The year was 1968. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was actively participating in Space Race, and had their sights set on landing a manned spacecraft on the moon. The Soviets had landed an unmanned craft on the lunar surface way back in 1959, a feat duplicated by the United States a few years later. So, we knew we could get there, but the question remained: could we get human beings to the moon (and back) safely?
To find out, NASA first had to discern the ideal conditions for human performance, and how performance degraded as certain conditions changed. In 1968, NASA conducted a thorough review of all the studies that had been done on human performance and compiled them into one document called the Compendium of Human Responses to the Aerospace Environment. They had multiple goals for this project, but most importantly, they aimed, “To ultimately provide for every critical environmental parameter a statement regarding (a) the range of normal function, (b) the range above and below normal where performance is impaired, and (c) the tolerance limits.”
Multiple factors were studied for this project, including light, rotary acceleration, zero and sub-zero gravity, nutrition, and variety of others. Basically, NASA was trying to figure out what the ideal environment would be for their astronauts to function at an optimal level, and how they could expect the astronaut’s capabilities to degrade as those factors became less than ideal.
How a hot environment decreases performance
While all this is interesting stuff, you may be asking yourself, “why is a fan manufacturer writing a blog about it?” Well, here’s why: one of the key factors they studied was Thermal Environment, or, how heat is exchanged between an individual and their surroundings, and the effect it can have on human performance.
For this section, a study was conducted to show how a hot environment can affect a person’s ability to perform a simple task. In this case, 128 untrained men were tasked with walking at a brisk pace (3.5 miles per hour) on a treadmill for three hours. These subjects were divided into groups, and the groups were exposed to different temperature “zones” while they walked. Two groups were placed in what was believed to be a “Neutral Zone” of between 70°F and 82°F, and two groups were placed in the “Stressful Zone” between 84°F and 88°F.
The results were fascinating. In the two groups who walked in the “Neutral Zone,” every single subject was able to complete the three-hour walk without an issue. However, the results changed quickly as the environmental temperature increased. For the group that walked in the 84°F environment, 25% of the subjects had to be removed because their heart rate and/or internal temperature exceeded a predetermined amount. In the group that was in the hottest environment, the number of subjects forced to drop out increased to 57%.
So, a small increase of just a few degrees can drastically affect an individual’s performance. And keep in mind, the study was done in a controlled, highly monitored environment. Think about the effects that a hot environment can have on employees whose vital signs are not being closely watched. In many workplaces, especially large warehouses or factories, the temperature becomes unbearable in the summer months. In these places, the environment can rapidly shift from being simply unpleasant to outright unsafe.
What can be done?
That is where Hunter Industrial & Commercial comes in. Our High Volume, Low Speed fans (like the TITAN and ECO) create a cooling effect of up to 10°F, which helps combat the risk of heat related injury and prevent the loss of productivity brought about by an unpleasant environment. Not only that, but a well-ventilated environment can prevent Sick Building Syndrome, and increase employee job satisfaction. In addition to the cooling effect, our HVLS fans work with your HVAC system to keep an even environment year-round, generating ongoing energy savings. Our portfolio of industrial and commercial ceiling fans and Jan Fan Air Circulators can be the key difference in keeping your facility in the “Neutral Zone” and away from the “Stressful Zone.”
Take a page out of NASA’s book and launch your business to the moon by installing Hunter fans today! Don’t wait until it is too late, chat with one of our experts now!