As energy prices reach all-time highs, businesses are seeking to reduce their energy use as well as their carbon footprint. Dr Sepideh Korsavi’s collaborative research project helped Devon-based Totus to reduce their energy consumption whilst improving the indoor environmental quality of their workspaces.
In collaboration with staff at Totus, Dr Sepideh Korsavi undertook research to understand how the company might reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. She visited their offices and recorded over 6000 items of data including changes in temperature, carbon dioxide and particle matter. She also surveyed the occupants’ on their comfort levels and asked them to wear wristbands with analytical sensors.
Totus is a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering specialist firm with offices in Devon and Cornwall. They focus on innovation, healthcare, renewables, and sustainability. They are working towards being net zero by 2040 and have mapped this process in a net zero roadmap and are already making good progress through the early stages of the roadmap.
Dr Sepideh Korsavi was the Low Carbon Devon project's Industrial Research Fellow for energy-efficient buildings. She is interested in buildings' sustainable design, maintenance and performance. Her work has been centred around reducing carbon emissions by improving the energy efficiency of buildings whilst also improving the indoor environmental quality for the building’s occupants.
Through the European Regional Development Fund supported Low Carbon Devon project, Dr Korsavi worked with enterprises to use their office and energy data to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor quality. Her research at the Totus office considered the office occupants’ thermal comfort temperature and whether the heating setpoint temperature could be reduced. She also helped the team at Totus to understand the importance of indoor environmental quality for staff health and productivity and how to make adjustments to improve staff wellbeing.
What was the outcome?
Upon completion of the research, Dr Korsavi provided the enterprise with a comprehensive report, advising on the optimal setpoint temperature for heating and cooling their office spaces during heating and non-heating seasons. This recommendation is based on the particular conditions of the office setting along with feedback taken from the building occupants at different times of day and in different weathers. The adjustment will help to reduce their energy use and over the course of a year will add up to savings in their energy bill.
The report also gave the team at Totus further recommendations to maximise indoor environmental quality through optimising factors such as temperature, air quality and light levels. Creating the optimal conditions for building occupants has been shown to support staff wellbeing and productivity. Her recommendations also covered adaptive behaviours such as opening windows for fresh air and taking walks at the optimal time to reduce sluggishness when the indoor temperature and carbon dioxide levels rise.
Sarah Woodward, Quality & Compliance Manager at Totus says:
"This was an interesting study for our staff members, gaining awareness of how improving our working environment can benefit productivity and create a more comfortable atmosphere to work in."
The research collaboration with the Low Carbon Devon project has given Totus insight into the latest research on how to create healthy and low carbon spaces with recommendations tailored to their particular office space. Totus have implemented Dr Sepideh's recommendations into their Race to Net Zero action plan which sets out the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint up to 2040. Many of Totus' clients are also working on their own net zero plans and Totus can now share what they have learnt in the service they provide to clients.