10 ways to reduce the energy consumption of your warehouse
At Mileway, we’ve developed ambitious agendas to reduce our impact on the environment and help our occupiers benefit from leading energy-saving solutions. From LED lighting to highly automated, state-of-the-art technology, we’re making it a priority to support our customers’ own ESG initiatives.
“Mileway has a clear target to only buy renewable energy by 2025, and utilising solar panels will play an important role in helping us achieve this. We are looking at opportunities all over the UK where we can incorporate solar power into our properties.” – Julie Villet Head of ESG and Innovation.
While our warehouses are purpose-built for efficiency, we’ve outlined a further ten ways that can all make a big difference.
1. Identify areas for improvement
Before you put any measures in place, spend time inspecting your warehouse and identifying the main areas of energy consumption. Is your equipment outdated or not functioning as efficiently as it could be? Are your operations optimised?
Pinpointing areas for improvement will help you make better decisions about what changes will be most impactful. Remember to also draw up a base figure of power usage to benchmark against any future energy improvements.
2. Energy checklists
Once your audit is complete, start putting together an energy checklist to determine which actions your business should take to improve performance. From reviewing your lighting controls to daily thermostat checks, there are plenty of good starting points in this guide.
3. Light for less
Did you know that lighting is typically responsible for 65–95% of all warehousing energy costs? (Carbon Trust, 2019).
In many instances, there will be areas that you simply don’t use very often. Turning off lighting in these spaces and taking advantage of the available daylight are easy no-cost ways to save money and improve the operation of your site. If possible, try putting workstations that require good levels of lighting next to windows.
4. Making the switch to LED
Opting for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) uses up to 90% less energy and offers longer lifespans, better energy efficiency and improved lighting over conventional bulbs. That’s why at Mileway we have accelerated the switch to LED lighting across all our properties in Europe, helping our customers improve their green credentials and achieve lower energy bills!
5. Setting up sensors
Investing in automatic sensors can slash your lighting costs by 30% or more. There are a few different types to consider:
Occupancy sensors detect motion and will automatically turn off the lights after a period of vacancy and turn them on whenever someone enters the area.
Light sensors or “photocells” reduce the artificial lighting in warehouses when sufficient natural daylight is available.
6. Heating and ventilation
Warehouses are typically characterised by high ceilings, large delivery doors and lots of ventilation; all of which can lead to rapid heat loss and wasted energy. But a few small changes can lead to big energy savings.
Adding thermostat checks to your daily to-dos helps keep your space at the right temperature. We often adjust the heating in workspaces temporarily, because of the weather or work schedules, but we don’t always remember to change things back. Reducing the temperature of your warehouse by as little as one degree could cut your energy bills by 10%.
Be mindful when it comes to setting the temperature of your building. While most warehouses can operate without the need for heating, temperatures must be kept to a minimum of 16°C to maintain staff wellbeing. This can be reduced to 13°C if the work involves a lot of physical activity, which may be the case for businesses within the industrial sector.
Here are some recommended temperatures for different space types:
- Office: 19–21°C
- Workshop: 16–21°C
- Heavy work: 11–14°C
- Stores: 15°C
- Warehousing: 16°C, or 13°C when work involves a lot of physical activity
Switch to radiant heating
We recommend gas or electric heaters as the most cost-effective solution for warehouse heating. Its radiant warmth heats workstations directly, as opposed to convective heat which dissipates quickly in high-ceilinged buildings.
If you have an artificial ventilation system, consider adding destratification fans. These redistribute rising hot air back to floor level where your people are reducing the need for extra heating.
7. Renewable energy
Solar photovoltaic panels are often an effective longer term investment. They convert sunlight directly into electricity which makes for enormous cost savings compared to purchasing electricity from a commercial supplier.
Warehouses make a great match for solar energy as they have large roof surface areas. What’s more, the height of warehouses makes them much less likely to be obscured by shade.
Whilst the estimated payback time can vary, it’s important to note some payback periods can range from around 7 to 10 years.
8. Embracing automation
If your business uses industrial equipment regularly, why not consider automation? Product inventories can be stored over a smaller area and the need to illuminate and heat much of your space can be eliminated.
9. Educate your employees
Maximising the benefits of your business’s energy improvements takes a team effort.
By educating your employees on effective energy-saving methods and behaviours, they’ll gain a better understanding of the financial and environmental impact. Not only does this help your staff play their part, but they’ll also be more emotionally invested in supporting efforts to implement change.
Here are some ways you can drive a culture of sustainability:
- Create newsletters and company announcements to keep employees informed about your sustainability goals and how they can help achieve them
- Build engagement through staff training
- Use posters and stickers to encourage a culture of turning lights off
- Remind cleaners, security staff or anyone in the building last to turn off the lights
10. Next steps
To round up, here are your five first steps to improving your business’s energy operation:
- Inspect your commercial property and create a checklist of the energy-saving measures you’ll prioritise
- Develop an energy efficiency strategy and communicate it to your teams
- Allocate clear roles and prioritise actions
- Review your energy consumption regularly, so you’re aware when you’re making improvements or when there’s more work to do
- Set realistic goals and deadlines for improvements (5% improvement per year is a fantastic start!)
At Mileway, we’re committed to helping businesses of all sizes cut costs and improve their energy efficiency. We’re accommodating rising numbers of electric vehicles with dedicated storage and charging facilities while also refurbishing our warehouses to have a reduced environmental impact.