Energy efficient logistics?

Energy efficient logistics?

The team at Linde Aftersales offer expert advice on improving your green credentials.

Any business operator will be vigilant when it comes to monitoring finances and looking for ways to boost the bottom line, and taking steps to improve energy efficiency can help achieve just that.

If reducing costs while protecting the environment sounds like a good idea to you, here are three key areas to focus on:

1. Reduce energy consumption

Whether you heat or cool your warehouse, temperature control can be costly and energy-intensive. Did you know that turning down your heating by just 1% could reduce heating costs by as much as 8%?

Taking simple steps such as installing extra-large destratification fans that help circulate warm air, or cool your warehouse down, could reduce energy consumption by 20%.

Regular maintenance of air-conditioning systems is also important to ensure that they’re working as efficiently as possible.

Lighting typically accounts for 20% of electricity usage in commercial buildings, but there are a few simple ways to minimise requirements without disrupting workflow. Replacing traditional bulbs with LED lights could help you reduce carbon emissions by up to 60% and because LEDs have a much longer lifespan you won’t need to replace them as often.

That said, it’s important to choose bulbs carefully and ensure that you have a good lighting design to optimise the performance of LED bulbs.

Motion sensors, automatic dimmers and timers can also help ensure light usage is kept to a minimum throughout your warehouse at all times. Keep windows, skylights and light fittings clean to maximise natural light during daylight hours, reducing the amount of artificial light needed.

2. Reduce waste

Keep your warehouse well-insulated and free from draughts and your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work so hard to maintain optimum temperature. This will save you money and reduce energy waste to boot.

Heat can escape quickly through wall and roofs, so it’s important to ensure they’re well insulated. Loose fill or spray foam insulation are relatively simple to install and can provide a more efficient alternative to traditional fibreglass insulation.

Rapid roll doors can help maintain a consistent temperature inside your warehouse and could save you up to 20% on heating or cooling. Fast-moving doors will also help keep staff and goods moving and improve security in your warehouse.

3. Make the most out of space, machinery and manpower

Once you’ve reduced energy consumption and waste, the next step is to consider how you can make the most out of space, machinery and manpower to cut your carbon footprint and make further savings.

As your business grows it may be tempting to increase square footage as you increase stock, but making the most out of available space before you expand outwards will save on lighting and heating.

Carefully organised storage and modern machinery, such as smart operator-assist systems for reach trucks, can help utilise overhead space fully, without compromising on staff safety or productivity.

Tools such as the STRATOS 3D planning and simulation software make optimising storage layouts simple and can even run simulations of predicted pallet throughputs, order picking rates, truck movements and consequent energy usage.

Good organisation, positioning and storage could reduce travel time between picks by as much as 35%, maximising productivity and saving fuel.