So, you’ve opted for a steel building for domestic or business use. Whether its purpose is storage, retail, manufacturing, or even to house a shooting range, you’re likely to want to keep it cool inside when the sun is beating down.
You may have had experiences of working or shopping in a steel structure when the temperatures start to climb, but things have changed. There are ways of staying cool and comfortable when you’re under that steel roof.
Before we start, it’s worth mentioning that in many countries, there is a formulated and agreed set of Energy Efficiency Building Codes (EEBC) that are administered by government energy departments. In the USA, this responsibility is devolved and administered at the state level, including in Arizona.
These codes consider the local climate, temperature ranges, and extremes of weather and temperature. The most efficient building insulation methods can then be determined and applied. Without going into detail, the point here is that help and advice are readily available.
Let’s look at several options for keeping the inside of your steel building cool and comfortable.
Darker colors absorb heat, while lighter colors will reflect heat. Paints are widely available for roof coating, including some that are specifically designed to do this job. These specialist paints are available in many colors, although light colors are still the most effective.
Roof insulation may seem an obvious solution, but it can come in many forms and range of materials. It must keep you cool in the summer and stop heat from escaping during the colder months. This is where the EEBC comes into play.
The Energy Efficiency Building Code for the area in which your building is located will largely determine the level and type of insulation you require. Talk to the Arizona Department for Energy to get expert help and advice. They have an active program to increase energy efficiency in the state.
Windows and Doors
Your windows and doors will offer little resistance to heat and sunlight without some intervention. There are things you can do to improve this, the obvious of which is to keep window blinds closed. In addition, you can install overhangs and awnings above windows and doors that will cast a shadow and protect them from direct sunlight.
You can install reflective coatings on the glass, which typically come in the shape of an easy-to-apply film. Another way of shielding doors and windows against direct sunlight is to plant trees that cast an appropriate shadow. This will have the bonus of creating a nicer and more ecological working environment.
Heating and Ventilation (HVAC)
Heating and ventilation may seem obvious, but its installation and proper maintenance are not to be taken lightly.
A specialist will design the system to optimize airflow throughout the building so that every corner of the premises gets an equal and regular feed of reconditioned warm or cool air. Filters should be regularly cleaned or changed and temperature regulating thermostats checked and, if necessary, recalibrated.
Poor maintenance mustn’t cause the system to fight against itself, thereby reducing its efficiency. It is also a good idea to instill a culture amongst staff that the HVAC should not be tampered with. For example, taped-up vents will not only create inefficiencies but will result in some people getting an increased or reduced ventilation feed.
There are many ways to insulate your steel building against the soaring heat of an Arizona summer, but they should be considered carefully. It is a delicate balancing act, not least between summer heat and winter cold.
There are experts available to discuss options, including those in the state Department for Energy.