If you struggle with the need to keep your bakery employees cool during the hot summer months but don't want to send a quarter's worth of profits to the utility company, you may be wondering whether you have any options short of shutting down the ovens during summer. Fortunately, technological advances have made it easier than ever before to keep your bakery employees cool and comfortable without using a disproportionate amount of electricity. Read on to learn more about some air conditioning systems that are especially equipped to handle a bakery's specific needs.
Zone air conditioning
If many of your workers stand in one area for most of the day, you may be able to get by with a type of air conditioner that directs cold air only to these spaces, allowing the rest of the bakery to heat up. This helps keep the air conditioner from running constantly in an attempt to cool the entire bakery down to the thermostat setting while still allowing your employees to feel comfortable.
These systems operate by pulling air from the outside and forcing it through an insulated ventilation pipe and compressor, where it is cooled and dehumidified. This cool, dry air is then pumped through insulated vents that are directed straight at your employees. Workers who are frequently standing before a hot stove or oven can be provided with what is essentially their own personal air conditioner, and these units often use less electricity than your current unit. While these systems can only cool the outside air by about 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, they should be able to keep your employees' working areas at a habitable temperature even when the mercury climbs to 100 or higher.
If your bakery has a public lobby or dining area, you may opt to either extend this zone air conditioning out to this area or utilize a smaller individual air conditioner that can be inexpensively and unobtrusively installed.
Heat ventilation systems
One reason your summer electricity bills are so high is because your air conditioner is in a constant battle with your ovens and other appliances. As soon as an oven opens, the ambient temperature in the room rises, giving your air conditioner the signal it needs to kick on. If one or more ovens opens near a thermostat, the air conditioner may start running even while the rest of the room is still at a comfortable temperature.
By quickly removing this hot air before it has a chance to spread, you'll reduce your energy consumption while keeping your employees cool. Installing heavy-duty air vents above each oven and stove, and ensuring they're constantly running during business hours, can help you get by without replacing your air conditioner or paying high summer energy prices. The amount of energy utilized by high-powered fans is much less than that used by a single air conditioning compressor, so making this change should pay off in the long run.
As a bonus, ventilating your business's cookie- and cake-scented air to the outside can help draw in customers who just can't resist the scent of freshly baked goods. You'll also be able to reduce the humidity in your bakery by ventilating this hot interior air, lowering the odds of employee slip-and-fall injuries and minimizing the effect of moisture on your final products.
If you live in a temperate climate and often find yourself paying high heating bills in the winter (despite your regular use of the ovens), you may want to look into a heat waste recycling system to see whether this would be a feasible use for the air now coming from your building. These systems can take your ventilated air and condense the heat from it, storing it for future use or even using it to generate energy.
For more information on your summer cooling options, contact a commercial air conditioning company like Robinson Heating & Cooling Inc.