Creating the Perfect Office Environment with Raised Access Floors

8 February 2022 Tate
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The ideal office environment addresses a variety of needs, including clean, high quality indoor air, personal comfort control, access to daylight, flexibility to adapt to organizational and technological changes and a pleasant overall aesthetic. Fortunately, raised access floors contribute to each of these needs to increase productivity and comfort in a commercial office. 
 
In a building without raised floors, services like power and low voltage cabling are distributed through the ceiling and walls with fixed termination points. In an office with raised access floors, however, these services can instead be placed under the floor. Modular plug-and-play power and cabling allows users to access these services through termination points mounted in the raised floor panel—not the wall. Rearrange desks, create private offices, add a meeting room, change the entire layout of the space, your options are unlimited. Simply lift the floor panel, reroute the services and replace the floor panel where you need to access the services. It gives you the ability to adapt to any organizational or technological changes that may come and futureproofs your space against unforeseen circumstances.
 
HVAC services can also be placed under a raised floor, instead of in a traditional overhead system that requires ductwork. By moving those services under the floor, you can increase the ceiling height and create a more desirable aesthetic by eliminating the need for a drop ceiling. Underfloor Air Distribution systems use the space between the raised floor and the building slab as a supply plenum to deliver air at a low velocity directly into the occupied zone. The air naturally rises to a ceiling return with little mixing, improving the ventilation effectiveness and indoor air quality of the space. In-floor diffusers allow occupants to control the delivery of airflow in their personal space, creating a more comfortable work environment.
 
Here are a few examples of offices that are benefitting from raised flooring.

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The California Department of General Services building was designed to provide a comfortable work environment for all its occupants. By utilizing raised flooring, the designers could increase the ceiling height and window size to create more access to natural daylighting. And the Underfloor Air Distribution system provides clean, conditioned air at the occupant level to improve the building’s indoor air quality. This system also features individual air controls in the floor at each desk so every employee can adjust the amount and direction of airflow to accommodate their comfort level.
 
“Our design team selected the raised access flooring to provide a low-pressure under floor air distribution (UFAD) system that would help us meet the project’s stringent indoor air quality and energy efficiency goals.”
—Corinne Kerr, Principal of ZGF Architects

CSC Office Raised Floor

The CSC HQ building in Wilmington, DE, focuses on employee health, collaboration and sustainability to create a workplace that fosters the vibrant, team-based environment promoted by the company. The designers utilized a raised access floor with Underfloor Air Distribution to ensure employees always receive the cleanest air and have the ability to maintain control over the amount of air they receive in their personal workspace. This system contributes to increased employee health and satisfaction, while also lowering ongoing operational costs through decreased energy consumption. The designers also took advantage of Tate’s high-end architectural finishes, including factory-laminated hardwood and STONEWORKS® Classic Concrete, to create a modern, sleek aesthetic that created specific zones for employee collaboration while maintaining an open office feel.
 
“The most healthful air in the building, with an underfloor air-delivery system, is in the first six feet from the floor. It’s an investment that forward-thinking companies make in their employees.”
—Jeffrey Morgan, Principal of NORR

Salesforce Raised Floor

The headquarters for Salesforce in San Francisco was designed with a major focus on sustainability and a goal of creating a “high-performance work environment.” One of the main factors in achieving that goal was the utilization of raised access floors with Underfloor Air and Service Distribution. By routing all their services under the floor, they were able to increase the floor-to-ceiling height and allow for more flexibility to easily adapt to future organizational or technological changes. 
 
“In addition to sustainability concerns, it was important to provide flexible office space. Underfloor air is a great way to meet both demands, and was the best means to achieve the project goals.”
—Saied Nazeri, Principal-in-Charge for engineering firm WSP

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