Maintaining a cool and comfortable environment in your retail space is crucial for both your customers and employees. As the summer heat rolls in, ensuring that your brick-and-mortar store remains cool becomes a top priority.
In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies for how to keep a commercial space cool in the summer, while considering energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. We’ll cover all the essential aspects to help you create an inviting atmosphere for your customers and optimise the shopping experience.
Workplace Temperature Regulations in the UK
Before diving into specific cooling strategies, it’s essential to understand the workplace temperature regulations in the UK.
Health and safety experts recommend maintaining a reasonable temperature in the workplace to ensure employee comfort and productivity. According to the regulation guidelines, the temperature in indoor workplaces should be at least 16 degrees Celsius (or 13 degrees Celsius if employees are engaged in physical work).
There is no specific upper limit, but employers are advised to keep the workplace cool enough to prevent discomfort. By adhering to these regulations, you can ensure a comfortable environment for your employees while also complying with legal requirements.
Regular AC Maintenance
Regular maintenance of your commercial air conditioning system is key to ensuring its optimal performance. Schedule routine inspections, cleaning, and servicing of your HVAC system to prevent breakdowns and maintain cool air circulation.
Proper maintenance includes tasks such as cleaning or replacing air filters, checking refrigerant levels, inspecting ductwork for leaks, and ensuring that all components are in good working order.
By maintaining your air conditioning system, you not only enhance employee comfort but also extend the lifespan of your equipment and prevent costly repairs.
Consider partnering with a professional HVAC service provider such as TEK to handle regular maintenance tasks and address any issues promptly.
Proper insulation can be an ideal tool for keeping cool air inside your retail space and preventing heat transfer from the outside.
Insulating your store’s walls, roof, and windows can significantly reduce the impact of external temperatures on the interior environment. For walls and roof, consider insulation materials such as mineral wool, spray foam, or rigid foam boards.
These materials help to trap cool air inside during the summer and retain heat during the winter, creating a comfortable environment all year-round. Window insulation can be achieved through double-glazed windows or window films that reduce heat transfer while still allowing natural light to enter.
Considering how to deal with temperature regulation all year around? Read our blog “How to Plan Heating for Retail Premises”.
Windows are essential for showcasing your merchandise and engaging customers with eye-catching displays. However, they can also let in heat and sunlight, leading to increased temperatures inside.
Install window coverings such as blinds, shades, or reflective films to reduce the amount of heat entering your store while still maintaining an appealing aesthetic for your window displays. Reflective films, also known as solar control window films, can block a significant amount of heat from entering your retail space while still allowing visibility.
Adding More Shade
Adding external shade features to your shop can provide significant relief from the heat and sunlight. By strategically incorporating shade elements, you can protect your store from direct sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the building. Here are a few effective ways to add shade:
- Awnings: Install retractable or fixed awnings above windows and entrances. Awnings provide shade while still allowing natural light to filter through. They also add a visually appealing element to the exterior of your store.
- Canopies: Consider installing canopies over outdoor areas, such as patios or entrances. Canopies provide shade for customers waiting outside or taking a break while protecting them from direct sunlight and heat.
- Sunshades: Install sunshades or sun sails outside your store’s windows. These fabric structures help block sunlight while allowing air to circulate freely. Sunshades can be adjusted or moved to follow the sun’s path throughout the day.
- Planting Trees: If your retail space has an outdoor area, consider planting trees strategically to provide natural shade. Trees not only offer shade but also contribute to a greener and more inviting atmosphere, attracting customers and enhancing the visual appeal of your store.
You could also experiment with adding more protection from the sun internally. For example, using plants, mirrors, or large boards in your window space can add interest to your display and enhance visual merchandising while blocking warming sunlight from the interior of your commercial space.
Adequate airflow helps dissipate heat, reduce humidity, and improve the overall indoor air quality of your store. Consider the following ventilation strategies:
- Ceiling Fans: Install ceiling fans strategically throughout your retail space to improve air circulation. These can create a gentle breeze that can make the environment feel cooler.
- Exhaust Fans: Exhaust fans in areas prone to heat buildup can help remove hot air and humidity from the space, contributing to a more comfortable environment.
- Cross Ventilation: Take advantage of natural ventilation by creating openings on opposite sides of your retail space. This allows for cross ventilation, where fresh air enters through one opening and hot air exits through another, promoting air movement and cooling. If you are hoping to build a new retail space, perhaps talk to an interior designer experienced in retail design to find out how to make the most of your building while retaining optimal natural airflow.
- Ducted Ventilation: larger retail premises can introduce fresh, conditioned air through ceiling ducts and grilles and return the air to exterior air handling units. Mechanical heat recovery can be designed as part of this scheme to work very effectively in recovering heat that has built up in the space to re-introduce where required.
- Air Purification: Consider using air purifiers or air filters to improve indoor air quality. These devices can remove allergens, pollutants, and odours, creating a healthier and more pleasant environment for customers and employees.
Install a New Air Conditioning System
If your current air conditioning system is outdated or inefficient, it may be time to invest in a new, energy-efficient unit. When choosing an air conditioning system, consider the size and layout of your retail space, as well as the specific cooling requirements. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Energy Efficiency: Opt for an energy-efficient air conditioning system that can provide the cooling capacity you need while minimising energy consumption. Look for systems with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings and consider those with additional features such as programmable thermostats or zone control. The latest refrigerants such as R32 are also more energy efficient and have a lower global warming potential, thus improving your carbon footprint.
- Zoning: If your retail space has different areas with varying cooling needs, consider a zoned air conditioning system. Zoning allows you to customise temperature settings for different zones, ensuring optimal comfort and energy efficiency.
- Maintenance Contracts: When investing in a new air conditioning system, consider maintenance contracts offered by HVAC professionals. These contracts can provide regular servicing and inspections to ensure the system’s longevity and efficiency. New equipment usually comes with warranties of up to 7 years for some manufacturers, regular maintenance is required to uphold this valuable benefit.
- Smart Technology: Explore air conditioning systems that offer smart technology capabilities. These systems can be controlled remotely through smartphones or integrated with smart building management systems, allowing for efficient temperature control and energy management.
A well-designed and cool retail environment contributes to customer satisfaction, increased sales, and sets your business apart in a competitive market. Stay ahead by keeping your building cool and ensuring a pleasant shopping experience for your valued customers.
If you need a new AC or ventilation system designed for your store, or if you require maintenance on an existing system, Total Environmental Kooling can help. From our base in Bristol, our expert engineers work throughout the UK to provide incredible HVAC solutions to businesses and individuals. Call us today on 0117 952 3355, or fill in our online contact form.