Enhance the future

Enhance the future

By the time you are reading this almost half of 2023 will have flashed by. It’s incredible how time speeds up as you get older. How is the year progressing for you?

As I’ve stated previously, I consider last year to have been a year of transition to the “new normal” (whatever that is) following the COVID era.

It is very encouraging to see life returning  to normal, with people out and about doing their everyday things.

So, what is the new normal for everyone, particularly in the workplace? Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, initiatives such as activity-based working  were impacting the way in which commercial office space was being used.

Post-pandemic life is a brave new world, with new horizons and expectations. Will we ever return to a working environment where the majority of office-based staff are working in the office full time? Many have doubts.

“Will we ever return to a working environment where the majority of office‑based staff are working in the office
full time?

And how will this impact the demand for commercial office space, because this will indirectly affect the need for HVAC&R plant and equipment? Given the higher expectations of employees, I suspect that there will be an increase in retrofitting and upgrading of systems and plant to improve the working environment. Associated with this will be a focus on improved indoor air quality and better filtration as well as increased outside air quantities. This of course  leads to further plant upgrades to manage the increased load.

Not only does this apply to commercial office space, it also impacts healthcare. Ultimately, we must improve the interior environment in many healthcare facilities in order to enhance infection control. Again, HVAC has a leading role to play in this.

Hospitality and entertainment facilities are also affected because the public are now even more aware of the need for better indoor air quality. And because of media reporting related to the pandemic, everyone knows what a HEPA filter is these days.

This is a nice segue into the AIRAH Indoor Air Quality Conference coming to Brisbane in July. I am heading there this year, and I would encourage those working in this space to attend.

I will leave you with an interesting statement, I recently came across, and which got me thinking:

“When people think about travelling to the past in films, they worry about accidentally changing the present by doing something small in the past. But few people think that they can radically change the future by doing something small in the present.”

Let’s all try to do something (big or small) to enhance the future.

Paul Jackson, F.AIRAH
AIRAH President


This article appears in ecolibrium’s May 2023 issue

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