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Posted by Stephanie on July 1, 2024

Once summer arrives and the temperatures regularly reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping a large industrial space cool is challenging. However, it’s crucial if you want your employees to be safe, healthy, and comfortable. When the interior temperature gets too high, worker productivity can suffer. Your employees will be at a higher risk of developing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Even if you don’t have an air conditioner in your warehouse, there are things you can do to cool your facility and maintain comfortable temperatures. There are, however, several challenges to overcome if you want to effectively cool your warehouse without spending too much money. Maintaining temperatures in large spaces is expensive, which is why it’s important to take advantage of more affordable cooling solutions. In this article, you’ll discover how to cool a warehouse without AC.

warehouse fan

Natural Ventilation

Among the most effective ways to reduce energy costs in your facility is to use natural ventilation. This form of ventilation is based on the wind as well as the “chimney effect” to keep your facility cool. While natural ventilation can be helpful no matter where your warehouse is located, it’s best when used in drier climates.

You can keep your warehouse cool by leaving windows open and installing louvers and vents throughout the facility. When the wind blows, air will be forced into the openings that lead into your building, which can help you maintain indoor temperatures.

There are many techniques you can use to introduce natural ventilation to your warehouse. You can enhance natural airflow by leaving windows and doors open throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to install louvers and vents in the right positions. For example, louvers should be placed on side walls to allow cool air to enter the building. They are most effective when paired with natural ventilation strategies.

Installing louvers around your facility should improve the indoor air quality by allowing fresh air to circulate throughout the building. They can also boost energy efficiency by reducing the need for artificial cooling. When you shop for louvers, they can be customized to fit within your layout.

Natural ventilation has minimal maintenance requirements. You may need to inspect the louvers and vents occasionally to make sure there aren’t any blockages that need to be cleared away. The many benefits of natural ventilation include the following:

  • Air will always be circulating within your facility, which helps regulate temperatures regardless of how hot it gets outside.
  • These systems require very little maintenance.
  • Natural ventilation never fails. Even if there’s a power outage, air will always circulate.
  • The ventilation automatically adjusts to your needs. When it’s hot outside, you’ll receive more airflow in your facilities. When the outdoor temperatures are cooler, you won’t need to turn on an exhaust fan.

HVLS (High Volume Low Speed) Fans

High-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans can be very helpful when you’re searching for efficient ways to keep your warehouse cool during the summer. The minimum diameter for HVLS fans is seven feet. However, they can reach 24 feet in diameter. The purpose of these fans is to circulate a high volume of air at low speeds, which is a much more energy-efficient method for cooling a space in comparison to traditional AC units.

By circulating large volumes of air, these fans can reduce the temperatures in your warehouse by 10-12 degrees Fahrenheit. When you compare HVLS systems to traditional ceiling fans, consider how much air they circulate. When a ceiling fan is equipped with a one-horsepower motor, it can produce around 29,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow. HVLS fans create 140,000 CFM of airflow. It costs just pennies per hour to run an HVLS fan.

Evaporative Cooling Systems

Evaporative cooling technology works by pulling air directly through a wet medium to get rid of the heat. When the air passes through water-saturated pads, the temperature can be reduced by anywhere from 15-40 degrees Fahrenheit before it gets sent into your warehouse.

Evaporative cooling systems are often portable, which means that you can easily move them based on the needs of your employees. You can also find larger units that can cool a sizable industrial space with ease. The only issue with larger units is that they are costly and not as efficient. They can also clog easily if you don’t maintain them properly. Adhere to the following maintenance tips to keep your evaporative cooling systems in good condition:

  • Reduce scaling by regularly cleaning the water distribution pipe
  • Perform routine visual inspections to look for any irregularities
  • Keep the cooling pads clean
  • Make sure you cover the systems when they aren’t being used
  • Remove debris that gets stuck in the system
  • Use a combination of fresh water and vinegar when cleaning any components within your evaporative coolers

Insulation and Reflective Roofing

It will be significantly easier for you to maintain indoor temperatures if your warehouse is well-insulated. Place insulation wherever possible, including walls, roofs, doors, and floors. When your warehouse is properly insulated, you can more effectively trap cool air during the summer.

