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Should I choose evaporative cooling or air-conditioning?

5 min read
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Do you know the difference between evaporative cooling and air-conditioning? This article highlights the main differences and explains why evaporative cooling should sometimes be the preferred choice.

That really depends on what you need to cool and under what conditions you need the cooling. Typically, for big, open areas such as factory halls, hangars or warehouses, it is recommended to use an evaporative cooler instead of AC. Simply because it reduces your costs while creating natural air cooling.

This list illustrates some of the main differences:

Evaporative cooling:

  • Very energy efficient
  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Ideal in hot and dry climates
  • Delivers fresh air
  • Low installation costs
  • Minimal maintenance required
  • Adds moisture to the air
  • Ideal for use in open and well-ventilated
  • environments – open windows and doors OK

Air conditioning:

  • High energy usage
  • Comparably higher CO2 emissions
  • Effective in any climate
  • Recirculates air
  • High installation costs
  • Regular cleaning required
  • Removes moisture from the air
  • For closed environments only – open windows and doors not OK

While evaporative cooling is based on a very simple and natural principle used for centuries What is evaporative cooling and why is it good?, real air-conditioning requires the application of a refrigerant gas and a compressor that then cools the surrounding air down in an air-recirculation process. Air-conditioners are more complex and use more power than evaporative coolers. In turn, they can reduce air temperature more than evaporative coolers.

In general, the operating cost of an evaporative cooler is much lower than that of a central air-conditioner. The initial equipment cost is also lower than for comparable air-conditioner equipment. Most often, air-conditioners are impractical and operationally uneconomical for industrial environments because of their size and because doors are often open.

Evaporative cooling is inexpensive and green compared to all alternatives

In addition to low operating costs and simple installation, evaporative cooling is an ecofriendly alternative to traditional air-conditioners because it uses no refrigerants and just a fraction of the electricity required by other comparable cooling options.

On average, the cost of usage is just 10% of a traditional air-conditioning system. That means hundreds or thousands of euros in savings every year. For large, open areas like hangars or workshops with open doors there are no good alternatives. An air-conditioner is expensive and can cause health issues like dry throats. A fan does not really cool – it simply circulates hot air.

In terms of air-conditioning, many people tend to use it too often. That increases energy costs because it requires you to create and maintain a high temperature difference between indoor and outdoor environments.

Evaporative cooling eliminates heat stress in your factory

Climate conditions on the work floor directly influence the comfort and the efficiency of workers. According to a report released by REHVA in 2011, the ideal climate conditions are 23-25°C at 45-60% humidity. In industrial applications, this can be up to 27 degrees.

Often, temperatures in unconditioned environments exceed that level, for example in heat process industries that use ovens and foundries. This creates a risk of heat stress among workers, increasing the risk of accidents while also reducing productivity. The effects and costs of heat stress are not well documented by most companies. When an employee faints due to heat, it may well just be reported as a fainting incident without any apparent cause. Workers exposed to excessive temperatures (temperature, air velocity, humidity, sun and other elements that can cause heat) for too long will have trouble concentrating and may for instance dehydrate, go into cramps, feel dizzy or faint.

Traditional air-conditioning systems do not perform well in large, open areas, such as industrial factories or storages. In addition, to be effective in such environments, they will become very expensive to install and operate.

We recommend evaporative coolers because they generate a comfortable and fresh working environment for workers at a reasonable investment cost.

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