workplace technologies

Workplace Technologies: Smart Workstations

We've all heard a lot about smart buildings. Now Herman Miller brings the same concept to the workstation with Energy Manager, a simple device you add to your Herman Miller systems furniture—new or retrofit—to improve its performance by saving electrical energy, 24/7. The product is the result of a recent strategic partnership between Herman Miller and Legrand, a market leader in electrical and network infrastructure solutions.

Recognizing that today's workers spend approximately 50 percent of their time away from their desks, and responding to trends to bring greater user control to the workstation, Energy Manager essentially recognizes when power is needed at the work area and when it is not. Each unit—which can be mounted inside the wall of Herman Miller's frame-and tile-based systems or mounted discreetly to a panel—controls two of the four circuits of power in a cluster of workstations. When a person sits down to work, an occupancy sensor detects his or her presence and turns on the devices in the cluster plugged into those two circuits. When the cluster is unoccupied, devices like task lights, printers, monitors, chargers, etc., automatically turn off.

Until now, such energy savings strategies mostly have been limited to the building infrastructure. "There was no effective way to bridge the gap between the architecture and the occupants," says Todd Thompson, Herman Miller advanced development manager. But Energy Manager enables electricity savings right at the workstation cluster.

Energy Manager can also be Convia-enabled by being connected to a Convia programmable gateway, giving it the capability to create reports on workstation occupancy and giving facilities managers the ability to monitor and measure energy use in real time. In this capacity, Energy Manager can also serve as a triggering device for the control of selected circuits, overhead lighting, and other building systems. Occupancy data reported through the Convia gateway can, in turn, be used to generate reports that help facilities managers optimize real estate to further reduce operating costs through energy savings.

"At a time when many companies are committed to both environmental sustainability and lower costs, Energy Manager helps them reach these goals," says Thompson. It can also help reach another important goal: Energy Manager can contribute up to 10 LEED credits for optimized energy performance, measurement and verification, recycled content, and regional material.

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