6 Tips for Saving Energy in Your Warehouse Space
The typical U.S. warehouse generally consists of a huge storage space with ample fixtures that generate high energy costs, which typically run upwards of 64% of total utility bills. Increasingly, though, we’re seeing “smart” warehouses constructed in a way to allow warehouse and business owners to run more efficient operations that simultaneously utilize less energy. Smart warehouses help save energy costs, increase energy efficiency and lower their carbon footprint in the following ways: 1. HVAC Systems As a rule of thumb, HVAC systems should be fitted according to the energy loads required. Incorporating large destratification fans along with the HVAC system, during cooler months, will help keep temperatures at a comfortable level by forcing warm air down.
Clean HVAC filters also help improve HVAC efficiency, and thus, should be exchanged on a regular basis in order to reap the benefits. Combining a programmable thermostat with your HVAC system also increases energy efficiency by allowing owners to heat and cool various areas within the warehouse for a desired length of time. Variable speed drives for fans, pumps, HVAC and cooling towers synchronize motor speeds to the current loads, which can reduce power usage by up to 50%. 2. Insulation Proper insulation helps keep cool air out and warm air in, which also helps increase warehouse energy efficiency. Plug spaces in door seals and consider dock shelters as opposed to roll up dock doors, which offer more energy efficiency. Warehouse owners should also consider using spray foam or loose foam as opposed to batt insulation, which does not offer the same energy efficiency. Temperature-controlled warehouses allow air exchange with outside weather conditions when unloading and loading, which can increase energy loads. Cool roofs display the same properties as thermal emittance and high solar reflectance, which helps keep inside temperatures fairly low, though they are most effective in locations where outside temperatures are mild. Proper wall and roof insulation can help save warehouse owners up to 40% on energy costs.
3. Replace Equipment
There are some equipment options that could provide return on investment by reducing energy footprint. Upgrade to high-efficiency motors that use less energy to produce more power. Specifically, conveyors can be run by motors that have variable speed to match the needs of the moment. High-efficiency heating/cooling systems will alleviate high energy. Low-friction conveyor belts could reduce the amount of power needed to propel the movement. Finally, low-impact lightbulbs will draw less energy than normal incandescent, so switch to metal halides, high-pressure sodiums, LEDs or fluorescents. More on this below.
Natural lighting provides the perfect solution for reducing energy costs. The addition of solar tubes reflect natural light into the space without disturbing the structure of the warehouse. Skylights and task lights placed where needed, also decrease energy consumption.
Likewise, vacancy and occupation sensors and bi-level switches used in conjunction with Super T8 linear fluorescent light fixtures also help decrease energy costs because of their quick response times.
Lastly, painting the walls white helps improve light reflection, so there is less need for high-power lighting, which helps save energy.
5. Vertical Warehousing
By building upward rather than outward, a warehouse can reduce land costs, transportation requirements and environmental impact. Multi-story warehouses can operate in dense neighborhoods rather than occupying large open spaces. Recover open space under the ceiling by using automatic retrieval systems, like Vertical Carousels, and Vertical Lift Modules, that reach farther than typical manual methods.
6. Easy Savings These methods of energy saving can be implemented into most any building design without heavy contracting. Remove lightbulbs from fixtures that use multiple bulbs. White walls will cater to light better than other colors, so consider a new paint job. Dock shelters reduce air exchange, so heating/cooling costs will be reduced. Replace older styles of insulation with spray foam or loose fill to reduce heat exchange. Lastly, check local energy incentives. Sustainable warehouse implementation will benefit companies in multiple ways. Overhead cost goes down, customer appreciation increases, and environmental impact is less significant. Sustainability is a relatively easy investment that results in all around business savings.
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About the ComReal Miami Industrial Team: The ComReal Miami Industrial Team has been assisting companies with their South Florida real estate needs for over 30 years. The industrial team specializes in the sales and leasing of industrial properties. Visit Warehouses Market and/or call 786-433-2380 for more information.