Facility Dude

How you can help your facility keep cool on the go this summer

By Kate Donnelly
Jun 04, 2015

Facilities Management, Safety and Risk Management

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How you can help your facility keep cool on the go this summer While summer is often synonymous with sunshine, ice cream and trips to the beach, for facility managers it brings a whole other slew of connotations. The season's high temperatures mean that administrators and maintenance teams need to be aware of the cooling and power needs of the building.

In addition to ensuring your HVAC is running smoothly and your windows and doors are properly insulated, it's also worth considering the possibility of a power outage or other equipment malfunction. Just like in the winter, being caught in the summer with no power and thus no means of cooling your building can be both inconvenient and dangerous. Here are a few things to keep in mind when devising a portable cooling solution.

Plan for the space

You probably wouldn't rely on an emergency generator to power your entire building in the case of a power outage, and in the same way, you don't need to devise a backup cooling system to keep your entire facility climate controlled. The first thing to consider when devising your plan is what space you're going to focus your cooling efforts on. This can have a significant impact on how you proceed. Size isn't the only thing to take into account, either - you'll also need to consider how densely occupied the space in question is.

FacilitiesNet mentioned that as a general rule of thumb, expect it to take around 600 Btu per person to achieve an adequate cooling solution. Even if your office space is on the smaller side, if you have a crowded space, you'll need to plan for it.

Choosing the right equipment

Having determined how much power you're going to need to adequately cool the space in question, it's time to figure out exactly what kind of cooling solution you're going to use. Many small offices or facilities can get by just fine with a temporary or portable cooling unit. Not only are these effective at meeting the cooling needs of these undersized spaces, but they are easily portable and can fit into most standard-sized rooms.

Larger buildings, however, may find it more economical to use bigger and more powerful solutions. For example, some portable cooling systems come in trailers, which can then be parked outside a facility and then integrated into the HVAC system by laying down additional wiring, valves and connection ports. While this is in general a more efficient solution than using a number of smaller units, facility managers should take into account the extra work and building maintenance required to establish the necessary infrastructure.

To rent or to buy?

As with most specialty equipment, the question of whether it's better to rent or buy is an important one. If you opt for a larger trailer-based cooling system, you'll almost assuredly find that renting is easier, more efficient and more cost effective. However, deciding whether to rent or buy smaller coolers is up to you. This may require you to take factors into account such as the location of your facility, average local temperature during the hot season and the age and condition of the current HVAC infrastructure.

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