The goal of many modern supply chains is to become more sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint. A great way to do this is by retrofitting older warehouses to reduce energy usage.
Unfortunately, this is often a costly initiative. These facilities are old and deteriorating, and investing in expensive green technology is sometimes a poor investment. How can these facilities be improved to become more sustainable without breaking the bank?
I sourced four experts to discover the answer to this very question: Sean Canning, LEED AP and owner of 10|70 Architecture; Shawn Casemore, supply chain consultant President at Casemore & Co; Dan Gould, president at energy-efficiency firm Synergy; and Dave Homerding, marketing manager of commercial contracting and roofing company WeatherSure Systems.
Based on their conversations, here are nine affordable retrofits to can help make the warehouse more sustainable.
1. Use solar tubes to increase natural lighting — Solar tubes, or light pipes, can introduce natural lighting through skylights without major construction that will impact the building’s integrity.
2. Apply a cool roof — White, reflective coatings can be applied to roofs to reflect UV rays and reduce the amount of heat the warehouse absorbs.
3. Upgrade batt insulation to sprayed-foam or loose-fill — Loose-fill and sprayed-foam insulation are much more effective at insulating commercial facilities, and can be installed with little financial investment.
4. Move to task-lighting to reduce usage — If intense lighting isn’t necessary to perform routine operations in the warehouse, reduce electric ambient lighting, introduce natural light and use “task-lighting,” or localized light around areas that need increased visibility.
5. Upgrade metal halides to fluorescent, induction or LED lights — These lighting fixtures are much more efficient than the traditional metal halide lights used and warehouses, and can often be paid off in only a couple years of energy reduction.
6. Purchase destratification fans — Destratification fans circulate heated air in warehouses, and can greatly reduce the amount of energy exerted to heat facilities.
7. Deploy (or program) networked thermostats — Again, energy exertion can be reduced using controllable thermostats that eliminate extraneous heating and cooling cycles.
8. Use daylight or motion sensors to reduce light usage — If electric lighting is necessary, invest in motion sensors to only use lighting when workers are present, or daylight sensors to dim lighting according to the natural sunlight throughout the warehouse.
9. Join a energy-reduction demand-response group — Finally, participating in a peak-energy response group can reduce energy and add extra cash-flow to the business.
For more on these retrofits, check out: 9 Warehouse Retrofits to Go Green and Reduce Energy Consumption.