Heating and cooling large, open-plan buildings can be problematic. Often, factories have open loading bays that allow hot and cold air in, and if the ceilings are very high, warm air rises and is lost. Heating such a space is often expensive, and if the building has not been constructed to allow for energy efficiency, its carbon footprint will be high.
There are several different ways to heat a factory. Let’s take a closer look below.
Radiant heaters are useful in spaces where the ceiling isn’t too high or there is an open door, such as a loading bay. Installing radiant heaters above packing areas or where employees take a break, for example, is a useful way of ensuring a fairly consistent temperature in the space. This type of heating is less effective in a wide-open area with high ceilings or warehouses with high racking storage systems.
If you fit radiant heaters, include timers so the heaters are not running when there is nobody in the area, such as at night if the warehouse is closed.
Warm Air Heating
Warm air can be used in large factories with high ceilings. Warm air heaters pump out hot air, which is circulated by fans, and they can heat a large space quite effectively if there are sufficient heaters installed in the right locations.
This type of heating is only efficient if the warm air can circulate freely. Otherwise, you will end up with cold spots.
Destratification units recirculate warm air from the ceiling back to floor level. They are useful for buildings with high ceilings, such as warehouses. A destratification system means fewer heaters are needed to heat a large space, which is more energy-efficient.
Factory heating is complex and it’s worth consulting an expert like Chillaire to ensure the factory heating option you are considering are right for the building. Chillaire can help with the design, installation and maintenance.
Cooling a Factory
In warmer climates or during the summer months, cooling a factory is more of an issue. When you have machinery running, a lot of heat can be generated, and in an enclosed factory, this heat has nowhere to go, which can make working conditions for employees less than optimum. Excessive heat can also lead to machinery overheating and breaking down, which will increase your running costs.
Manual cooling methods such as opening windows, doors, and roof vents are the first line of defence against heat. Venting the factory allows air to circulate better, especially if roof vents and windows high up are opened.
Fans will also help to circulate warm air and ensure the space feels cooler. In a large warehouse, industrial fans are more effective, although desk fans might be helpful in small or enclosed areas, such as internal offices and packing sections.
In humid climates, the only really effective solution is to install a centralised air-conditioning system. Portable air-conditioning units can offer spot cooling in key areas, but an HVAC unit will be more cost-effective and efficient on a factory floor.
If you are building a warehouse from scratch, make sure you consider potential issues at the design stage.