Cooling Your Facility Without A/C

Air conditioning. Once, it was considered a luxury. Now, A/C is a standard feature in most workplaces. But for warehouses, barns and many other facility types, air conditioning is simply not always the most practical option. It can be expensive to install or run. It’s not always effective at cooling large areas. Plus, in some facilities, the need or desire to keep doors or windows open can make it difficult or impossible to use A/C.

While this may not seem like a typical time of year to think about air conditioning, it is the perfect time to plan an annual performance review for your building. If you are interested in solutions that can help you optimize the budget, comfort and productivity of your facility over the coming year and beyond, consider looking for effective, low-cost alternatives to air conditioning. Here are our top suggestions:

7 Ways to Ditch the A/C in Your Facility Without Losing Your Cool

  1. Use Passive Ventilation. For millennia, people have used doors, windows, louvres and vents to ventilate buildings and keep them cool. If your building doesn’t already have them, try installing window screens, screen doors and/or vented skylights to allow cooling breezes to flow through your facility. If you are designing a new facility or adding passive ventilation openings to an existing one, be sure to take prevailing wind patterns into account and design for optimal cooling advantage.
  2. Keep Doors and Windows Shut. Yes, this is the opposite approach to using passive ventilation, so it depends on your building. However, sometimes the best strategy is to shut the heat out. Train employees to shut doors, and utilize strip doors and curtains when needed to keep hot outside air from entering.
  3. Insulate Your Building. Insulation works in summer and winter to help keep the temperature comfortable inside your building. For cooling purposes, it is especially important to insulate the roof, to prevent the sun from beating down and heating your building.
  4. Install a Cool Roof. A “cool roof” is one that is designed to reflect heat and light rather than absorb it. Cool roofs can reduce roof temperature by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or more, which in turn helps keep the interior of the building cool.
  5. Plant Trees. Trees provide shade and help cool the air through a process called evapotranspiration. Studies have shown that planting trees near a building can reduce the need for air conditioning by 20 to 30 percent.
  6. Use a Dehumidifier. You know the old saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” It’s true: Humid air really does feel warmer. That’s because when the air is moist, it’s difficult for the body to shed excess heat through evaporation. Dehumidifiers are inexpensive to run and will help keep your indoor air drier and more comfortable.
  7. Install an HVLS Fan. Speaking of evaporation, high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans create an evaporative cooling effect that makes everyone in the room feel up to 10 degrees cooler. They also gently mix stratified layers of air to prevent buildup of heat under the roof and keep the air nicely ventilated. Since they require very little power to run, the result is greater comfort for employees, which leads to higher productivity without breaking the budget.

Use VividAir HVLS fans by themselves or in tandem with any of the other suggestions above to reduce your air-conditioning costs, or to provide effective cooling where A/C is not an option. If you would like to learn more, or for help in determining the best air-conditioning alternatives for your facility, reach out to our air scientists.