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When it comes to storing sensitive inventory items, climate controlled-warehousing is a game changer. But exactly how does it differ from other types of warehousing?

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. This is the most defining factor in the relationship between climate and temperature controlled warehousing. Let’s take a closer look and make sure a climate controlled facility really is the right fit for you.

What is a Climate Controlled Warehouse?

By definition, a climate-controlled warehouse is a storage facility equipped with environmental control systems that maintain a consistent and precise range of interior factors. These include temperature, humidity, and air quality designed to preserve the quality and integrity of stored goods.

Depending on the nature of the supply chain sector, the environmental control systems of a climate-controlled warehouse may include heating, ventilation, air conditioning, dehumidification, and air filtration equipment to regulate and monitor storage conditions.

For products that must avoid hot and cold extremes, “Climate Controlled” is another way of describing “room temperature”, or normal storage conditions that must maintain a range between 56°F (13.3°C) and 75°F (23.9°C) in a consistent atmosphere.

What’s the Difference Between a Climate Controlled Warehouse and a Temperature Controlled Warehouse?

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. This is the most defining factor in the relationship between climate and temperature controlled warehousing.

In other words, a temperature controlled facility focuses on temperature conditions whereas a climate controlled warehouse manages both temperature and humidity.

Climate and Temperature Controlled Warehousing Compared

Climate Controlled Warehouse:
Advantages: Dehumidifiers and air quality monitoring help you keep mold, dust mites, mildew, etc. from growing on your goods.
Disadvantages: Operationally top-heavy and not easily accessible.
Building Type: A climate-controlled facility is generally a much larger area comprised of multiple floors.
Operational Cost: Compared to temperature-controlled facilities, climate controlled units tend to cost approximately 15 to 20 % more.
Environmental Management: Climate controlled warehouses incorporate modern equipment such as HVAC along with thermostats to control and maintain optimal interior environmental conditions – the use of dehumidifiers instead of air conditions constituting the primary difference.

Temperature Controlled Warehouse:
Advantage: Ability to protect inventory from drastic temperature extremes associated with external conditions.
Disadvantage: Does not control relative humidity levels.
Building Design: Temperature controlled warehouses are typically part of larger warehouse facilities and relatively small compared to climate controlled units.
Operational Cost: Relative to climate controlled facilities requirements and size, temperature controlled warehouse are not that expensive. Being more agreeable to budgetary constraints, they can be easier managed based on customer requirements.
Environmental Management: Similar to climate controlled units, temperature-controlled warehouses need to be constantly monitored to maintain temperatures. As AI technology and equipment have advanced, the same monitoring work can be done more efficiently and send alerts for extraordinary temperature fluctuations.

Importance of Climate Controlled Warehousing

While a temperature-controlled warehouse maintains a consistent temperature range, a climate-controlled warehouse maintains a stable temperature, humidity, and air quality. Climate-controlled warehousing is critical for the storage of sensitive goods which can be damaged by fluctuations in humidity and air quality in addition to temperature.

Types of Products That Require Climate Controlled Storage

The range of products that flow through the climate-controlled supply chain are fairly diverse and part of our daily lives. Some of the items that may require climate-controlled storage include:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Electronics
  • Artwork
  • Wine
  • Food items with a short shelf life
  • Sensitive documents
  • Cosmetics
  • And natural fibers such as wool and silk.

These products and many others can be sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and air quality, and require precise environmental control to ensure their quality and longevity.

What Certifications are Required?

In Canada, the regulatory certification required to operate a climate-controlled warehouse depends on the type of products stored. For example, along with SQF and HACCP certification, food products may require compliance with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), while pharmaceuticals may require adherence to the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines.

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations formed January 15, 2019

In the United States, the regulatory certification required to operate a climate-controlled warehouse depends on the location, type of products stored, and whether the warehouse engages in interstate commerce. For example, food products stored in a climate-controlled warehouse may require compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), while pharmaceuticals may require adherence to the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) guidelines.

Current Good Manufacturing Practices

Current Good Manufacturing Practices originally finalized in April of 1969

Both countries have additional certifications that can be pursued, such as the ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems and the ISO 22000 for food safety management systems.

How Climate Controlled Warehousing Works

A climate-controlled warehouse system works by using environmental control systems to regulate nature of the storage space within the facility. The specific mechanisms of a climate-controlled warehouse system may vary, but generally involve the following components:

  1. Temperature control: Temperature control systems are used to maintain a consistent temperature range within the warehouse. This may involve heating, cooling, or both, depending on the climate and the products being stored.
  2. Humidity control: Humidity control systems are used to maintain a consistent level of moisture in the air. This can help prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria, which can damage products and compromise their quality.
  3. Air quality control: Air quality control systems are used to filter and circulate the air within the warehouse, removing contaminants and ensuring a clean, healthy environment.
  4. Monitoring and automation: Climate-controlled warehouse systems often include monitoring and automation tools that allow operators to track environmental conditions in real-time and make adjustments as needed to maintain optimal storage conditions.

Together, these components work to create a controlled environment that preserves the quality and integrity of the products being stored in the warehouse.

Benefits of a Climate Controlled Facility

Compared to facilities that are only temperature controlled, using a climate-controlled warehouse to handle your products offers several key benefits:

  1. Preservation of product quality: Because a climate-controlled warehouse maintains precise levels of temperature, humidity, and air quality, these warehouses can help preserve the quality and integrity of products that are highly sensitive to atmospheric conditions.
  2. Extended shelf life: By maintaining optimal storage conditions, a climate-controlled warehouse can extend the shelf life of products, reducing waste and increasing profitability.
  3. Protection against damage: Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause products to warp, crack, or otherwise become damaged due to a lack of environmental control. A climate-controlled warehouse protects against these risks, reducing the likelihood of product loss or damage.
  4. Regulatory compliance: Some products, such as pharmaceuticals and food items, require specific storage conditions to comply with regulatory guidelines. A climate-controlled warehouse can ensure compliance with these regulations, reducing the risk of regulatory penalties or product recalls.

Overall, a climate-controlled warehouse provides a higher level of control over an interior environment and offers better protection for sensitive products over a facility that is only temperature controlled.

Trust Brimich for Your Environment-Controlled Warehousing Needs

With over 500,000 square feet of food-grade ambient warehousing and more than 275,000 square feet of food-grade cold storage space, Brimich is fully capable of handling your temperature controlled storage needs.

SQF Certification

Contact us today to learn more about our HACCP compliant and SQF certified food-grade facilities.