InTents June/July 2021 - 29

I
t's easy to understand why the use of air
conditioning has been increasingly common
for weddings and other tented events.
" Most people have been to that wedding without air
conditioning where it was so hot you don't remember
anything about it except how sweaty you were, " says Tina
Behnke, chief experience oficer at AirPac Inc., which
manufactures and rents climate control equipment in Front
Royal, Va. " And who wants to look like you were in a mosh pit
at a Grateful Dead concert?
" It's been pretty exponential growth when it comes to
air conditioning in tents over the last four to six years, "
Behnke says. " It's all about creating a more comfortable
environment, whether it's with air conditioners or heaters
when appropriate.
" It's gotten to the point these days when some people won't
go to a wedding if it's not going to be air conditioned, " she
explains. " It can be a health hazard because the heat can cause
medical emergencies. "
But as the popularity of climate control for tents grows, it's
important to make sure that the system is appropriate for the
event, says Daryl Benz, national event specialist for Aggreko
Event Services in Houston, Texas.
COOLING CAN BE EXPENSIVE
" HVAC for a tent can be expensive, so you want to make sure
you are doing it right, " Benz says. " Aggreko has done small
weddings for a few thousand dollars, up to huge ceremonies
where it was $120,000 just for the air conditioning. "
One trap that event planners fall into is underestimating the
costs and amount of cooling they might need, but there are
simple ways to avoid this.
For example, says Behnke, when prospective clients are
AirPac Inc. refers to this area as
the " technical " side of the tent,
where outdoor condensing units
have been placed. The company
is careful to put equipment where
it will not be seen or heard. Photo
courtesy of Anthony Taccetta.
touring a venue examining reception tents, or visiting the
site where the tent will be installed for their event, they
are not always thinking about the tent in the conditions
representative of the day they're having the event. " And
even if they are touring in the summertime, " she says, " they
may be wearing shorts or a sundress-they're not getting
married in that attire, and they've got hair and makeup to
consider as well. "
But it's not just the temperature that determines how much
cooling or heating you might need, explains Erik Thornton,
senior account manager at Portable Air in Cocoa, Fla. " It's
what kinds of activities that take place inside as well, " he
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