BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - You might be surprised that the Mall of America does not employ a conventional heating system; and yet shoppers enjoy a comfortable indoor environment even in the depths of a January chill.
Whether you are catching a ride on the carousel or hunting for a bargain, it's careful engineering... not a central heating system that's keeping you warm. In fact, the heat comes from the bodies that stroll the hallways, the bright bulbs that strategically highlight merchandise, and the skylights that loom above it all.
The MOA's Director of Operations, Tom Rabiola carefully explains, "The thermal flywheel effect is where we're generating all this heat during the day with people and lighting and that heat gets absorbed into any high density: concrete, drywall, tile. And then in the night, when the retail closes, the lights go down, the people are gone, we don't have that internal heat gain anymore, the building actually gives off heat to heat the interior space and keeps the space warm during the off hours."
Indoor mall temperatures for winter hover around 70 degrees. It is slightly warmer in the summer, up to 75 degrees.
Even with the switch to more efficient LED bulbs, lighting is the biggest contributor to the mall's internal temperature. In fact, they have to cool the building even on the coldest days to counteract the heat given off by the bodies and lights.
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