Sustainability is one of the most important business trends of 2020. As the United Kingdom prepares to go carbon neutral by 2050, organisations across the country are doing what they can to reduce their impact on the environment. Creating an eco-friendly green warehouse is most definitely up there.
Commercial buildings, like warehouses, are an important part of this drive to improve the country’s carbon footprint. As an essential part of the supply chain, there is an excellent opportunity for warehouses and storage organisations to make a real change to the environment.
If you are thinking about creating a green warehouse, it can feel overwhelming. However, even small changes can have a dramatic impact on your overall emissions. Our guide to creating an eco-friendly space is designed to help get you thinking about the changes you could make in your own organisation.
There are a wide variety of benefits to creating an eco-friendly warehouse, and some of them might be unexpected. Making changes to the way your organisation works could have the following effects:
While the cost of going green can be expensive at the beginning of your project, the long term savings are significant. From saving on your utility bills to improving efficiency on the warehouse floor, you will find that making that initial investment is well worth it. The key to getting the most out of your eco-friendly initiative is to plan carefully to ensure the efforts you make yield results.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are several tax relief schemes in place for organisations that are committed to energy efficiency.
A happy workforce is usually translated into a productive one. Creating a green warehouse environment is one way to improve employee satisfaction. Many of your staff members will feel proud of working for an organisation that prioritises the environment, particularly if it has additional benefits for the company too. Going green can also mean a safer work environment as well as smarter working methods, which your employees are sure to appreciate.
Health and safety is at the top of the priority list for all warehouses, which is another reason why creating a green warehouse can be beneficial. By reducing emissions within your workspace, as well as providing more opportunities for a healthy environment, you may experience the added benefit of improving the health of your workforce. This could even have a knock-on effect of reduced sick leave, which is likely to improve profits and efficiency.
Most of us are aware that greenhouse gases and carbon emissions are having a serious effect on the health of our planet. By creating a green warehouse, you can ‘do your bit’ for the environment. Like we mentioned before, going green doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Even small changes to your workplace can have a positive effect on the earth.
Going green in your warehouse is a great way to improve efficiency. As you look for ways to reduce energy usage in your space, you may find solutions to other logistical concerns too. From maximising the space in your existing facility to streamlining processes for your workforce, you are likely to find that there are new and innovative ways to keep your warehouse running smoothly.
While it might sound cynical, creating an eco-friendly warehouse can be a useful way to find new customers and retain your existing ones. As more and more organisations commit to green practices, there is increased opportunity for green warehouses to take advantage of those looking for eco-friendly partnerships.
It is also worth noting that improved efficiency is likely to have a positive impact on your clients in other ways too. If you can deliver your objectives faster, your customers are more likely to be satisfied with your service.
Depending on your existing facility and processes, there are a variety of different ways to create a greener working environment. Some of these may be small changes, while others could take a bit more work. They could include:
Warehouses require plenty of light in order to operate safely and efficiently. Most warehouses need the lights on 24/7, which could mean a large utility bill. However, there is a simple way to improve. Instead of old-fashioned halogen or CFL bulbs, invest in energy-efficient LED lighting. Technology has improved drastically for LED bulbs, meaning you won’t notice the difference in your warehouse.
It is thought that LED bulbs are 90% more efficient than their incandescent counterparts, making them the obvious choice when creating a green warehouse. It is worth bearing in mind that it can be more expensive investing in LEDs at the start. However you should see a dramatic decrease in your utility bills over time.
Warehouses have a variety of equipment constantly in use, which offers another opportunity to improve your energy efficiency. Instead of traditional petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, choose electric equipment where you can. This has the added benefit of improving the health of your employees, as dangerous emissions will be vastly reduced.
If you are currently using older equipment, it could be time to take an inventory of how your vehicles and machinery are working. Newer models may have improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions, making it worthwhile to upgrade.
Most organisations deal with packaging on varying levels of severity. Whether you manufacture products onsite or store third-party items ready for distribution, your warehouse likely deals with packaging too.
Sustainable packaging is one of the best improvements to make when creating a green warehouse. Where possible, reduce the amount of packaging you use. This will reduce the amount of waste that eventually goes into landfill, and will also make your products cheaper to transport.
You may also want to choose recyclable or biodegradable packaging materials. If you work with other organisations, consider making changes in partnership with them.
Warehouses are well-suited to recycling plans, so it is a great idea to implement a recycling strategy if you don’t have one already. As well as larger bins for bulky items, consider placing smaller bins throughout your warehouse to encourage staff members to recycle smaller items (like drinks cans or sandwich boxes) while at work.
If you can, find items that you can reuse safely too.
Creating a green warehouse isn’t just about investing in new equipment or recycling more. Maximising what you already have is a great way to improve both your energy efficiency and workplace processes.
For example, you may want to add a flexible pallet racking solution to your space to ensure your items are stored efficiently. This could mean you can store more in your warehouse, as well as make sure your workforce can access products easily. Ultimately, this could result in a more efficient service for your customers.
Choosing smart storage systems could put off a relocation to a larger warehouse too, which would mean cost savings and eco-friendliness across the board.
Heating and cooling your warehouse uses a lot of energy, which has a negative effect on both your finances and the environment. Insulation is essential to make sure your building operates at a comfortable temperature and can help to reduce the amount of heating or cooling you require. By adding plenty of insulation to your space, you are likely to find a significant decrease in your monthly utility bill.
It is also worth thinking about innovative solutions for your warehouse. For example, a reflective roof can help with temperature control, as it reflects sunlight away from your building. This typically involves painting reflective paint on your roof, which is a simple change that could have a significant impact.
Organisations across the globe are moving towards paperless systems, and there is no reason why your warehouse can’t too. This could be as simple as using digital paperwork instead of printed copies or as innovative as equipping your staff members with tablets or smartphones to complete work on the ground.
Smarter working has additional efficiency benefits too, making sure that appropriate records are kept and that your information and data can ‘talk’ to each other.
Water waste can be a big problem for warehouses. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy solutions. When creating your green warehouse, consider adding low-flow toilets and taps. You may also want to invest in sensor-activated toilets and taps in your bathrooms and leak sensors throughout your facility.
Whether you want to make small changes to your warehouse or completely redesign your space, creating a green warehouse is one of the best ways to improve efficiency, make cost savings and reduce your impact on the environment.
Apex Storage Systems have a variety of racking solutions to make the most of your building. To find out more about our racking systems, browse our website or get in touch with our experienced team. For more advice and tips from our experts, visit our blog for the latest updates.