For a barn, especially a livestock barn, it’s crucial to have set up the right systems to maintain cool temperatures come summer. The hottest months of the year can prove challenging to all pigs, calves, and livestock. To cool such a building, barn ventilation is required. Barn ventilation can come from various sources, including natural and mechanical systems.

Let’s look at basic ways to cool a barn and outline a pathway for barn owners to follow toward achieving optimal conditions year-round.

1. Passive ventilation uses outside wind to circulate air and cool temperatures

Passive ventilation uses natural ventilation systems to circulate air through a barn. This is done using ridge vents, open sidewalls, and easy-to-open doors and windows in a barn’s design. Fresh air from outside is brought in, pushing the air from inside out. No electricity. No costs involved. No upkeep or breakdowns to worry about.

Barn ventilation plays a large role in regulating temperatures in summer. However, it should not be the only tool you use. It will fail if it is. Passive ventilation, on its own, does not enough for adequate cooling.

2. Build a new barn wisely, defining how much passive ventilation can influence

If you have the chance to build a brand new barn, choose the location of it with how to cool a barn in mind. Location means everything regarding passive ventilation as the wind blows west to east. Knowing this, you want windows and doors stationed on those sides so air can easily move through.

The more doors and windows you have in your barn to flow air through, the better, so don’t be sure about incorporating an above-average amount. Furthermore, if you can install your barn near large trees to be shaded throughout the day, this presents another advantage.

3. Active ventilation is the gold standard – barn exhaust fans, air inlets, and more

Active ventilation uses mechanics and fans to control and regulate moving air within the barn. When temperatures need to be under control, such as during the hottest weeks of summer, you will be thankful to have active ventilation. Examples include ceiling fans, air inlets, exhaust fans, and portable fans. There is no better way to cool down a barn.

The only disadvantage is that it can be costly, depending on which active ventilation system you select. There are also inefficient active ventilation systems not made for your specific type of barn that revolve around which air pressure system you use.

4. Positive, negative, and neutral air pressure: picking the right cooldown option

How you create air pressure and movement matters. It will decide how cool your space gets. Positive air pressure pulls outside air into the barn. Positive pressure ventilation is probably your best bet if your doors and windows are regularly open, such as opening the doors to let livestock enter and exit freely. Negative air pressure uses exhaust fans to pull air out of the barn, with exhaust fans matched to air inlets within the barn design.

There is also neutral air pressure, which utilizes a system of fans to draw in air while exhausting it via ducts simultaneously. Each system can play a role in how to cool a barn, but you can singularly choose just one to use.

5. Insulate your barn properly for heat during winter but also cool during summer

Insulation helps regulate temperature. It prevents temperature from being easily transferred from outside to inside or vice versa. Insulation is usually discussed regarding retaining heat during winter, but it plays a similar, if not identical, role in summer to keep a building cooler.

If you have items in barn storage that are easily damaged by heat or moisture, adding insulation to your ceiling, floor, and walls will go a long way in preventing cool air from escaping. It’s well worth the investment to insulate, and it can help minimize the cost of active ventilation.

6. Should you repaint your barn, choose lighter paint colors that don’t absorb heat

Light-coloured paints can help your barn’s walls, siding, and roofing reflect heat from the sun rather than absorb it, which happens with darker colours. If you don’t mind repainting your barn, this step could prove crucial in keeping the temperature cool and comfy for your best livestock.

This step won’t singlehandedly do it, but every step in this direction matters and counts. Do what you can to reflect heat and not absorb it, and take the small steps to eventually arrive at the total effect of a cool barn.

If you aren’t sure how to cool a barn yet, instead of sorting through the complex ventilation systems without assistance, try contacting a barn ventilation system seller, barn ventilation service installer or technician. Ensure you are meeting the needs of your livestock by having the right barn ventilation systems in play.