The environmental impact from our energy production and use today is a central concern for every
major decision maker regardless of interest area. Together with transport and industry, housing
and services is a major contributor to our energy consumption. In 2013 housing and services
accounted for 38% of the energy consumption in Sweden
Therefore, energy consumption in buildings has become an area of great importance with many
technological solutions developing to meet the demands from investors and legislation. However,
present solutions primarily aim to solve current problems, while ongoing technological and social
development is setting new conditions for future buildings.
This study investigates the future of office buildings heading towards a more flexible work
environment. Advancement of technology accompanied with new emerging economic and social
practices is facilitating the flexibility, as well as remote work and more out-of-office time, with
possible decrease of the thermal energy produced by humans and equipment. In addition, desktop
computers will be replaced by energy efficient thin clients, tablets, and phones while other
equipment is also becoming more energy efficient, resulting in reduced secondary heat
production and thus lower internal gains. This scenario supposes reduced internal gains, resulting
in decreased cooling requirements but also increased heating requirements.
However, an alternative scenario with increased internal gains is also likely, due to activity-based
workplaces. Activity-based offices dispose of personal desks, instead utilising activity-based areas
where employees choose an area or desk where to work, depending on their current task.
Disposing of personal desks supports higher occupancy, as employees working elsewhere don’t
occupy workplaces at the office. Thus, the amount of desks can be matched to the actual amount
of employees working at the office during peak loads.
These scenarios are developed, quantified, and used as a basis for the building simulation models.
These models are then optimised to meet these new conditions, utilising simulation and multi
The key finding is that office buildings are resilient to changing conditions, and that a state-of-theart
office from today meet the demands of tomorrow.