This autumn and winter can be a special period for office tenants and operators, because due to the expected increase in energy prices and energy supply challenges, building management decisions and improvements that increase energy efficiency are needed.
The HuGBC WELL Working Group (1) with the involvement of experts created a healthy workstation concept that can revolutionize the ventilation and comfort of offices operating in new and existing buildings. Our goal was to create a workstation prototype that increases the comfort of the person working in the office in such a way that the office uses less energy to ensure adequate ventilation.
During occupant experience surveys, in the case of ceiling ventilation, users often complain that the ventilation at their workstations is not adequate. The driver’s seat of many cars provides the individual with higher comfort and more control options than their office workstation, even though they spend 6-8 hours a day at the latter. According to WHO data, poor air quality is responsible for the deaths of 7 million people every year, i.e. one in eight deaths worldwide. (2) Due to the energy crisis, it is expected that outdoor air quality will deteriorate in Hungary as well, since in the fall of 2022 many people will turn to wood burning or mixed burning instead of gas heating. The increase in outdoor air pollution gives a greater role to intake air filtration and artificial ventilation. In addition, according to ITM (Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Hungary) research, 95% of coronavirus outbreaks occurred in closed spaces and the spread was dominated by respiratory droplets, but aerosol formation also played a role. (3) Because of these factors, it has become timely to bring fresh air into the space near the user instead of mixed ventilation.
THE CONCEPT OF A HEALTHY WORKSTATION WITH WELL FEATURES
The Hungarian Green Building Council has a WELL Working Group since 2019. Members of the working group decided early in 2022 to call to life a workstation prototype that demonstrates the most important features of the WELL Building Standard. While working on the concept of the prototype energy prices hit new records in Hungary and have been increasing rapidly since. In this situation, personalized ventilation came into view not only because of health and safety issues but energy-efficiency concerns. This is why the ventilation concept became the most important of the six demonstrated concepts. However this is no surprise for us, as premium indoor air quality has been the core feature of the WELL Certification both in version v1 and v2.
The WELL Working Group with the help of partners created a workstation prototype that was first presented at Bánáti+Hartvig Architect Studio at the World Green Building Week in September 2022. Green Walk participants and visitors could try and test the workstation for two weeks at this first station. Since then the WELL Comfort Workstation has been relocated biweekly to different locations. During the three demonstration months more than 300 people could gain first-hand experiences about this innovative workplace solution.
At the demonstration workstation, we present six solutions that support healthier workplaces. The basis of the recommendations is the International WELL Building StandardTM, which is becoming increasingly popular in Hungary. (4)
6 recommendations of the HuGBC WELL Comfort workstation (HuGBC)
The WELL Comfort workstation at the Green Building Week (foto credit Regina Kurucz)
The WELL Comfort workstation at the Green Building Week (foto credit Regina Kurucz)
Personalized comfort with personalized control (Ahrend)
1. SIT-STAND DESK
Sitting for long periods of time is a health risk. One of the most significant trends in the field of healthy work habits is the use of sit/stand workstations. To obtain the WELL certification, at least 25% of the workstations must have sit-stand workstations. If at least half of the workstations are like this, an additional 1 point can be obtained, and over 90% 2 points.(5)
The Comfort workstation from the Ahrend Balance collection is designed to fit perfectly into any work environment. Everything on this desk can be fully customized, for example, it can be easily adjusted electronically for sitting-standing work, and the forearms and hands can be kept warm with the heating panel built into the tabletop.
Learn more about the height-adjustable desk that keeps you moving: https://www.ahrend.com/en/collection/desks/balance-comfort/
Sit-stand desk (Ahrend)
2. FRESH AIR SUPPLY BUILT INTO THE DESK
Personalized ventilation represents a new era of ventilation technology, which is efficient, energy-saving and safe at the same time. The WELL certification recommends that at least half of the workstations be supplied with fresh air in this way. In order to avoid drafts, the maximum air speed is 0.25 m/s and the extraction is ensured at a minimum height of 2.80 meters. (6)
The air technology integrated into the AHREND Balance Comfort table allows air to be filtered directly before it is brought to the user. With the help of the air inlet on the table top, the user can direct and regulate the fresh air coming to him.
