With heat-related illness on the rise, how can you minimise its effects on your workers?

Avoid the heat with Locker Group’s Atmosphere facade


As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, more businesses are looking for ways both to reduce their carbon footprint and avoid the increasing cost of energy. Incorporating Locker Group’s Atmosphere facade into your building is a way to minimise the impact of both and look after your workers in the process.

The silent killer

In its report ‘The Silent Killer: Climate Change and the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat’ the Australian Climate Council warns about the threat this phenomenon poses to Australians’ health in terms of heat-related illnesses. Since 1890, the deaths caused by heat  waves outweigh the combined total of those caused by earthquakes, floods, cyclones, bush fires and severe storms combined. Record-hot days have doubled in Australia since 1960, and the intensity of heat  waves is increasing. Ensuring your buildings are climate controlled is an obvious way to alleviate the effects of heat  waves on your staff, at least while they’re at work, but HVAC systems are expensive – and powering them may be increasingly unreliable.

Climate change increases the dangers of heat related illnesses.Climate change increases the dangers of heat-related illnesses.

Power price woes

In a recent report, independent think tank the Grattan Institute looked at South Australia’s unexpected spike in electricity prices this July. Over the month, prices averaged AU$230 per megawatt hour – more than triple that in Eastern states – and peaked on the seventh at $9,000 per megawatt hour. An unfortunate combination of low wind, closed coal plants and the temporary lack of a backup electricity connection meant that the state was relying almost entirely on gas for its power generation, leading to a huge price surge.

Around 40 per cent of South Australia’s electricity comes from wind, which is, by its nature, variable and inconsistent. And while the other contributing factors were inconveniently timed, they weren’t implausibly rare. Its analysis lead the Grattan Institute to conclude that we shouldn’t take power for granted – the wholesale electricity market as it currently stands may not be as secure as we would like.

The wholesale electricity market may not be as secure as we would like.

A step towards a solution: Energy-efficient buildings

You can’t rely on air conditioning if the power’s gone, so many business are looking to architectural solutions to maintain a comfortable temperature for staff. Buildings that make use of natural sunlight and airflow for their heating, cooling and ventilation needs will by extension rely less on electricity-run HVAC systems. This has the complimentary benefits of both reducing money spent on electricity while also reducing your business’s carbon footprint. A way to achieve this is to incorporate screening media such as Locker Group’s Atmosphere facade into your architecture.

Atmosphere facade

Atmosphere facade is an effective solution to the problem of how to make the most of sunlight without being overwhelmed by it. There are a range of options both for appearance and function that let you customise the product to your specific needs. Atmosphere is a facade made out of angled perforated panels floating from the building envelope on tensioned steel cables. These can be arranged in different configurations depending on whether the focus is heat reduction, maximising visibility or minimising glare. On a typical Melbourne building, having Atmosphere installed in its E2 configuration can lead to energy cost savings of 45 per cent per year (covering heating, cooling and ventilation).

Atmosphere achieves the balance of reducing heat and glare without cutting out natural light, and can be incorporated into a new building or retrofitted to an existing structure to increase its energy efficiency. Pic-Perf panels, which let you print an image onto the metal with perforated holes, can be added for a unique aesthetic appeal.

Get in touch today if you’d like to talk about how Locker Group can help you make your building cooler and more sustainable.

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