Heat Loss

One of the jobs I did was to wire an unloading dock at a distribution warehouse building.  There are a number of such buildings in use.  Material will come in by truck or train.  It will be received into the building over a dock, stored on shelves, and then eventually shipped out again.  Some of these operations are “cross-dock” points where the material does not rest on shelves but goes from in ingress dock, across the building, and out an egress dock.

The buildings are large enough and the materials (usually) heavy enough, that forklifts are used to load, transfer, and unload the material.  Some of the forklift operators become very experienced at their job.  However, if you are inside one of these buildings, and on foot, it serves you well to keep a sharp lookout for the lifts and their drivers.  You have to be very careful to stay out of their way.

I saw evidence in one case where a driver of a forklift had run too close to an upright beam and had driven one fork tine entirely through the upright.  I inquired if anyone had gotten hurt.  I was told that no one had been injured, but that the operator had been bounced off of his machine.

In another instance, at a different location, a forklift operator had hit an upright so hard that the electrical transformer mounted on top of it had fallen off.  I had to go re-mount it.  I hoped that no one would hit that beam again while I was up in the air putting the transformer back on.

At another distribution center, where I had done the wiring from the ground up, there was an outside dock with a roof over it.  The dock did not have walls, and the men working on the dock needed some heat source for the cold weather months.  We mounted heaters under the roof for them.  Of course, with only a roof and no walls there was a terrific amount of heat loss.  I don’t know what kind of electrical bill they had, but it couldn’t have been small.  In the summer it would get hot, but apparently the ownership drew the line at air conditioning.  Many such places had enclosed docks.

There was a building in downtown Spokane that had at one time been a theater with a projection room.  The building had been remodeled for a mercantile store.  Underneath the highest point of the ceiling, they had built an employee break/lunch room.  Sometime later there occurred a controversy over work place tobacco smoke.

Our company was given the job of installing fans in the lunch room so that the tobacco users would not offend the non-tobacco users.  However after the fans were installed, the employees complained that they would get cold when the fans were on.  And of course, the fans had to be on when anyone lit up a cigarette.

We were called back to install a fair sized baseboard heater in the lunch room.  This was so that the employees could “feel” warm as the warm air was sucked past them and out through the exhaust fans, into the large un-insulated space over the lunch room.

There are a lot of reasons why merchandise costs as much as it does.