When you have a large amount of inventory to store, warehousing becomes the first step in your supply chain and logistics planning. However, temperature-sensitive products require a certain type of storage, such as a climate controlled warehouse.
A climate-controlled warehouse can protect your sensitive products from things like:
- Unpredictable climate fluctuations
- Extreme temperatures (including cold extremes)
- High humidity
- Dust mites
Climate controlled warehouses can also extend the shelf life of perishable items, so nothing goes to waste.
Below, we’ll talk more about what climate-controlled warehousing is, how it works, and the top benefits it’s associated with. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Climate Controlled Warehouse?
A climate-controlled warehouse is defined as a storage facility that’s equipped with an environmental control system. This system is designed to maintain a consistent and precise temperature range and to control air quality humidity levels in order to preserve the quality of the products being stored.
Depending on the nature of the products, businesses may choose a climate-controlled warehouse equipped to include several of the following:
- Cooling (or cold storage)
- Air conditioning
- Air filtration
- Regular monitoring of storage conditions
The types of products and perishable items that can benefit from climate controlled warehouses include:
- Fresh produce and other food items
- Certain types of beverages, including wine
- Items made from natural wood and leather
- Sensitive documents
- Cosmetics and skincare items
Essentially anything that requires specific temperatures to retain usability, quality, and stability before getting to its final destination belongs in a climate controlled warehouse.
How a Climate-Controlled Warehouse Works
Climate-controlled warehouse systems work via environmental control systems. These systems regulate the entire environment within the storage space and facility, and they typically involve the specific mechanisms as follows:
- Temperature Control Systems: Temperature control systems are used to maintain the perfect temperature range within the entire warehouse. This typically involves cooling, heating (sometimes both), depending on what products are being stored.
- Humidity Control Systems: Humidity control systems work to maintain a consistent level of moisture in each unit. This helps to prevent mold growth, mildew growth, and the growth of other bacteria that can negatively impact air quality and product quality.
- Air Quality Control Systems: Air quality control systems work to filter and circulate the air within the warehouse and its units. This helps to remove any contaminants, dust, and debris to maintain a clean and healthy environment.
- Monitoring and Automation Systems: Monitoring and automation systems are usually included in climate controlled warehouses to ensure that business owners or warehouse operators are able to track the conditions of their units in real time. These systems will alert the person in charge of any changes or imminent events and allow them to make adjustments where needed to maintain the necessary storage conditions.
Climate Controlled Warehouses Vs Temperature Controlled Warehouses
Climate controlled warehousing is often used as a catch-all term, representing any type of storage requiring certain temperature levels. However, there is a distinct difference between a climate controlled warehouse and a temperature-controlled warehouse — and it mostly has to do with humidity control.
- Climate controlled warehouses are designed to control both humidity and temperature at a precise level that’s best for storing certain items. When it comes to climate-controlled warehousing, every degree counts, as does dehumidification — which is why these storage facilities are best for everything from fresh produce to leather and wood furniture.
- Temperature controlled warehouses work by maintaining the required temperature range by utilizing both heating and cooling equipment. Depending on the season, the temperature will be maintained and controlled by the owner of the facility or storage unit so that it can be altered as needed. However, temperature-controlled warehouses do not protect the contents within from humidity — only the temperature extremes associated with the changing of the season.
Other key differences between a climate controlled warehouse and temperature controlled warehouse include:
- Temperature-controlled warehouses are generally part of a larger warehouse whereas climate controlled warehouses have a much different design. They typically comprise several floors, making them a stand-alone facility with significantly more storage space.
- Climate controlled warehouse units are equipped with modern technology that allows them to maintain consistent conditions automatically. Temperature controlled warehouses must be constantly monitored to ensure the correct conditions are maintained.
- Temperature controlled units can be less expensive as there are fewer requirements involved for maintaining conditions. Climate controlled units are typically between 15% and 20% more expensive as they’re required to perform more precisely in order to preserve the freshness of perishable items and protect sensitive items from humidity and poor air quality.
