Weather the winter winds by heading underground
Roll up a bath towel against the base of the door. Stick plastic sheeting on the windows. Throw on yet another layer.
When the Kansas City winter hits, we all have our seasonal rituals to stay warm. But when your business depends on steady temperatures – and when your company budget can’t afford another polar vortex – how will you survive the next few months? After all, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting “another wild ride” this winter, including “frigid temperatures” and “hefty snowfalls” guaranteed to chatter your teeth.
But even if you can’t hibernate your way to spring, you can still escape the winter blast zone by moving your operation underground.
Midwest weather is no match
No matter what the thermometer says, it’s always comfortable underground—usually a constant temperature of around 73 degrees. The benefits of this are obvious. It means shipments in and out of your doors can be handled completely out of any weather conditions that might be blowing through our area.
This can be a nice benefit for many area businesses, including wine distributors, collectors and Internet sales companies. And don’t forget the advantages for those needing storage. Whether you need space for your condo residents or your small distribution business – or you need personal storage – you can enjoy climate-controlled access without the worry of anything freezing (not the case for many of the above-ground storage options).
Underground is also really nice on the budget. As we watch our house electric or gas rate quickly climb in the winter, your business can rely on a steady bill each month, thanks to the even temps underground. It’s not uncommon for Kansas City-area companies to save up to $1.50 to $2 per square foot per year in the winter compared to their bill above ground. That kind of reduction can add up to big savings!
Fewer colds during cold season?
Aside from the steady thermostat, underground’s low humidity rate of around 55 to 60% is especially helpful as we all try to combat the dry air that comes this time of year. Cold air is dry air, and the telltale physical symptoms are hard to miss: itchy skin, dried-out nasal passages, coughs and colds.
Companies above ground are running those furnaces on high during the winter months to keep the cold at bay, but that dries out that air even further, and the indoor relative humidity (RH) plummets. (It’s the reason we pull out those humidifiers each winter.) It’s that lack of moisture in the air that contributes to the increase in cold and flu cases during the wintertime. Bob Henson elaborates in Weather Underground:
“Studies increasingly agree that the flu is transmitted more readily when the RH is low. At higher RH, the virus appears to be less stable, and the small virus-bearing droplets sent into the air by a cough seem more likely to attract water vapor and fall out of the air before infecting someone else. There’s also evidence that the flu grows more readily in the upper respiratory tract when it’s dry.”
It stands to reason that the steady humidity rate of underground just may keep your employees happier – and healthier – this winter. And fewer sick days mean higher productivity.
Get your team out of the cold
If you’re ready to escape the winter weather this year and start the next decade with a smarter approach for your office, industrial, warehouse or storage area, be sure to consider the abundance of underground space throughout the region.
It might be the best way to tame the “wild ride” that’s supposedly coming our way.
Larry McMillin is vice president of leasing at Copaken Brooks, a full-service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Kansas City and serving the Midwest. The company’s full suite of services includes: leasing (office, retail, industrial, medical,and underground), construction management, investment acquisition and sales, tenant representation and HQ relocations, condo management, property management, asset management, and development. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or on Twitter @CopakenBrooks.
(Photo: Iain Lees / Digging out Snow Holes / CC BY-SA 2.0)