Recently there has been a real demand for more space in warehousing. One of the reasons is down to Brexit stockpiling amidst uncertainty surrounding the transition of goods across the border once we leave the EU. But, fit-for-purpose, appropriately located warehousing was already in desperately short supply in the UK. With that in mind, companies are increasingly looking at different ways to find the space they need and meet this new demand.
This has led to an increase in mezzanine floor usage and high bay racking for storage, both of which put products and/or people closer to roof lights and therefore, heat and glare. This leaves products and goods susceptible to spoilage (leading to subsequent losses), especially temperature sensitive products such as food and pharmaceuticals, and can make temperature control of storage areas even more difficult.
This can be a huge problem for workers too, as not only does it create uncomfortable working conditions, the HSE actually sees excessive glare from roof lights as a potential hazard, citing ‘natural light seen through windows or roof lights too bright’ and ‘excessive range of brightness’ as concerns that should be addressed by employers.
Additionally, heat gain through roof lights can also make the temperature rise to uncomfortable levels and the HSE also highlights the potential dangers of employees working with heat stress. Whilst there is no set upper limit for working conditions, the HSE states that employers should ‘take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable’ to maintain thermal comfort for employees.
Radiant temperature has a greater influence than air temperature on how we lose or gain heat to the environment, and the sun is a major source of radiant temperature, especially when beating down through roof lights. The Met Office has already predicted that the world will reach record breaking temperatures in 2019, expecting around 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, bringing it close to the record-breaking heat seen in 2016.
So how can warehouses combat these issues? In these instances, Westgate’s Easipanel solution can be used to prevent roof light heat and glare spoiling products on high bay racking, diffuse light from roof lights to maintain required levels of temperatures for health and safety and can even drastically reduce product fading from UV rays.
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Easipanel is manufactured using multiwall polycarbonate sheets that are custom designed and installed to suit your building’s bespoke roof light configuration. The installation methods and components used ensure that no damage is done to the existing roof or roof lights, which is a real benefit if the warehouse is being rented.
Through Easipanel, dependent on the environment, a heat reduction of approximately 53% can be achieved, as well as approximately 55% shading coefficient. This can be done whilst still maintaining up to 50% of natural light, which is more than is achieved with the alternative of painting the roof lights.
Instead of relying solely on HVAC units to control the temperature within the warehouse, Easipanel reduces the amount of heat transmitted from roof lights in a more cost-effective way. Additionally, rooftop HVAC units are exposed to the most extreme temperatures and weather and besides facing climate challenges from Mother Nature, rooftop units are more subject to the adverse effects of pollution. If pollutants cover a unit’s components, they can cause it to lose efficiency and work even harder, which can then lead to a breakdown. Warehouses could then be left without a way to decrease the temperature within the warehouse.
Learn more about Easipanel…