The 7 Benefits of Climate Controlled Warehouses
The cost of a climate controlled warehouse is often the biggest factor in influencing business owners’ storage decisions. If you’re a business owner looking to reduce your warehousing costs, you may be wondering whether or not a climate controlled warehouse is really necessary.
In many instances, climate controlled warehousing is essential. This is especially true if you’re working with any of the products or items listed above. Therefore, your first priority should be to recognize whether or not your temperature sensitive items can survive certain conditions, such as hot and cold extremes, varying humidity levels, air quality fluctuations, and so on.
Now, let’s dive into the seven benefits of climate controlled warehousing:
1) Protection From Temperature Fluctuation
The only type of storage unit that can protect your products and items from temperature and climate fluctuation is a climate control warehouse. Standard storage units, including temperature-controlled warehouses, aren’t equipped to maintain consistent conditions 24/7. Climate-controlled warehouses utilize a combination of ventilation, insulation, and temperature monitoring (which includes sensors) to ensure the conditions remain the same no matter the time of day, season, or weather event.
2) Humidity Maintenance
Certain items can handle temperature changes but not humidity. For instance, wooden furniture suffers greatly in humid conditions as it will swell and become deformed from the excess heat and moisture to the point where it will start to splinter. What’s more, certain regions that see a lot of rain or significant temperature fluctuations between day and night make it difficult for humidity levels to be maintained. While dry rooms were once thought to be best for artisan items, climate controlled storage units are much better as they have specific levels of humidity at all times to preserve delicate items.
3) Protection From Dust, Debris, and Damage
Climate controlled units come with several layers of protection on top of insulation — all of which lends itself to protecting the units’ contents against dust and debris. Ideally, all types of warehousing should take measures of protection against dust and debris, but this becomes harder to achieve as the units become larger. Climate controlled units are equipped with safety systems and management systems that allow them to be monitored constantly for temperature fluctuations, humidity, air quality, and issues within the system. Not only will the items being stored stay clean, but if an issue arises with the unit itself, the owner will be notified right away.
4) Protection Against Insect Activity
Climate controlled warehousing also protects stored items against insect activity, including dust mites, termites, ants, and other species that can damage the contents within. This is done through the layers of protection mentioned above, as they seal off any potential entry points to ensure that nothing can get inside. This is important regardless of whether fresh produce is being stored or artwork, as various insects can and will eat through these items.
5) Preservation of Product Quality
Because climate controlled warehousing maintains consistent and precise levels of humidity, temperature, and air quality, the integrity of whatever is being stored will be protected. This means that anything highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations and environmental conditions will remain in excellent condition and won’t degrade while being stored.
6) Extended Shelf Life
In addition to preserving the quality of the products being stored, climate controlled warehouses are also able to extend the shelf life of those products. Once again, this is thanks to maintaining precise levels of temperature, humidity, and air quality. Not only does this affect your bottom line as a business by increasing profitability, but it also reduces unnecessary waste, which is equally important to your bottom line as it is the environment.
7) Automatic Regulatory Compliance
Certain products, including pharmaceuticals and various food items, require specific storage conditions under federal law. Therefore, business owners must ensure that their storage choices comply with the regulatory guidelines so they don’t face harsh penalties. Climate controlled warehouses automatically guarantee compliance due to design as they maintain specific conditions at all times, which reduces the risk of any regulatory penalties and unwanted product recalls.
Trust APX for Your Climate-Controlled Warehouse
A climate controlled warehouse is a significant investment — but it’s an investment that pays off. Using climate controlled warehousing for your storage needs will ensure that any items pertinent to your profits will remain in perfect condition and maintain their freshness or structural integrity, leaving little room for error and waste.
When it comes to building a business, storage will likely be one of the many components involved. APX Construction Group can assist you with the building of your initial project from the ground up, providing you with a full suite of professionals that can handle everything from your pre-construction planning to facility maintenance. Contact us today to get started!