The use of personal ventilation in open plan offices: a study of the TASK AIR system
Authors: Drake, Dr Scott
This paper presents preliminary findings of a study into the impact and effectiveness of Personal Ventilation (PV) in open plan offices. PV is a generic descriptor for desk- or workstation-mounted air-conditioning registers that deliver conditioned air directly to the breathing zone of office workers. PV systems have the potential to improve occupant comfort by increasing individual control over air conditioning outlets as well as by improving indoor air quality at the point of use. They may also have the potential to reduce energy use by reducing the amount of conditioned air delivered to a workspace. While there are some laboratory-based studies available for PV systems, no published data is currently available for field applications of this technology. This paper is based on a study carried out in association with an Australian furniture manufacturer which has developed a PV system integrated with an office workstation known as ‘Task Air’. The workstation uses the inside of the panels as a plenum space for delivering conditioned air to eyeball-style vents located in front of the user. The current study is based upon an office fit-out of 140 Task Air workstations for a government department in Brisbane, housed within a typical modernist style office block. The study consists of measurements of temperature differentials across a number of workstations, as well as questionnaires distributed to occupants regarding comfort levels and frequency of use of the PV outlets. The findings will be used to develop further research into impact and effectiveness of PV as an alternative to traditional air-conditioning systems.