Regulating Temperature Year-Round in Manufacturing Facilities

Executive Summary

Managing the temperature of warehouses or large buildings during the hot summer months and in the depths of winter is a significant challenge, even for the most efficiently operated facilities. Factors like high ceilings, heat-producing machinery, and inadequate ventilation or insulation often contribute to the retention of warm or cold air in industrial spaces. This can lead to health and morale concerns for employees, increased wear on machinery, costly scrap, and a decline in overall productivity. Maintaining effective air circulation year-round is crucial for employee comfort and the success of your business.

Enhancing air circulation, along with managing temperature, not only contributes to health and safety but also boosts productivity. A 2002 Clemson Study showed that uncomfortable temperatures in either direction have a significant negative impact on employee performance. [1]

This white paper offers insights and best practices for maintaining a consistent temperature in large facilities year-round. Facility managers will find various effective strategies outlined, including the installation of high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans, optimizing industrial HVAC systems, as well as specific solutions for hot and cold months.


Warehouses, with their appealing features like high ceilings and expansive open areas, are notably difficult to effectively regulate the temperature of. The summer season poses significant cooling challenges for industrial workspaces – but finding a heating solution in the winter does, too. 

When air is heated, its molecules gain energy and move more rapidly, causing them to disperse and become less dense. Consequently, warm air, being lighter, rises above cooler, denser air. In the United States, the typical ceiling height in large warehouses is around 32 or 36 feet. This elevation allows warm air to rise and accumulate near the ceiling, leading to a temperature gradient that can be uncomfortable for workers and challenging to regulate.

In such environments, air tends to stratify (or layer) based on temperature, often resulting in a 10 to 20-degree temperature difference from the floor to the ceiling. [2] The aim of enhancing air circulation is to disrupt this stratification, promoting airflow to minimize stagnant air zones and maintain a consistent temperature throughout the warehouse no matter the time of year.

Given the immense size of these facilities, encompassing millions of cubic feet, effectively cooling or heating such a vast volume of air is a daunting task. To address these issues, warehouse managers need to apply a variety of cooling, heating, and air circulation methods to ensure their employees are comfortable year-round.


Due to the natural tendency of warm air to rise and cool air to sink, any room typically experiences higher temperatures near the ceiling. This is compounded in warehouses, which can see a 10 to 20 degree temperature difference. In some of the largest facilities, the temperature difference between the floor and a 40-foot ceiling can actually exceed 30 degrees. [2]

In winter, this leads to a significant issue: while heated air accumulates uselessly at the top, occupants below often endure cold conditions. Conversely, in summer, one might assume cooler air near the floor to be beneficial – but this isn’t the case. The presence of a substantial layer of hot air above can cause the entire building to become excessively warm, leaving workers struggling with discomfort or even heat exhaustion. If air conditioning is over-utilized to counteract this, it can result in uncomfortably cold conditions. This imbalance in temperature, regardless of the season, leads to uncomfortable working environments, reduced productivity, and inflated energy costs. New OSHA guidelines recommend a workplace between 68 and 78 degrees. [3]

Thankfully, there are various strategies and tools available to effectively manage and regulate temperatures throughout the year, ensuring a comfortable facility regardless of seasonal changes.

Best Solution: Install High-volume Low-Speed (HVLS) Fans

Keeping the air moving can go a long way in regulating the factory floor by reducing the perceived temperature. Traditional floor fans and ceiling fans often fall short in cooling and air circulation capabilities, especially in large warehouses. 

HVLS fans distribute air evenly and help eliminate trapped pockets of heat. When running counterclockwise, blades create a downdrift and push air down in the summer, keeping your facility cool. In the winter, clockwise blades pull air upwards and recycle heated air. A 2014 study by the Nicor Gas company found that a facility utilizing HVLS fans did not have to cycle their heating and cooling systems as frequently while maintaining consistent temperatures. [6] Many industrial fans are also programmable and can work in tandem with HVAC systems to regulate temperatures in your facility. A large ceiling-mounted HVLS fan from VividAir can move up to 125,000 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of airflow, providing cooling or rotating heated air to provide consistent temperatures year-round. 

HVLS fans also come in a variety of options to work in most facilities. Choosing the right fan blade size is important for proper air distribution on the factory floor and will determine how well you regulate your facility’s temperature. Many industrial fans offer blades ranging from 8 to 24 feet. The larger the fan blades, the more slowly the fan turns – creating more air volume, but at a lower velocity and energy output. With a lower ceiling height, a shorter bladed fan will work more effectively. With a higher ceiling, a large fan moving a larger volume of air at a lower speed can handle regulating the temperature of a factory floor. This makes HVLS fans a prudent solution for facilities of all sizes, year-round, to ensure your employees stay comfortable and productive whether they need cool or warm air circulation.

