Thermal comfort, “smart” buildings, co-working

What’s driving the next generation of facilities and workplaces?

Did you know that after just one hour of sitting, 90 per cent of our fat-burning enzymes stop working and our bodies start to hibernate and shut down? Or that occupants of naturally ventilated buildings are more tolerant of their thermal environment, despite experiencing significantly warmer temperatures than those in air-conditioned spaces? These are just some of the compelling topics that will be covered at the 2017 Total Facilities event, being held at the new state of the art International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney in Darling Harbour from March 29 – 30.

Total Facilities is the country’s largest dedicated Facility Management (FM) event for facilities and like-minded professionals. A key part of the event is the powerful, free-to-attend speaker series – and this year’s line up is a powerhouse of innovation. It features a range of FM and workplace experts covering a myriad of topics – from thermal comfort, the challenges of introducing “smart” into buildings, the growing awareness of wellness in the workplace, co-working as a sustainable workplace solution to how much further the built environment commercial sector needs to go in reducing its environmental impact.

“This exhibition and education program reflects the evolutionary nature of our industry,” says Andrew Lawson, Total Facilities Event Manager. “Today it’s about integrating the built assets of real estate and facilities with technology and other solutions to meet the needs of building owners and occupiers.  It is the role of a facility manager to ensure the proper operation of all aspects of a building to create a healthy, safe and cost-effective environment in which tenants can function.”

Is it hot in here? Or is it just me?

The keynote speaker at Total Facilities will be the world’s leading expert on thermal comfort, Professor Richard de Dear, Director of Sydney University’s Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Lab. He has focused his research career on defining what occupants want and need from their built environments, and assessing the performance of buildings in terms of meeting those requirements. His recent research features his adaptive model of thermal comfort in naturally ventilated buildings.

“Searching for thermal pleasure may not make the priority list for employers or staff, but an optional thermal temperature in an office has transformative potential in terms of wellbeing and productivity,” says Professor de Dear. “Research findings on air movement enhancement informs recommendations for air conditioned and naturally ventilated buildings.”

Richard will be accompanied by the aptly named “Laura Palmer”, a life-sized mannequin who is instrumental to Richard’s work. Laura provides assistance to the rigorous scientific methods which measure thermal comfort. She is invaluable to ongoing investigations into improving the quality of internal environments in buildings where we spend over 90 per cent of our day-to-day lives.

With the wellbeing of people in the workplace, Kirsty Angerer, global ergonomics expert at Humanscale, will join a number of experts in debating the growing requirement for the FM industry to address health and wellbeing in commercial buildings and tenancies.

“Fruit bowls and gym memberships are a good starting point, but we need to do more in terms of wellness programs,” says Kirsty. “Companies measure lost time due to injury and illness, but how many measure lost time due to ‘discomfort’ and people seeking medical assistance (physios, chiros etc) due to being in pain or feeling uncomfortable? Everyday simple strategies can be implemented across the office to help reduce fatigue and improve posture.”

Other headliners at this year’s Total Facilities speaker series include:

  • Libby Sander, respected thought leader on corporate agility, performance and workplace design, who will be sharing her ideas on co-working as generational fad or a sustainable workplace solution;
  • Kate Harris, CEO – Good Environmental Choice Australia will join with Tony Arnel, Global Director Sustainability for Norman Disney & Young to consider how much further the built environment commercial sector needs to go in reducing its environmental impact; and
  • Paul Edwards, GM Workplace Experiences – Mirvac, and James Armstrong, National Director, Workplace Management Services at Colliers International, who will look at meeting the demands of the evolving workplace.

“Facility management is no longer about reactive activities such as fixing equipment or changing lightbulbs, rather FM has become an integral part of the business world,” says Andrew Lawson. “That’s what Total Facilities is all about – showcasing the industry insights, trends and strategies, not to mention innovative new products, all of which are designed to help drive business performance and user productivity through world-class FM. Design, technology and the coordination of work are conspiring to drive how workspaces are created.”