automatically begins adjusting on its own. As technology allows even more precise pinpointing of a smartphone user's location, the app will become even more effective, according to Baker.
While it may appear that this could lead to energy waste, with users constantly tapping into the building's HVAC system, Baker claims that the opposite is true. Comfy gradually learns which areas of the building often go unused or are rarely occupied, and therefore require less heat or cooling.
"If you look at a typical office building, you'll probably find 40 percent to 50 percent empty space at any time," she says. "Maybe someone's in a meeting and their office is empty, or a conference room isn't being used, or a lobby space is empty. By conditioning those spaces less, we're saving an enormous amount of energy."