One of the biggest overhead costs for any business is what it pays to heat and cool its property. And it should go without saying that temperature control is arguably even more important in an industrial environment that must manage a variety of hazards that can be influenced by how hot or cool it is within the facility.
Temperature control is important at all times of the year in the warehouse environment, but perhaps all the more important during the cold winter months. And with energy prices expected to climb over the next several years, plant managers are challenged with the task of keeping warehouse environments comfortable while keeping utility costs down during these cold weather months. The good news is that several things can be done to beat the cold and avoid extreme temperature shifts. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of these strategies:
What’s the Ideal Warehouse Temperature?
Let’s kick things off by discussing the ideal warehouse temperature. Surprisingly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not regulate warehouse temperature. However, OSHA does suggest that plant managers aim to keep their warehouse environments at an ambient temperature between 69 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit at all times of the year, with humidity in the range of 20 to 60 percent.
In the winter, failure to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors can have a detrimental effect on equipment and materials. It may also lead to cold stress, which is caused by prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Cold stress can result in frostbite, hypothermia, and more.
How to Manage Warehouse Temperature
So how can you manage warehouse temperatures while keeping costs in check? Here’s a look at some strategies:
Insulation is crucial for helping to control heat loss in any environment, whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial. Warehouses, however, have some unique insulation challenges just based on their overall makeup and how doors are frequently opening and closing to both send and receive any deliveries. Many warehouses install steel roller shutters, which are practical and affordable – but not energy efficient. In fact, steel shutters absorb heat during the summer and can transfer cold in the winter – even when they’re closed. One solution to conventional steel roller shutters is insulated sectional doors.
In addition to the doors of the warehouse, make sure to explore other areas where insulation can be added to help prevent heat loss and keep the environment more comfortable and efficient.
Rearrange the Layout
Take a tour of the warehouse and see if shelving units and material handlers are blocking any vents that disperse heat from the HVAC unit during the winter months. Proper airflow is critical when it comes to dispersing heat effectively throughout the environment and this airflow mustn’t be impeded by any shelving units, pallets, cargo, or other warehouse materials.
Invest in HVAC Maintenance
Ideally, a warehouse’s HVAC system should be operating effectively so it can adequately heat a building. It should also work efficiently. An inefficient heating system is going to have to work harder to heat and cool a property, which often equates to running for longer and costing more money. Invest in your HVAC equipment by getting it properly inspected at least once a year. Tune-ups can help improve efficiency and also help catch small problems before they may become big, debilitating ones.
Finally, it’s worth noting that plant managers can do other things to keep workers comfortable. These include relaxing dress codes and providing workers with gloves and hats, allowing workers to take longer breaks, and offering heated break areas. While these strategies may not directly translate to saving on energy consumption costs in the winter, they can help keep workers comfortable and happy. And a happy workforce is often a more productive workforce.
How comfortable is your warehouse during the cold winter months? Take the steps now to ensure the temperature is properly managed so you can conserve energy costs while keeping your workforce comfortable. Contact A-Lined Handling Systems today for any assistance!