When HVLS fans aren’t an option to do ceiling obstruction, it is tempting to turn to traditional floor fans and HVAC systems alone. However, they often do not provide sufficient cooling for large areas. VividAir created the TAZ fan, which can be hung in aisles, using this same HVLS technology. One TAZ fan can effectively replace up to four aisle fans or eight basket fans, and still requires only half the power to operate. 

When it comes to an energy efficient, prudent, year-round solution: Most facilities will benefit from some type of HVLS fan.

Year-Round Solution: Invest in Maintenance

Investing in the health of your HVLS fans and HVAC system is critical to keeping everything running smoothly year-round. Simply put, if your facilities are well-maintained and up to date, they should perform well – preventing costly repairs down the line and emergencies. Poorly maintained cooling and heating systems don’t function at their best, leading to problems with temperature regulation.

Facility managers should regularly visually inspect their fans and look for signs of damage or unusual wear and tear, including the hub, blade, and edges. It’s also important to check for misalignments that may occur over time. Other important places to inspect are the gearbox, hardware connections, and the wire tension. In addition, cleaning your fan with a mild detergent or clean water to remove build up of dust, debris, and other particles will ensure consistent airflow year-round.

All good heating and cooling systems – be it an HVLS fan or HVAC – should come with a maintenance policy. VividAir offers a complete Annual Performance Plan, with inspections and services performed by our in-house professionals who have the expertise to identify and address any potential issues on demand.

Year-Round Solution: Seal it Up

Properly sealed windows and doors will also significantly impact the temperature of your facility. Without effective seals, drafts enter the space, and hot or cold air will seep in. When outside air makes its way inside, it will counteract any effects of your HVLS fans and make any HVAC system overworked. All doors and windows should be properly sealed, including around trailer gaps or loading docks.

Year-Round Solution: Recommended Thermostat Settings

The US Department of Energy is the most reliable source for information regarding thermostat settings. Their studies suggest that adjusting your thermostat by 7°-10°F for 8 hours daily from the usual setting can lead to a 10% reduction in yearly HVAC expenses. [4]  When facilities have to run 24/7, they lose out on this potential benefit. HVLS fans actually improve air conditioning system efficiency on the hottest and coldest days when your system would otherwise be working in overdrive. With HVLS fans, it’s possible to increase or decrease your thermostat settings by 5 degrees with no changes to employee comfort on the floor – saving money, keeping the overall temperature within OSHA guidelines, and ensuring employees stay comfortable. [5]

Summer Solution: Evaporative Cooling

Adding HVLS fans to air-conditioned commercial and industrial environments can substantially boost the evaporative cooling effect – the refreshing sensation that occurs as water evaporates. The airflow from HVLS fans can increase employee comfort without altering the overall temperature, allowing for the thermostat to be set up to 7 degrees higher in summer without sacrificing comfort. Other evaporative cooling systems can also lower air temperatures. Portable evaporative coolers can be particularly useful for targeted cooling in factory areas that become excessively hot. However, it’s crucial to note that this form of evaporative cooling is less effective in high-humidity environments, as it can increase humidity without providing a cooling effect.

Winter Solution: Insulate

Insulation plays a vital role in managing heat loss across various settings, including residential, commercial, and industrial environments. Warehouses face specific insulation challenges due to their design and frequent opening and closing of doors for deliveries. Commonly, warehouses use steel roller shutters because they are practical and cost-effective, but these are not the most energy-efficient option. Steel shutters have a tendency to absorb heat in the summer and transmit cold in the winter, even when closed. An alternative to traditional steel roller shutters is the use of insulated sectional doors.

Beyond just the doors, it’s important to consider additional areas within the warehouse where insulation could be beneficial. Enhancing insulation in these areas can further aid in reducing heat loss, thereby creating a more comfortable and energy-efficient environment.


Large facilities face significant challenges when it comes to regulating temperature year-round. To address these issues, facility managers can utilize a wide range of solutions to ensure employees stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. HVLS fans can run all year, circulating warm and cold air based on your needs. They’re also energy efficient, run at low speeds, and take the strain off any existing HVAC system. Proper air management is key to achieving consistent warehouse temperature, improving employee morale, and ensuring your facility is a safe place to work.

Contact VividAir

VividAir is a high performance commercial HVLS fan manufacturer dedicated to the science of better air. Our patented designs include the Z-TechTM blade, a stepped symmetrical fan blade that dramatically reduces frictional resistance and drag while greatly increasing air displacement and thrust. The Z-Tech blade design provides an industry leading coverage area that’s 30% greater than the competition.



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[3] OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022. Internet. [cited 2023 Dec 16] Available from:

[4] Programmable Thermostats. Internet. Available from:

[5] Reducing Heat Stress with HVLS Fans. Occupational Health and Safety. Internet. [cited 2023 Dec 16] Available from:,no%20change%20in%20employee%20comfort.

[6] Emerging Technology Program 1026: Destratification Fans Public Project Report – Executive Summary. Internet. [cited 2023 Dec 16] Available from: