Working in comfort: Regulating warehouse temperatures with air conditioning tech

Comfortable workplaces spark greater productivity. And within Canada’s ever-growing logistics space, the ability to maintain ideal temperatures in busy warehouse environments goes a long way toward keeping workers healthy, engaged, and performing at their peak.

That productivity is more important than ever. A steady uptick in Canadian e-commerce and intensifying supply chain demands are placing downward pressure on warehouse and material handling operations which are already being stretched thin. As facilities become more crowded and talent retention takes a greater focus, employers are motivated to do whatever they can to keep their teams healthy, comfortable, and willing to come to work.

Granted, controlling internal temperatures in a warehouse is no simple task. Tall ceilings, wide-open spaces, and open doors throughout make it challenging to keep heat in or out, depending on the season. Fortunately, there are energy-smart and high-efficient HVAC solutions that can provide a breath of fresh air.

Conditioned for success

There are tangible benefits to creating comfortable warehouse environments. Keeping a facility cool during the summer (or warm during the Canadian cold) keeps workers comfortable, attentive, and more attuned to their space. Moreover, air conditioning plays a key role in creating healthier indoor air quality (IAQ).Modern solutions include:

VRFs/VRVs: Invented by Daikin Industries, Ltd. in the early 1980s, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air conditioners are large, ductless HVAC systems that use heated or cooled refrigerants circulated through the system to achieve desired temperatures in an environment. In a VRF unit, refrigerants are conditioned by one or more condensing units, which can be located indoors or outdoors, and water or air-cooled. With the ability to target specific zones and switch between cooling and heating modes, VRFs are an energy-efficient and cost-friendly way to condition warehouse spaces.

Destratification fans: Heat rises into the rafters in a typical one-storey warehouse, making it difficult to maintain a desired temperature on the ground level. Destratification fans address this by recirculating that heat back to the floor, thereby avoiding wasted heat. This technology can also be useful in colder months as they distribute heat through the destratification of the hot and cold layers and erase the temperature difference, resulting in energy savings of up to 30 per cent.

Air curtains: The ongoing movement of goods and equipment through open facility doors creates many opportunities for heat to escape. Air curtains can be installed over these egress points to push conditioned air down to the ground, forming an air barrier between the inside and outside environment. Beyond trapping heat, air curtains have the additional benefit of preventing contaminants, insects, or outdoor debris from entering the space.

Air make-up units: Manufacturing facilities often need ventilation and exhaust replenishment to remove contaminants and other pollutants from their space. Air make-up units provide fresh and conditioned air.  

Air conditioning isn’t always the first consideration in a warehouse. Given the benefits that air conditioning technologies can have regarding workforce health and retention, however, they are an important consideration all the same.