4 benefits of evaporative cooling for productivity in the workplace

In this article, we discuss the benefits of evaporative cooling in terms of productivity within work environments in medium to large production facilities.

Production processes generate significant amounts of heat, released by operating machinery. As external and internal temperatures rise during the summer, this factor significantly affects the productivity of personnel within work environments.

It often becomes challenging in these large spaces to maintain a comfortable temperature during the hot season, leading to discomfort for employees’ health.

Heat stress: effects on productivity

Heat stress, commonly known as heat stress, is one of the main causes of fainting and illness in the workplace. It can lead to numerous consequences for workers’ health, their safety, and, consequently, company productivity.

According to the Ministry of Health, “Heat stress occurs when the body’s thermoregulation system fails. Air temperature, intense work pace, ventilation, humidity, and work clothing are all factors that can contribute to heat stress.”

The body responds to heat by increasing blood flow to the skin and sweating, allowing it to cool down. When the body loses 2% of its body weight through sweating, heat stress is present.

In this situation, visual and motor control, memory, and attention decrease, and dehydration caused by heat stress reduces reaction times by up to 20%.

These findings are reported in a productivity study conducted by NASA, which shows that as temperature increases, the error rate exponentially rises, and productivity consequently decreases.

This leads to:

  • Illness, cramps, heat strokes, and subsequent sick days for staff;
  • Reduced ability to respond to stimuli and unforeseen dangers, resulting in increased distraction;
  • Higher risk of injuries such as slips, falls, and injuries caused by contact with objects or equipment.

The consequent sick leaves, mood decline, and safety issues related to heat stress can significantly compromise productivity.

Stress termico_ gli effetti sulla produttività

Why are production facilities sensitive to heat?

Industrial plants are characterized by high ceilings and are often poorly insulated, making it difficult to maintain a constant and comfortable temperature, especially during the summer.

Additionally, the presence of further heat sources such as machinery, ovens, and equipment does not help, making the situation even more complex to manage. Machinery, in particular, is sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and excessive heat in the work environment can cause them to overheat, leading to production process shutdowns.

These factors make production facilities particularly sensitive to heat, making it essential to find a solution for summer air conditioning.

Installing a traditional air conditioning system is often challenging, as the installation of ducted systems can be an obstacle to the movement of some equipment, such as overhead cranes. In other cases, installing a traditional air conditioning system may be unfeasible due to the size of the plant or be very costly in terms of initial investments and management costs.

In specific sectors such as steelworks, automotive industries, glass molding industries, and bakery product manufacturing, work cycles are characterized by high heat intensity. In these production plants, ovens operate all day, and using fans is inefficient as they only circulate the hot air present in the department without effectively reducing its temperature.

In these cases, the most effective solution is using evaporative coolers, which can lower air temperature naturally through the evaporation of water.

What is evaporative cooling?

Evaporative cooling is the most natural, effective, and economical technological solution for summer air conditioning in industrial buildings and warehouses.
It is the ideal system in terms of comfort and performance, allowing for a healthy and comfortable work environment for employees, even on the hottest days, without wasting large amounts of energy and causing environmental pollution.

The installation cost is significantly lower than traditional air conditioning systems and is the ideal solution for various sectors and processes.

How does evaporative cooling work?

Evaporative coolers utilize the natural principle of water evaporation for their operation. Water acts as a natural refrigerant.

Individual units draw in warm air from the outside, which, after being filtered, passes through water-soaked honeycomb pads. The air pushed by the fan gives up part of its heat to the water contained in the evaporative packs, thereby lowering its temperature.
The air is then released into the work environment at more comfortable temperatures.

Would you like to learn more about evaporative cooling? Visit this page.

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Benefits of evaporative cooling for productivity

The benefits of evaporative coolers in terms of productivity within work environments are numerous:

  • Improvement of thermal comfort;
  • Reduction of heat stress;
  • Increase in concentration and productivity;
  • Reduction of breaks.

Let’s delve into these benefits specifically.

1. Improvement of thermal comfort

A comfortable work environment is essential to keep employees motivated and productive.
Evaporative cooling creates the ideal microclimate for workers’ psychophysical well-being by reducing indoor temperatures without using refrigerant gases.

This system uses water evaporation to lower the temperature, making the air cooler and more humid. Enriching the air with the right amount of humidity is crucial to make the air more breathable and avoid the annoying feeling of dryness in the eyes and throat, a discomfort often felt when spending extended periods in a traditionally air-conditioned environment.

When workers feel physically comfortable in the work environment, they are less distracted by the heat and more focused on their tasks, thus improving overall productivity.

2. Reduction of heat stress

As previously explained, heat stress is a condition in which the body struggles to maintain a stable internal temperature due to an excessively hot external environment. This can lead to a reduction in cognitive and physical abilities, negatively affecting work performance.

Evaporative cooling significantly reduces heat stress by maintaining indoor temperatures at optimal levels. Consequently, employees can work without feeling fatigued or exhausted, improving their efficiency and performance. To ensure their health during the hottest hours of the day, it is recommended to arrange a break schedule appropriate to the worker’s physical effort and to ensure constant access to fresh water for hydration.

3. Increase in concentration and productivity

A cool and comfortable work environment helps maintain high concentration levels. When the temperature is too high, cognitive functions can slow down, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries, whether minor or severe.

Evaporative cooling creates the conditions to make the work environment sufficiently cool, improving employees’ concentration and performance. This results in more accurate work and increased overall productivity.

4. Reduction of breaks

In hot environments, employees tend to take more breaks to cool down and recover energy, which can reduce the time actually dedicated to work, leading to revenue loss for the company.

With evaporative cooling, the environment remains consistently cool, reducing the need for frequent breaks. Workers can maintain a steady work pace and spend more time on their tasks without interruptions. This increased efficiency directly reflects on company productivity.

Success case study on evaporative cooling: Forno Da Re

Forno Da Re, a producer of crispy breadsticks and various types of bread, always attentive to workplace comfort within its operations, needed to cool its production departments. These areas, where dough is shaped and breadsticks are manually laid out, became very hot during the summer. To avoid heat strokes, staff often had to suspend their work activities with frequent breaks.

It was sufficient to install two Eucold evaporative coolers to reduce the temperature in the production departments from 35 to 28 °C. Employees now no longer risk heat strokes and do not need to interrupt their activities as frequently as before.

Here are the words of Giovanni Da Re, owner of Forno Da Re along with his sons Leonardo and Jacopo:

"Our main fear was drying out the dough: if the airflow towards the dough was too intense and the air too dry, there was a risk of creating a film on the dough in a few minutes, which would dry it out. This never happened thanks to Eucold! We are truly thrilled with the result achieved; our staff can work in a comfortable environment without feeling fatigued from the heat."

Conclusion

Evaporative cooling represents the most efficient solution for cooling production plants and improving thermal comfort in work environments, with a significant impact on employee productivity. The benefits of this system are evident: reduction of heat stress, increased concentration, improved performance, and reduced breaks. All these factors contribute to creating a more comfortable and productive work environment.

Implementing an evaporative cooling system not only improves employees’ work life quality but also leads to energy savings and reduced operating costs for the company. As demonstrated in the case study, companies adopting this system can expect tangible improvements in both productivity and employee well-being.

If you want to learn more about how evaporative cooling can transform your work environment, improve your employees’ comfort, and increase company productivity, we invite you to visit the product page of EUCOLD – industrial water coolers. Discover all the available solutions and find the one that best suits your needs.