Temperature control in buildings like facilities and warehouses can be difficult – high ceilings, lots of windows, big spaces, large amounts of employees. Regardless of the building’s size, OSHA requires the minimum temperature for indoor workplaces is 68 degrees Fahrenheit and the maximum is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. OSHA adds that the acceptable range for indoor humidity is between 20 and 60 percent; this helps with temperature control as well as reduced mold growth.
Good air quality and building temperature control can enhance workplace productivity as well as impact your facility’s energy bills.
By improving temperature control in buildings, you’re creating a more comfortable, healthier work environment. We have seen companies experience reduced absenteeism and employee complaints coupled with boosts in overall productivity. Numerous studies have drawn the link between indoor air quality/temperature and productivity.
In research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, workplace performance increased when indoor temperatures were within the human comfort temperature range of 69.8 degrees and 71.6 degrees with the highest level of productivity at 71.6 degrees. When indoor air temperature dropped or rose above this range, the human body typically prioritized keeping warm over fueling the brain.
Cornell University conducted a month-long study finding that temperatures affected workers positively or negatively depending on the conditions. Workers that were “chilly” made more errors while cooler temperatures increased hourly labor costs by 10 percent. When office temperatures rose from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees, the study found that typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output increased 150 percent––suggesting that a properly, evenly heated facility could save employers approximately $2 per worker per hour.
One manufacturing and logistics company echoed this sentiment after installing seven 24-foot industrial HVLS (high volume, low speed) ceiling fans in their 300,000-square foot warehouse. Keeping their HVLS fans running 24/7, the company’s Vice President of Supply Chain noted, “[HVLS] fans provide uniform comfort year-round for our nearly 230 employees, which has in turn increased worker productivity…They are essential in creating an optimal, healthy environment in our facility from ceiling to floor.”
Improving Cost and Energy Savings
Turning off your building HVAC system when no one is in the building may seem like a good building temperature control method, but it increases the demand on the HVAC system when it’s turned back on. That’s because the equipment has to work harder to reach the desired indoor temperature when it’s turned back on. Using an HVAC system coupled with an industrial ceiling fan can help save energy while not making your HVAC system work hard.
Designed with longer blade lengths than conventional fans, industrial ceiling fans – like Hunter Industrial’s Titan HVLS fan – have wingspans that can range from 7 to 24 feet and move large volumes of air with minimized energy consumption per square foot. One HVLS fan can mobilize as much air as 10 to 20-floor fans or twelve 48-inch barrel fans––translating into reduced operating costs of about $1 per day. Also, this efficiency is most prevalent in colder months.
In the winter, buildings with high ceilings often experience significant heat stratification where warmer air rises to the ceiling while cooler air remains at floor level. This phenomenon forces a facility’s heaters to work two to three times harder to keep employees and building occupants adequately warm while most of the heat continues to be trapped above their heads. It’s been estimated that air temperature can increase 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit per foot in ceiling height––meaning that if it’s 65 degrees on the floor, it could be 85 to 90 degrees at the roofline.
The DeKalb Fire Station in northern Illinois quickly noticed a temperature and comfort level difference after installing two Hunter Industrial XP ceiling fans. They added that their HVAC system is running a lot less frequently. That’s because industrial ceiling fans circulate air so warm air that’s trapped at ceiling level is cycled down to the floor. This allows HVAC systems to work more efficiently and effectively, potentially saving up to 30 percent on heating costs.
Download our free eBook that explains more about how high-volume, low speed (HVLS) fans can make your facility more energy efficient and improve comfort at the same time.