Sustainable Design Features for Warehouse Facilities That Translate Into Cost-Savings
While the logistics industry hasn't faced the same scrutiny as the manufacturing and transportation sectors when it comes to environmental issues, there's no denying that it makes a significant contribution to the globe's carbon emissions. And, at a time when climate change is a true economic threat, it's vital that all industrial businesses review their processes to see whether there are any eco-friendlier choices they could be making.
There is a range of ways in which warehouse tenants can address their work in a more environmentally conscious way. Here are five strategies to consider.
Make the switch to LED bulbs.
It’s time to do away with traditional halogen bulbs once and for all. This is because more energy efficient alternatives like LED and compact fluorescent bulbs offer the same quality of lighting but use around a fifth of the power.
If you're still waiting for your halogen bulbs to expire or have a stockpile that you were planning to use in your warehouse, consider making the switch to LEDs as soon as possible instead. Because they require less electricity to run, this is a great way to reduce your carbon emissions. Plus, LED bulbs have much longer lifespans. As a result, they'll soon pay for themselves!
Reduce the need for heating with better insulation.
To keep your staff comfortable (and possibly preserve your wares, depending on what you stock) your warehouse is likely to require heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summertime. But you can reduce how much power this requires and help the effects to last much longer by ensuring your workplace is properly insulated.
Review your packaging.
There are many ways in which you can review your packaging and make it greener. First, look at whether you're currently throwing a lot of packaging away. As a general rule, the less waste your warehouse is creating the better, and businesses in the logistics sector do tend to run into a lot of problems in this area. So, if you find that your company has a lot of packaging waste, look at whether you can make your processes more efficient to reduce this waste.
Also, look at what materials you’re using in your packaging. A war is currently being waged against single use plastics, and one of the ways in which they're most commonly used is in the packaging of good and deliveries. So, if there's currently a lot of plastic packaging in your warehouse, look for potential alternatives. The Green Business Bureau recommends using the likes of biodegradable packaging peanuts, corrugated bubble wrap, recycled cardboard and paper or even packaging made from more sustainable materials that originate from mushrooms and seaweed.
Lastly, look at how much packaging you typically use for each item. Using less will result in less being thrown away. It can also make your shipments lighter, so less energy is required to transport them. This can all go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint, and will also save you money, as you'll be spending less on packing materials and fuel.
Make sure your recycling facilities are up to scratch.
If your warehouse doesn't recycle, now is a great time to start. Begin by looking at areas where you could reduce how much waste you're producing, and then determine how you can recycle as much of what's left as possible. And, if some of your materials can't simply be sent to the local recycling plant, this might involve getting creative: for example, is there another local business that could take some of the waste of your hands and put it to good use?
Make recycling as easy as possible for your workers. Put clearly labelled bins in convenient locations so your employees always know where their rubbish needs to go and can get to the relevant bin quickly and easily. It might also be worth choosing bins with wheels to make them easier to move around as needed.
You will also need to educate your staff about any new waste disposal system that you put in place. Make sure to highlight the importance of sticking to any guidelines you've set out, and let staff know that you're open to any suggestions of improvement that they have. You'll want to hear if anything doesn't work as it should, after all.
Start to phase in more energy efficient equipment.
If some if your equipment is quite old, it's likely that new and more efficient alternatives have come to market since you bought it. So, whenever a tool comes to the end of its life, don't just buy a direct replacement; instead, look to see if there are any eco-friendlier versions that you could invest in.
To the extent your budget allows, invest in as high-quality equipment as possible. Not only will this help to ensure that your chosen tools run as smoothly as possible, but they should also have a much longer lifespan — especially if they're used and maintained correctly. Plus, the best tools will be equipped with the latest and most efficient technology, which will save you energy, time, and money. _____________
Taking some steps to make your warehouse greener won't just help the environment: it can be good for your bottom line, too. So, by taking these steps, you can be confident that you're doing your bit for the planet, while also having your company’s best interests at heart.
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 www.MiamiIndustrialTeam.com and/or call 786-433-2380 for more information.