Incorporating Sustainability into Your Warehouse Operation
From switching to energy-efficient lighting to installing solar panels, here are some tips to help you build a greener warehouse.
The impact of climate change on the global supply chain continues to grow—2020 was marked by uncontrollable global wildfires and destructive storms. It’s essential that logistics operators pursue efforts to operate more sustainably. Here are some tips to help you get started on building a greener warehouse.
Tip #1: Install Energy-Efficient Lighting
Traditional HID warehouse lighting draws a lot of power, driving up costs and wasting energy. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is both eco-friendly and budget friendly. LED lighting in the warehouse can reduce energy consumption from lighting by as much as 75% and save thousands annually in energy and maintenance costs.
Most utility providers offer rebates or incentives for incorporating energy-efficient lighting into commercial and industrial buildings. Also, adding motion-activated lighting will ensure the lights turn off when employees have gone home.
Tip #2: Improve Internal Climate Control
HVAC systems can often be a big source of energy waste for an industrial building. These systems often work overtime to maintain a preset internal temperature. Here are some practices you can incorporate to alleviate strain on your HVAC system and reduce its energy usage:
- Keep the doors closed. Propping doors open in the summer will reduce the effectiveness of your building’s air conditioning equipment. Conversely, propping doors open in the winter will force your heating system to work harder. Keep doors closed.
- Use air curtains. In scenarios where doors must remain open, install an air curtain. Air curtains blow air rapidly across the opening, preventing internal/external air exchange. These tools can also minimize temperature loss from temperature-controlled areas.
- Use strip curtains. Plastic strip curtains serve a similar purpose to air curtains. These PVC strips hang from openings to minimize airflow between two areas while allowing people and equipment to pass.
- Check dock door seals. Make sure your loading dock doors seal properly to avoid losing controlled air from your facility. Consider installing dock shelters to maintain better environmental control.
- Use better insulation. Though more expensive upfront, replacing old insulation in your building envelope with spray foam insulation will pay for itself over time by reducing heating and cooling costs.
- Temperature sensors. Employing temperature sensors and automated HVAC controls will allow your HVAC system to automatically optimize your facility’s temperature.
Tip #3: Add Solar Panels
That big, flat roof on your warehouse is an ideal mounting surface for solar panels. The upfront cost of solar panel installation can be daunting for many warehouse owners, but the long-term benefits will ultimately outweigh the initial expense. You should break even on your solar installation in about eight years, while the average lifespan of a solar panel is well beyond that at about 25-30 years.
Many utility providers will provide incentives for reducing your building’s reliance on the power grid during peak usage periods. With a proper battery system and controls in place, you can virtually eliminate demand charges and significantly decrease your utility bill.
Logistics providers and other warehouse operators can do our part by incorporating eco-friendly processes into our facilities. Following these tips will help you get started.
About Phoenix Logistics
Strategic Real Estate. Applied Technology. Tailored Service. Creativity. Flexibility. These fundamentals reflect everything we do at Phoenix Logistics. We provide specialized support in locating and attaining the correct logistics solutions for every client we serve. phoenix3pl.com