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Portable Cooling: Preparation and Planning

March 11, 2011 - HVAC

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is developing a plan for portable cooling.

For managers to realize the full benefits of a temporary cooling system, they must carefully evaluate their buildings' requirements and select the system that most closely meets the needs of their facilities. Planning is the key, but it is difficult, at best, to plan once the cooling service has failed.

The first step in the process is to identify the most critical areas within a facility that would be most adversely affected by the loss of cooling. Not all areas are equally important. Cooling might be necessary to keep computers and other critical electronic equipment operating, or it might provide comfort only. Managers need to determine the impact a loss of cooling services would have on operations.

Next, determine the extent of any potential disruption. Would it be localized in isolated areas within a building, or would it be building-wide? Managers can address localized, temporary cooling requirements through the use of spot, portable systems. More widespread outages might require a building-wide solution.

Another option — one that would not require additional equipment — is to determine if it is possible to temporarily relocate the operations affected by the outage to another location within the facility.

Managers need to evaluate a number of factors before selecting a temporary or portable cooling system. One of the most important steps in this phase is to determine the capacity of the required cooling system. Specify a system that is too small, and the area might not cool properly. Specify one that is too large, and the result will be inefficient operation, frequent cycling of the unit, excessive noise, and improper humidity control.

Managers can develop quick estimates of cooling loads by looking at the power requirements of all equipment operating in the space. They also can ensure more accurate load calculations by having engineers perform the calculations.


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