There’s more time and light in the summer to work on your hobbies. If you have a unique space where you work on art, carpentry, welding, music, or any other activity, you’re going to want to keep it comfortable even when the temperatures outside aren’t.
Excessive heat is not only unsustainable for you, it can also cause damage to the things that you have inside your workshop space. During the summer, you need to keep the heat from coming in, get the hot air out, and cool down or air condition the space in some manner. There are alternatives to traditional air conditioning that could be perfect for your alternative work space.
Use trees, vines, and other plants to keep your space cool. It’s easier to beat the heat by blocking it with a shield of shade instead of removing it after it gets inside. Add or grow shade trees or other shade-providing plants, such as vines, on the south-facing side of your shop. You will want to research the best plants for your region, and also take into consideration that although you will want shade from the sun in the summer to keep your shop cool, you will want the warming rays in the winter when you want your shop to stay warm.
White Oak, American Hornbeam, American Beach, Black Gum, and Red Maple, are just a few of the many beautiful shade tree and plant options for outside your home and work space. You can choose to plant a bare-root shade tree on your own, just be sure to plant it with enough time for it to be grown enough and advantageous for the summer months. Vines that grow on trellises and do well in shade or partial shade include Pipeline, Boston Ivy, Clematis, and Trumpet Creeper. You will need to research which trees and vines are best for your specific space and regional climate.
An awning isn’t just for a commercial shop. You can install an awning over the doorway of your workshop to achieve a stylish and effective alternative to electric cooling. An awning over a doorway or window can significantly reduce solar heat gain — 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. The most durable awnings are going to be made from water-resistant acrylic and polyvinyl laminates, not canvas.
Another element that will prolong the life of your awning is retractability. Awnings that are retractable take into consideration that the needs for summer and winter are oppositional, and it does not always need to be up. Awnings are an exterior covering, while blinds, or even curtains, would be an interior window covering. Most likely you will not be using curtains in your garage or woodworking space, so blinds are the most logical interior window covering that you will turn to. Blinds also will decrease the solar heat gain in your space, especially on any windows that receive direct sunlight. Learn more about window treatments for energy savings.
Fight heat infiltration with proper insulation. Insulation is the absolute most effective way to keep the summer heat out (and in winter, of course, keep the heat in) and ensure comfortable year-round conditions. You need to be sure the walls and ceilings, and doors and windows are properly insulated.
There are many different types of insulation, including blow-in materials, that you can add to the existing walls and ceiling of your shop:
- fiberglass rolls
- rigid foam
- spray foams
- mineral wood
You should always consult with a professional with any questions you might have about the best material to use for your specific space and needs. If your current doors and windows are not insulated well, do not fit properly, and are allowing hot air to come in, you may want to consider getting new energy-saving doors and windows fitted into the space. Nowadays you can purchase doors that are Energy Star certified, each with different levels of insulation, known as their R-level. When it comes to windows, they are also labelled with pertinent information. A window’s U-factor will tell you its level of thermal conductivity; the lower the U-factor, the better insulated the window.
Many shop spaces are not properly ventilated. Since you are going to be working in a shop for long periods of time, potentially around sawdust, paint, and chemicals, you will need to think about how you are going to add fresh air into the space. It’s a good idea to use fans to push out the hot air and pull in the cool air. There are a variety of ventilation systems available that exchange heat and humidity with the incoming and outgoing airstreams for optimal energy efficiency, such as heat recovery ventilators (HRV) and energy recovery ventilators (ERV). You can also install a spot exhaust ventilation system, similar to the one you might find in your bathroom or kitchen.
The top air cooling/conditioning systems to choose from are:
- traditional air conditioner
- mini-split system
- portable evaporative coolers
You will need to decide based on your climate and the location of the workshop on your property how strong of a cooling system you will need in the space. It may turn out that although you employ other methods, you still need to install a conventional air conditioner in order to keep the space at a healthy temperature. You may also need a portable dehumidifier to remove moisture, which can cool down the space by keeping the air drier.
To keep your shop space cool, comfortable, and functional, consider implementing one or more of these cooling strategies. For help staying cool in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, where summers can get extremely hot and humid, contact the experts Sobieski Services. We'll make sure you have the smartest cooling system for your shop space so you can work in peace and comfort.
Hobbies aren't much fun when you're dripping sweat. Keep your shop cool with a quick call to Sobieski: 866-477-4404.