Going green isn’t just a buzz word that makes business owners feel like they’re doing their bit; green warehouses actually offer a lot of benefits by streamlining processes and introducing cost-saving initiatives.
Logistics centres and warehouses are becoming more intelligent and more efficient, and each new innovation in technology is bringing new opportunities for warehouses across the nation to improve operations and lower operational costs by utilising energy conservation technologies.According to Supply Chain Digital, warehousing costs account for nearly 10% of revenue for most businesses, with heating and lighting being two of the most costly factors. Being able to reduce expenditure in these areas and targeting energy efficiency can save your business anywhere between 5-20% on your energy bill.
If you saw our previous posts on innovation in eCommerce fulfilment, and how to lean down operations through big data, then you’ll know that businesses today face the challenge of keeping a competitive edge in an environment that is guided by the fastest and cheapest delivery times. Below we’ve outlined a few easy ways you can save your business money by making your warehouse more green. We hope you enjoy them and can successfully utilise these easy tips, and we’d like to you know if you have any other suggestions, let us know in the comments below how you make your warehouse more green.
Logistics automation to reduce energy usage
Logistics automation and automated retrieval systems can help your business maximise storage space and reduce overall operating costs. Generally speaking, automated warehouses require less square footage, and in turn, require less energy to light and heat the area.
At it’s most simple and basic level, automated systems use less energy because they optimise the route for moving goods from point A to point B. It may not sound like much at first, but if you combine thousands of orders over the course of one day, let alone over months, or even years, it could save your business a mint in energy costs.
Introduce sensor lights and natural lighting
In extreme cases, inefficient lighting systems in warehouses can contribute to nearly 65% of operating costs. Below we’ve outlined some simple tricks that can help you save on lighting as it is an operational cost that many businesses overlook, but taking the proper care to ensure you have the most energy efficent lighting will save your business money.
An important place to start when it comes to lighting would be to audit the amount of lights you’re using when compared to what you actually you need. You may have light fixtures with 4 light bulbs that really only require 2 light bulbs, or even less in areas that require less lighting.
Implementing timing and sensor lights can also reduce the cost of your lighting bill, once again, it may sound like a lot of effort for little effect if you think of the amount of energy saved in just one day, however, the accumulation over months and even years could save your business much needed revenue.
Warehouses can also be known to lack natural light, so another easy way to reduce on lighting is installing windows to introduce natural light. Pro tip: make sure your windows are thermal or double-paned to ensure proper insulation, and now this brings us to heating.
Control your heating
Some older warehouses may lack proper insulation, meaning you would lose a lot of heat to the environment through natural causes. Spray foam insulation is a bit pricy, but is more efficient than other types of insulation and will save your business more money in the long run.
Programmable thermostats give you the choice of deciding when your heating should come on, and when it shouldn’t, rather than just letting it run constantly or keeping a temperature-controlled thermostat.
Once again it would be a great idea to audit your warehouses heating requirements to see when you need heating and when you don't. There are some simple tricks you can implement like moving heat around with an industrial fan, but this may not be suitable if your warehouse is too large.
Energy saving forklifts
It’s not a warehouse if there are no forklifts. Emanuel Matthaei, Director for Sales & Marketing at CLARK Europe GmbH states that: “more and more customers are switching from combustion engine forklifts to electric forklifts in order to meet the increasing requirements of emissions reduction”, but we also think it’s great to save your business on operating costs.
Using energy saving forklifts will yield greater productivity, while also reducing all round operating costs. If your forklifts are currently operating on batteries or chargers, this is an added expense in a time when businesses need to be leaning down. Investing in forklifts with energy saving technology may not be your number one priority, but there would be decent incentive to when it comes to the savings they can afford you.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your forklifts to ensure they are more energy efficient, make sure you think about the long-term savings against the cost of investing in new machinery. After all, upgrading may be expensive, but it could save your business more in return on energy costs if you regularly spend on batteries or chargers.
Recycle incoming boxes
Encouraging your employees to adopt a green mindset is not only good for the environment, but it will save your business a lot of money in the long run. Recycling incoming boxes and using labels to readdress is a small and simple way to save a bit of money on packing non-commercial items.
Implementing new technology strategies to reduce on paper by using things such as electronic invoices, or even sending goods digitally (if possible) is also a great way to save money.