Too cold, too hot, stale recirculated air, no conference rooms available—the woes of office life are familiar. These daily pains cost companies billions in lost productivity as spaces don’t match employee needs and cognitive function declines with poor air quality and thermal comfort. Improving air quality in offices can improve productivity by 10%, equating to $162 billion per year across all US office workers based on national average wages.  Estimates for healthcare savings from improved indoor air quality in offices range from $17 billion to $40 billion per year, which does not account for benefits to quality of life–the vast majority of adults in the US spend more than 40 hours a week in an office.

Offices need to deliver for the needs of the people inside, but they don’t need to waste resources to do so. Less than 60% of office space is actually used. Increasing space utilization by 5% by right-sizing office space requirements would save US companies $34 billion annually (based on average rent). Overventilation when occupancy is low accounts for excess energy use of 16% or $6.4 billion per year in the US alone. The first step to solving these problems is to provide visibility into how spaces are being used and how air conditioning systems are performing.

URBAN-X Cohort company Envairo tackles this challenge helping offices maximize employee productivity while minimizing real estate operating costs.


This thought piece has been put together by the URBAN-X team; with research support from Felix Keser and Adrian Dahlin.

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