Powering, heating and cooling an outdoor event

Powering, heating and cooling an outdoor event

Outdoor events are a defining feature of the British summer: from those on a grand scale, like Glastonbury, down to local fairs, festivals and sporting galas. But putting on any outdoor event brings with it important logistical considerations: including the provision of power, heating and cooling. All of these need advance planning and on-site coordination. Using a rental company that is expert in all these areas is crucial. David Taylor, events and electrical services manager at Aggreko, world leaders in the rental of power and temperature control, explains what to look for when choosing a temporary equipment supplier.

When hosting an event indoors, it is easy to take for granted that power is readily available and the heating and cooling can be turned on at the touch of a button. For outdoor events this is rarely the case: whatever the location, whether in the middle of a field or in a busy town centre, using mains power may not be an option. To understand how to deal with that situation, events managers need to consider the options available for renting temporary power and temperature control equipment.

As with the event itself, when it comes to power, heating and cooling, the planning is as important as the execution. For large events such as Glastonbury or The British Open Golf Championships, the planning for power and climate control might take place 12 months before the event, with three months of activity to put the plans in place. Even for smaller events, planning should take place well in advance.

While there are companies that specialise in power generation, and those that can supply heaters and chillers, it is important to choose a company that can deal with all three: this ensures minimum set-up time, smooth running, and reduces the risk of anything going wrong.

Before choosing a generator, event organisers must know the scale of heating and cooling equipment they need - and with the unpredictability of UK summer weather, they should allow for all eventualities. Heating a marquee, for example, requires more than simply plugging in a heater and blowing hot air: the size of the marquee needs to be factored in, as does the comfort of the guests. The output of the heater needs to take into account the ambient temperature outside and the required temperature inside. The same applies to cooling: the size of the chiller needs to be carefully calculated by an experienced engineer. Only then can you choose your generator.

A generator should look good. It is not something people tend to consider, but when money has been spent on making a venue look right, the last thing guests should be confronted with is unattractive, scruffy-looking equipment. At Aggreko, generators have been developed specifically for special events. They come in black or white: the black option is ideal for use behind a stage; the white version is best suited for use with marquees.

An events generator needs to be as quiet as possible. There are units available that have an insulated canopy to reduce the sound from the generator's engine. Aggreko has a large fleet of super-silenced GHP2 generators that are designed to be used in locations where engine noise could pose a problem. These generators have a sound output of 65dB at a distance of one metre rather than the standard 85dB.

Finally, it is important that generators are reliable. As with a car engine, it is important that a generator is serviced and maintained throughout its life. Sourcing equipment from a reliable company with a large fleet and a team of experienced engineers will mean that the equipment supplied is of a high standard and that there is back-up equipment to keep the event running, should the need arise.

The generators supplied by Aggreko are manufactured in-house. They are of the highest quality, stringently tested and regularly maintained to keep them in the best condition. The extensive range of temporary power and temperature control equipment Aggreko offers means a solution can be found for any event, however big or small, which takes account of issues such as noise, safety and aesthetics.

For all these reasons, and for the sake of efficiency and simplicity, it is preferable to use a single, expert supplier.

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