A Building is Only as Flexible as the Installations it Houses
The growth in flexible working has seen the way organizations utilize workspace radically evolve. Enabled by technology and fueled by the changing attitudes of businesses, co-working is a phenomenon that is leading to profound changes in the sector. The development of one of the biggest unicorns, multibillion dollar company, WeWork, is testament to that. In response to this growing trend, commercial real estate is seeing a seismic shift towards the provision of workspace as a service. The provision of “flex space” continues to expand to meet the demand, but how can buildings be truly flexible if the facilities installed within them aren’t?
Air conditioning being a case in point. Once an overhead ceiling air conditioning system is installed, it is not possible to easily reposition the fans ducts and chilled beams, or is very time consuming, disruptive and expensive to do. Therefore, if an office space is reworked, this may mean that desks are now directly underneath the fans or diffusers providing discomfort to those below.
British company, AET Flexible Space, is a pioneer of under-floor air conditioning (UfAC) solutions that offer complete flexibility. Modular in their design, equipment is installed at floor level making it easy to install, maintain and rearrange. The AET Fantiles can be easily relocated, offering huge savings in both time and equipment when reconfiguring office space and creating far higher user comfort and satisfaction.
The One Benjamin development in Farringdon, London decided to use AET’s flexible UfAC system over its three floors of premium office space, rather than the originally proposed downflow system.
One Benjamin selected AET’s most flexible system, the CAM-V, which makes use of the raised floor void as a plenum for the distribution of supply air, whilst receiving return air back to the CAM unit at ceiling or high level. With a CAM-V system, there is a considerable amount of flexibility in where the fantiles can be placed, allowing for easy reconfiguration depending on the particular needs or layout of an office.
For maximum flexibility, each fantile is supplied with onboard Fanspeed and Set Point adjustment, but in meeting rooms and cellular space, AET offers Flextouch™ wall-mounted controllers, which allow users not only to adjust the fan speed and temperature, but also CO2 and humidity monitoring and control.
Overall, AET was able to provide One Benjamin with a high-performing and flexible air conditioning system, which was more suited to its needs than the originally proposed downflow system. The building was completed in July 2019 for the Girdlers Worshipful Company and is now beginning to rent its office space and residential units.
With demand continuing to increase, workplace occupiers continue to reassess the way they use office space and this demand looks set to expand outside of the primary global city based markets due to the fact both commercial real estate rates and the cost of living escalates.
“Corporate organizations are seeking more agile workspaces and our flexible solutions are absolutely ideal to support this trend,” said Glan Blake Thomas, CEO at AET. “Our bespoke plug and play fantiles can be easily repositioned to sort any manner of office layout. In addition, our solutions are sustainable by design, which is also an important factor to many modern businesses. AET solutions use little or no ductwork and, therefore, individual zones operate at very low-pressure encouraging energy efficiency. AET’s UfAC systems offer up to 30% savings in energy costs and around 29% reduction in C02 emissions when compared to ceiling systems.”