Taras Verkhoglyad
Sales Development Representative, Arloid Automation

Warehouse HVAC Tips – The Ultimate Guide to Warehouse HVAC

For any business, efficient HVAC operation is vital – but especially in the warehousing industry. Here, storing products safely and maintaining their condition is integral to business operations. However, warehouse buildings present several challenges.

Arloid is behind some of the most innovative HVAC automation on the market today. We work with businesses in all sectors to implement AI and optimise performance, generating significant energy and cost savings as a result.

Here, we underscore the importance of warehouse HVAC and provide some great ways to improve its performance.

Importance of Warehouse HVAC

HVAC performance plays a crucial role in the success or failure of a warehouse business. If HVAC doesn’t maintain the right internal environment for goods and they go on to degrade or spoil, the warehouse will be at risk of serious losses. More than that, machinery also needs to be kept in good working order, and here HVAC is once again key. Unlike other industries where a temporary lapse in HVAC performance can be overcome, for warehouses, this can be catastrophic.

HVAC is also vital for safeguarding employee comfort. If staff don’t feel comfortable in their working environment, they won’t be as efficient. In a fast-paced industry that strives above all else to be streamlined, thermal discomfort can be a serious threat to productivity.

Finally, warehouse HVAC is a significant source of utility costs for logistics businesses, so any steps that can reduce this figure should be taken to protect the bottom line. And with reduced energy costs comes reduced carbon emissions – something businesses in all sectors are striving to accomplish.

Warehouse HVAC >

Energy Consumption of Warehouse HVAC

When assessing the environmental impact of the logistics industry, transport inevitably garners the most attention. However, warehouse buildings themselves also contribute to the problem, and if sustainable logistics is to be achieved, all areas of the industry need to reduce their impact.

In the UK alone, warehouse units are responsible for approximately 10.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, with HVAC functions accounting for 16% of energy consumed. This figure is based on a 15,000 m2 ambient warehouse – cold storage facilities will see an even more significant proportion of their energy use coming from cooling action.

Considering the fact that there are 151,000 of warehouses across the globe, and this figure is expected to rise to 180,000 by 2025, optimising the way these buildings consume energy is critical in the race to net zero.

Warehouse HVAC Challenges

Despite the importance of warehouse HVAC optimisation, achieving it is not always easy. There are certain challenges to bear in mind, including:

  • Thermal Stratification – warehouse tend to be large buildings with high ceilings. As a result, a phenomenon known as thermal stratification can occur. This is where warm air rises to the ceiling, and cold air remains at occupant level, making it hard to maintain an even temperature.
  • Outside Air Infiltration – warehouses see a constant influx of products in and out of the facility through loading doors, allowing outside air to enter the building. This makes it difficult for HVAC to maintain the optimum thermal settings, and requires a substantial amount of energy.

How to Improve Warehouse HVAC Performance

Overcoming the challenges of warehouse HVAC is possible. Here are some of the best ways to get started.

1. Identify Optimum Settings

First and foremost, you need to identify the optimum settings for your HVAC system with regards to building size, occupancy rate, climactic conditions, and numerous other factors. There are various ways to do this, with one of the most effective being energy modelling and simulation. For most workplaces, 16 degrees is recommended, but this can fall to 13 degrees if the work involves physical activity.

2. Upgrade, Clean & Maintain HVAC

If your HVAC system is old and underperforming and you have the budget to invest, updating the whole system or certain components can make a big difference. Over time, even the best system can develop issues, which is why effective cleaning, servicing, and maintenance is also critical. Warehouses can often become dusty, and dust in air filters and ducts can have a significant impact on performance. In fact, cleaning fans, filters, and air ducts is estimated to improve HVAC efficiency by up to 60%!

3. Insulate Effectively

This isn’t specifically a HVAC tip, but is it important nonetheless! Warehouses are often poorly insulated. Considering, as we’ve established, that these buildings require intricate temperature and humidity control, this is something that needs to change. Measures that could be taken to improve insultation include installing double glazing, filling cavities with insulating material, insulating pipework, and installing thermal curtains around loading doors.

4. Use Zoning

Warehouses are large open spaces that are difficult to split into microzones, however distinguishing one area from another if possible is a good way of improving HVAC performance, enabling HVAC automation to take more nuanced control over conditions.

5. Change Employee Behaviour

Finally, make your employees aware of the challenges your HVAC system faces and change their behaviour to reduce the energy required to maintain conditions. If employees are educated and motivated to get behind your vision for better HVAC efficiency, the project is much more likely to be effective.

Warehouse HVAC Optimisation Using AI

The single most effective way to boost the performance of warehouse HVAC is through the adoption of cutting-edge AI technology. Building energy modelling and HVAC simulation using AI can help you zero in on the best settings for each zone of the warehouse unit, taking into account a varied range of data including construction materials, weather information, pipework, and more.

At Arloid, we use AI trained via Deep Reinforcement Learning to ensure these optimum settings are maintained in response to live data – not just historic information. That means the AI is able to intricately control conditions, and work proactively to maintain the best equilibrium for people, the planet, and your pocket! The result is AI that learns continuously, HVAC that performs consistently, and a better internal environment for all.

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