While insulation will shrink your available space by several inches, it will bolster your heat management efforts. These improvements also make your warehouse more efficient, which should help you save a lot of money. There are numerous types of insulation that you can install in your warehouse, which include the following:

  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Mineral wool insulation
  • Reflective foil insulation
  • Cellulose insulation

While there are many warehouse cooling solutions at your disposal, reflective roofing is among the best. It reduces heat absorption, which means that the air within your facility should remain cool. These roofs are more effective when installed on larger warehouses. While the upfront cost is high, your monthly energy bills should drop considerably after the new roof is installed.

distribution center

Shade and Solar Control

Consider shade and solar control solutions to more effectively regulate temperatures. External shading devices like awnings and shade cloths can be placed over your loading docks and other openings around the warehouse to maintain temperatures. Consider planting trees and vegetation around the perimeter to provide more shade when your employees are working outside. Shade cloths allow air to pass through, which should make it easier for you to cool the space.

Your facility can also benefit from solar control films that you can place on skylights and windows. These films are often made with a layer of polyester. Once you install them on your windows and skylights, you should benefit from higher energy efficiency, more privacy, and better security. Keep in mind that some window films are shatter-resistant as well.

Spot Cooling Solutions

You may also want to consider spot cooling solutions. These systems are self-contained AC units that are designed to cool smaller areas. If you don’t want to spend the money to buy an entire air conditioner for your warehouse, spot cooling is a cost-effective solution.

Spot coolers usually come with a capacity of around one to five tons. You use refrigerants to cool the interior air. Depending on the type of spot cooler you choose for your facility, it may be able to dehumidify and circulate the air as well. When installed in the right areas, these fans can eliminate hot spots and keep your employees comfortable throughout the workday.

The primary types of spot coolers include portable units and fixed ones. When you use these systems in high-traffic or heat-prone areas, you can effectively maintain temperatures with targeted cooling. Along with being much more affordable than traditional HVAC systems, spot coolers come with an easier installation process. You’ll be able to save money and reduce your facility’s energy consumption once you install spot coolers.


High heat causes employees to be less productive when their loading and unloading goods. However, it’s even more difficult to work when the humidity inside the warehouse is high. If your warehouse is in a hot and humid climate, a considerable amount of moisture could get into your facility from outside. Water can carry more heat than air, which means that removing liquid from the air can lower the interior temperature.

You can reduce the humidity in your warehouse with a dehumidifier. These systems are often portable and are designed to reduce the moisture content in the air to your preferred level. Once you install a dehumidifier, your employees should be more comfortable, which will boost productivity. Product integrity should also improve. Less humidity means a lower chance of spoilage or mold growth.

When you’re searching for a dehumidifier, make sure you choose the right size. The unit must have enough capacity to maintain optimal humidity levels throughout your entire facility. If it’s too large, it will consume a high amount of energy.

Innovative Cooling Technologies

Your warehouse might also benefit from innovative and emerging technologies, the primary of which include geothermal cooling and radiant cooling. Before you adopt new technologies, weigh the pros and cons. You must always maintain high efficiency and productivity in your warehouse. If you implement a new technology that ends up performing poorly, you might experience a drop in productivity until the tech is replaced with something that works. On the other hand, most emerging technologies are designed to boost efficiency.

Radiant cooling systems can be installed above the ceiling or below the floor. These systems reduce surface temperatures by circulating cool fluids. You can install one alongside a radiant heating system. While this technology is still young, it’s an energy-efficient method of cooling a large space.

As for geothermal cooling systems, they use renewable energy to move heat out of the building and to the earth’s surface. The ground is used like a heatsink. These systems are Eco-friendly and powerful. They can efficiently cool large commercial spaces without using a considerable amount of energy. The operational costs are also low.


Running a warehouse requires substantial resources. You can lower your operational expenses by cooling your warehouse without a traditional air conditioner. Evaporative cooling systems, HVLS fans, and natural ventilation are a few of the more affordable solutions that can help you reduce your monthly energy bills and keep your warehouse cool during the summer. You can also look into using innovative technologies, cool roofs, and dehumidifiers. Assess the specific needs of your warehouse to implement suitable non-AC cooling solutions.


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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.