In today’s competitive economic environment, it’s important for businesses to cut costs wherever they can. Energy consumption is something nearly every warehouse can reduce, and even making small changes can result in big differences for your bottom line. Whether you’re looking for modest adjustments or a complete overhaul, here are five ways to make your warehouse more energy efficient:
1. Reduce Lights and Switch to LED Fixtures
When wanting to reduce lighting energy use, first consider the needs of your warehouse. How much lighting do you really need? In many facilities, there are rarely lit areas that don’t need to be lit on a daily basis. Also, automated warehouses and those used strictly for storage can get by on much less light than those with a lot of human activity. If you have such sections in your warehouse, consider reducing the number of lights or wattage in these areas, or connect them to a separate switch and only turn them on when needed.
As far as light bulbs, switch to LED bulbs, which last longer and are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs (as much as 80% energy savings). LEDs have bright lights, illuminate immediately, and are sold in heavy-duty varieties capable of withstanding impacts and are perfect for a warehouse environment.
2. Repair or Replace Your Loading Dock Door
Most warehouses have one or more loading docks attached to the building, and, if not maintained properly, they can be a major source of energy loss in a facility. Damaged or dented dock doors can cause gaps between seals or tracks, which lead to drafts and overworking of air conditioners.
If you only have minor dock door damage, you may be able to repair the problem or replace the bottom door panel. However, if it’s in major disrepair or entirely inefficient, you may want to upgrade to a modern impactable or polyurethane door that can block drafts and take a hit without consequence.
3. Outfit Loading Dock with Seals, Shelters, and Blankets
While you’re examining the dock door, ensure your door opening has adequate seals and shelters. These create a seamless passageway between trailer and dock, so you can maintain a constant climate in your warehouse even when loading and unloading.
There are an assortment of seals and shelters available that use everything from foam, curtains, pads, inflatable systems, and more to weatherproof your loading zone. When dock doors and levelers are not in use, dock blankets are a great way to help insulate the leveler and seal any energy losing gaps.
4. Perform Regular Maintenance
In addition to having your loading dock regularly maintained, you should also perform routine upkeep on other energy-producing systems in your warehouse. For instance, schedule annual checkups for your heating and cooling systems, replace filters regularly, clean out vents, and tune-up refrigeration units.
Keeping such systems serviced is not only important for energy saving, but also for maintaining smooth operations.
5. Install HVLS Fans
Whether in a loading dock, warehouse or manufacturing area the proper layout and installation of high volume low speed (HVLS) fans can greatly reduce energy loss and increase employee comfort. Movement of air can make a big difference. Also, there are many types and sizes of HVLS fans so they can often fit in smaller places, which historically has been limited.
6. Invest in Renewable Energy
If you have some extra money to devote to your energy-saving efforts, you may want to invest in installing renewable energy sources in your warehouse. Things like solar panels, geothermal systems, and skylights can be built into new warehouses or retrofitted into already existing facilities.
Although these tend to cost more upfront, they save on energy over time and are better for the environment.
With society’s eyes on the energy practices of all companies, it makes good business sense to adopt some energy-saving measures. Doing so will show consumers you care while saving on operating expenses.