How to Cool a Building Without Air Conditioning

by Greenheck |
When the weather warms up, an air conditioning unit can help keep large indoor spaces comfortable. But sometimes installing an air conditioning unit isn’t always possible or economical, so finding ways to cool the interior of a building without using AC is necessary.

There are numerous benefits to keeping a commercial or industrial building at a comfortable working temperature. Worker productivity, comfort, and overall happiness can increase an employer’s bottom line. The field of ergonomics aims to improve worker comfort through a variety of methods, usually revolving around office furniture design. But temperature is often overlooked when an employer is considering how to make employees happier at work. If a workspace is too hot or too cold, all sorts of difficulties arise, including difficulty concentrating. This can lead not only to lowered productivity but to workplace injuries, as well. When a body needs to stay warm or cool itself down, it requires energy to do so. This takes away from the energy required to focus on the task at hand. When an ideal temperature is met, comfort improves, and focus increases. Work becomes safer and more productive.

It is easier to think and move when your body temperature is comfortable, making it easier to do your job efficiently. Too hot or too cold, and a person’s ability to work with accuracy and focus is compromised. There is connecting research that shows a comfortable working temperature can lead to a happier workplace, too. Temperature can influence our mood, so it stands to reason that a comfortable worker will be a friendlier one.

Since no one temperature will satisfy every worker, however, it is important to find a range that will create a workplace that is as comfortable as possible for everyone. Without air conditioning, however, that can be hard — but it is not impossible. There are a variety of ways to do it.

Overhead fans

A high-quality overhead fan (also known as an HVLS fan) may be the most effective way to cool the occupants in a room. As our bodies heat up, we perspire. As air moves over that perspiration, we feel cooler. Air movement is one of the best ways to cool the people in a room without an air conditioning unit. Most ceiling fans have two rotation settings: forward and reverse. In the summer, a fan should spin in the forward direction to blow air down to the floor. This ensures maximum air movement and provides a cooling effect at occupant level. In the winter, use the reverse setting at a lower speed. The reduced speed evenly moves heat around a room without causing a draft. Overhead fans provide energy-efficient air circulation that boosts comfort, safety, and productivity in commercial and industrial spaces.

Exhaust fans

Although exhaust fans primarily remove contaminated or stagnant air, they also suck warm, humid air from rooms. Exhaust fans can rapidly cool down areas that have become overly warm by venting the hot air outside. The temperature of the space decreases. They also remove excess moisture, which helps cool an area down. Moisture can also damage a building if too much of it is present for too long.

Open windows at night

When night falls, the air outside typically cools down. The air inside your building, however, will remain warmer for longer unless you let it out. Opening windows at night allows the warm air to escape and the cooler air to enter. Lower windows allow for the cooler, outside air to flow in, pushing the warm air up. And since warm air rises, it will escape and be replaced with the cooler night air. Then, close the windows in the morning once the air is cooler inside to keep it cool for as long as possible. If possible, keep the curtains or blinds closed, as well. This ensures that the cooler air will remain cool for as long as possible.


Air circulators are a perfect solution to ensure optimal air movement throughout parts of a building where workers are present. They are generally small, cost-effective, and can be mounted on the ceiling, the floor, or a wall. They can move easily to accommodate changing worker locations. While air circulators can complement an existing HVAC system, they also lower the perceived temperature in a building.

Three fan types are good examples of circulators. Drum fans (also called mancoolers) can move high volumes of directed air at high velocities. They work well in factories, warehouses, and agricultural applications, and can improve air quality and general comfort when used as part of a complete ventilation plan. Cage fans are a perfect choice for a situation where spot cooling or recirculation is required. Factories, warehouses, and garages can benefit greatly from this model. Other cage fans use an oscillating design that creates sweeping air movement across a large portion of a room. These are most common in manufacturing plants and warehouses.

In summation, if an air conditioning unit isn’t an option for a commercial or industrial space, there are ways to keep it cool. Maintaining a comfortable working temperature doesn’t just benefit the workers’ health and comfort, it can increase productivity and overall happiness — all things a good employer strives for.

Overhead HVLS Fans
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