Air inlet integrated into the tabletop (Ahrend)
Air filter at point of use (Ahrend)
3. INTELLIGENT AIR CLEANING PLANT WALL
The proximity of plants has a good effect on a person’s well-being. WELL recommends that there should be no more than 10 meters of live plants, water attractions or views of nature from each workstation. (7)
The NAAVA equipment presented as part of the concept is an artificial intelligence-controlled, volatile organic compound neutralizing, airborne dust reducing, air purifying and humidifying equipment. With a living wall supported by weather satellites and sensors, WELL certification helps in several ways. Available in different sizes and capacities, the modular equipment is free of allergens, peat and potting soil. It also satisfies the needs of biophilia with its selectable plants, clean Scandinavian design with its appearance and smart buildings with its knowledge. In our healthy workstation concept, the NAAVA wall forms the boundary of the ventilation zone, thus separating the groups of users from each other in terms of ventilation, while the visual connection can be maintained.
More information about the air purifying wall: https://www.naava.io/en/
NAAVA wall (NAAVA Hungary)
4. STANDING SUPPORTS
Although continuous sitting work puts a strain on the body, standing work also has its dangers. It is best to dynamically change body positions. The WELL Building Standard recommends that standing work should be supported with at least two of four strategies. The four recommended strategies are: anti-fatigue mats, recessed toe space of at least 4 inches in depth and height, a footrest or foot rail, a sit-stand stool or high stool.(5)
At the HuGBC WELL Comfort workstation, we show examples of the anti-fatigue mats and a sit-stand stool.
Learn more about the mandatory ergonomic conditions of the WELL Building Standard here.
5. BIODYNAMIC LIGHTING
Customizable lighting that supports the human circadian rhythm is one of the important topics of the WELL Certification. The goal of WELL is to ensure that users are exposed to light in sufficient quantity and quality, and that the lighting supports people’s circadian rhythm, thereby helping, for example, human hormone balance and a restful night’s sleep. (8)
More information about biodynamic lighting here.
Biodynamic lighting (Trilux)
The supplemental lamp placed on the HuGBC WELL Comfort workstation can be controlled with the Trilux LiveLink application. After installing the application, the type of lamp can be identified with the QR code on the back of the lamp. The application can (also) control the brightness and color temperature of the downward direct and upward indirect lighting of the lamp.
6. MENTAL HEALTH WITH REGULAR MINDFULNESS EXERCISES
In order for people to be able to make the best use of the fresh air brought into the room, correct breathing techniques are also necessary. Stress and anxiety reduce the efficiency of breathing. Practicing mindfulness for even 10 minutes a day can help you recharge, refresh and put you in a more positive mood, which would also fit into your busy everyday schedule. (9)
More information about the health program: https://minder.hu/
HuGBC WELL VENTILATION CONCEPT
Elements of the HuGBC WELL Comfort workstation (HuGBC)
This is the essence of the HuGBC WELL ventilation concept:
a: underfloor air distribution (UFAD)
b:flexible air duct connecting the underfloor with the desk
c: air filter at the point of use
d:air inlet controlled by the user
e: return air diffusers
f: air purifying wall at the ventilation zone boundary
The workstation of the future must be energy-saving, comfortable and safe at the same time. The presented workstation has set these goals and offers an innovative solution, which in turn requires rethinking the comfort provided by ventilation systems and workstations. The most important element of the concept is the personalized ventilation system, the essence of which is to introduce the fresh air to where it will be used for the most part, i.e. to the breathing area of the people. This solution ensures that the user breathes clean air and regulates the way of introduction according to his/her needs.
We believe that we must provide users with the opportunity to control their individual comfort needs at least as much as in the driver’s seat of a car. The presented workstation provides many individual settings, e.g. with the sit-stand table with dynamically adjustable height, the heating panel integrated into the table top and the light source that can be adjusted to the lighting needs of the person at any given moment. The comfort can be further enhanced with air purification equipment, the proximity of plants, an acoustic panel, a flexible monitor arm and the possibility of phone charging.
Part of the team at Bánáti+Hartvig Architect Studio
Part of the team at Budapest ONE WELL Core Platinum Certified office building
Our goal is to provide adequate fresh air supply with less energy, while still increasing the user’s comfort experience. If you have questions or comments please contact Zoltán Magyar PhD or Regina Kurucz. We are looking forward to develop this concept with you.
- September 5-15. 2022. Bánáti and Hartvig Architect Studio (1117 Budapest. Fehérvári út 37.)
- September 16-30. 2022. MN6 Energy Agency (1075 Budapest, Madách Imre út 8.)
- September 30- október 14. 2022. Siemens Conference Center (1143 Budapest, Gizella út 51-57.)
- October 14. – November 4. 2022. BudapestONE lobby, next to the Café
(1112 Budapest, Balatoni út 2/a)
- November 4. – November 18. 2022. WING Zrt. (1095 Budapest, Máriássy u. 7.)
- November 18. – December 2. 2022. Budapest Airport Back Office