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Solutions for Cooling a Shipping Container

David Jones - 21 Oct 2019

Shipping containers may possess the robustness and resilience to meet business demands and requirements, but when it comes to maintaining an even temperature, their functionality is greatly impaired.

Comprised of reinforced steel, their capacity to conduct heat is astounding, consequently compromising the quality of stock in the process.

In this respect, effective insulation can be utilised to create either a habitable space, or optimum conditions for your stock.

By using spray foam to insulate your shipping container, you avoid energy loss, as well as protect it from high humidity and strident sun glare.

We delve into the details of protecting stock quality from extremes of heat or cold and explore solutions for cooling a shipping container.

Types of Container

The purpose of your shipping container will have a major bearing on its cooling requirements, with usage determining the most appropriate method to use.

Although comprised of steel, even their resolute robustness cannot fully protect them from the penetrating glare of the sun.

For most containers, window and door frames provide the predominant leakage points, with even the most minor of weaknesses enabling warm air to waft its way within, making for stuffy and stifling conditions.

Add to this the fact that container walls are typically thin, and you have a recipe for potential disaster in the Summer months, with high temperatures playing havoc with the stock that’s stored inside.

In contrast, sufficiently insulated containers experience far less temperature fluctuations. Stock quality is largely dependent on the maintenance of an average internal temperature, so the fact that spray foam can help to combat climatic extremes proves particularly beneficial in this respect.

But, there are solutions to cooling a shipping container and we are going to explore them now.

Types of Refrigeration Systems

Active Systems

Active cooling systems, like compression systems and air conditioners use power or generators to maintain the temperature inside the box.

If your storage needs are specific, then a thermostat can provide you with greater control over cooling your container.

The addition of a thermostat enables you to set the device to the desired temperature, meaning that you cool the internal area to exactly the right temperature, ensuring you attain optimum storage conditions.

Passive Systems

Passive cooling systems use phase change materials to not only achieve the required temperature, but also to ensure that once met, they’re also maintained.

A cost-effective cooling solution, passive systems are particularly suited to transportation, although they are undeniably less efficient than other alternatives.

Cooling a Shipping Container Solution 1: Box Fan Benefits

The standard shape of shipping container homes is an elongated rectangle, which although creating the illusion of additional space, poses more restrictions on the cooling methods that can be considered.

To create cool container conditions, box fans can offer a savvy solution, when placed in the appropriate positions.

The trick is you need to use one to blow the cold air in and another to blow the hot air out. Think of a traditional push/pull system, and you get the general idea.

To enhance efficacy, you should place a box fan at the north facing windows and openings; this way you should get the benefit of any cooling, Northern breezes, to combat the stultifying sun from the South.

Read on, there’s more solutions for cooling a shipping container coming up..

Cooling a Shipping Container Solution 2: Heatproof Your Roof

Another smart and successful strategy to deploy before Summer is heatproofing your container roof.

Roof type plays a critical role in determining internal temperature. A reflective, metal roof with a slight slope yields the most benefit, not only in terms of affordability, but also in terms of the rate of overall heat reduction as well.

It achieves this by reflecting the radiant heat right back into the atmosphere, preventing it from penetrating into the internal area of the container.

You’d be wise to avoid implementing darker roof materials, such as asphalt, as these will only serve to absorb the sun’s heat, and transmit this into your home-something that’s best avoided.

Colour also influences internal temperature. To attain maximum benefit, it’s wise to opt for white, as this reflects the majority of rays, away from the containers.

Cooling a Shipping Container Solution 3: Construct it with Cooling in Mind

Without adequate insulation, your container can easily feel like a greenhouse in Summer.

To solve this common conundrum, you should aim to design the container in such a way as to use the natural environment to complement your cooling efforts.  Shaded areas provide the ideal conditions, filtering out the worst of the glare, whilst simultaneously providing a beautiful backdrop to complement your container.


Ultimate Solutions for Cooling a Shipping Container: Spray Foam Insulation

Out of all the solutions for cooling a shipping container, spray foam insulation is a versatile long-term improvement that can be installed quickly and with minimum hassle.

Indeed, in many cases it can be installed in less than a day, with its unrivalled flexibility expanding to fit into even the most niche of projects, providing a superior seal that stands the test of time.

For shipping containers, spray foam’s innate flexibility proves particularly beneficial.  Containers possess limited available space to work with, rendering bulkier materials, such as wool or fibreglass, inappropriate for the job at hand.

In terms of key areas to insulate, you should prioritise external and internal walls, as well as considering spraying foam on the underside of your container, to prevent any moisture trapped in the ground from infiltrating your container’s interior.

Have we given you enough types of solutions for cooling a shipping container?

Why not take a look at our definitive guide to preventing cold bridging or learn about retrofit insulation systems

Ready to take the plunge with your next project?  Whether you’re re-purposing it for a living space, or simply keen to improve internal conditions for your stock, spray foam offers a multi-purpose solution to alleviate temperature extremes.

Book your free site survey today by calling 0800 1700 135 to find out more. Alternatively, follow this link to fill out our Online Form.

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