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Climate control for safe tented events

Business | June 1, 2019 | By:

Follow these tips to keep tented events cool and safe in warm months.

With 18 holes to play in summer’s desert-like heat, golf tournaments are always looking for ways to keep players and spectators cool.

One golf association hosts an annual tournament in Palm Desert, Calif., where temperatures can exceed 95 degrees F. This elite event had struggled to keep its VIP tent cool. With three clear plastic sides, the tent becomes like a greenhouse, making it extremely hard to control and maintain the desired temperature.

The golf association worked with a temporary power and cooling vendor to create a comfortable environment, resulting in a space that never exceeded 74 degrees F despite battling the “greenhouse effect,” the soaring summer temperatures and a tent full of people. The temperature, well below the customer’s original parameters, kept everyone cool and safe.

Whether you’re producing a golf event, concert or private party, it is essential to think about an event’s cooling needs to keep everyone comfortable and prevent heat-related issues ranging from food safety, presentation and equipment functioning to speaker/entertainer performance and guests’ desire to attend again. Here are some tips to keep your event cool, comfortable and safe. 

It is not one size fits all

Every event is unique, with various factors to consider such as weather conditions, venue size and number of people. When cooling an event, you must examine the size and type of tent (clear top or walls, translucent fabric or blackout fabric, hard or soft walls) to determine the best course of action. The rule of thumb is one ton of cooling for every 100 square feet for tents with solid tops and walls. For tents with transparent plastic walls, you may need three to four times more cooling because of the “greenhouse effect” mentioned in the earlier case study. 

Also, the temporary cooling system needs to compensate for the number of guests, since people create a lot of heat in the tent as well. So, work with a vendor with large-crowd experience to design a sophisticated cooling system to meet the needs of the event. 

Effective preplanning 

Air conditioning is sometimes the last thing event planners consider, which can be a costly mistake, as some prior event logistics decisions often drive cooling costs up unnecessarily.

Not only can air-conditioning systems be complex to cool the venue efficiently, but early planning is required to ensure the equipment doesn’t spoil the aesthetics of the space. Equipment often needs to fit within a tight space and may require cabling and air ducting to get the power, heating, cooling and airflow to where they’re needed. 

Additionally, advance planning helps ensure more accurate budgeting. 

Anticipate weather changes 

Spring and fall seasons are tricky for daylong events. While there is sweltering heat during the day, the temperature can quickly drop in the mornings and evenings in parts of the United States. It is vital that the vendor designs a temperature control system for cooling during the day, then adds heat for the chilly evenings. 

Remove moisture 

High humidity worsens the effect of heat, but dehumidifiers can remove the moisture. A refrigerated dehumidifier is an air conditioner with both hot and cold coils in the same unit. A fan draws the room’s air over the cold coils to condense the moisture, then moves the air through the hot coils to heat it to its original temperature. Installing dehumidifiers in high-use areas can help keep conditions more comfortable.

To keep a tent full of people cool, comfortable and safe during soaring summer temperatures, seek experts and engineers to work through the complexities of cooling and any others issues.

Now, let’s tee off. 

By Daryl Benz, events manager at Aggreko, a leading power, cooling and heating company. Benz is based in Bridgeport, N.J. For more, visit

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