Adapting to Heat in an Historic Building

June 28, 2021 3 Comments

Adapting to Heat in an Historic Building

Occasionally Seattle gets a heat wave. We'll push into the 90s here for a couple days a year, and when that happens, no one can talk about anything else. This heat wave, though, is the strongest we've ever experienced. In the 20 years Aaron has lived here in Seattle, temperatures have only crossed into the triple digits twice before, with a max temp of 103. It was a big deal then, in 2009. Today We expect to beat our all-time recorded high by 6 degrees, and reach 109.

In much of the world a temperature like this isn't so difficult to live through. Karl grew up in Los Angeles where 108 was infrequent but not unheard of. People acclimate. But in Seattle, only 44% of building have air conditioning, so preparing for a weather event like this takes a bit more work.

Our chocolate shop, where we also make our craft chocolate, is not air conditioned. Chocolatiers will cringe reading this, because you know how important temperature control is for chocolate! Well, this is the reality of an historic building. Usually we plan our production cycles to match a time of day when the chocolate will be most cooperative, like early mornings or during a cooler downturn. Usually we ride out the temperature bumps. Interior temps remain fairly stable due to the brick walls, slate floors and steel countertops which all absorb heat. Our windows are north facing. But none of these factors will prevent our shop from getting above 90 today, thereby putting all the tempered, packaged chocolate at risk. We decided to install a portable AC unit.

It being an historic building, however, made the installation a lot more tricky. By the rules of the neighborhood, designed to keep things looking as close to the early 1900s as possible, we are not allowed to make facade changes. We didn't have a way to vent the hot air.

We solved all the problems by installing a vent through our mail slot. It's going to blow some hot air on your feet, but it's worth the coolth inside! Check out the pictures below.

The shop will be closed today (28 June 2021) so the heat stays outside. If you come later this week, expect a nice blast of warm air on your feet before you enter. We promise it feels better inside, with the chocolate!

Stay cool Seattle, and see you soon.


3 Responses

Heather
Heather

June 28, 2021

Genius solution!
Fingers crossed you will be open the 29th or 30th!
We found your shop in 2017 when we had 5 hours is Seattle. We were hoping to stop by again. 🤞

Andy Kopacek
Andy Kopacek

June 28, 2021

This AC vent through the mail slot is ingenious! Seriously. Also, it’s a statement: Chocolate is far more important than the mail. Indeed it is.

santi
santi

June 28, 2021

Genius…. someone deserves a pat on the back for coming up with that fix. I hope it helps. SAVE THE CHOCOLATE!

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