large modern warehouse with forklifts

How to make your warehouse more energy efficient

Embrace energy efficiency to save on warehouse costs.

As with any large industrial building, warehouses require a lot of energy.  However, there are plenty of things – both big and small – that you can do to reduce energy in your warehouse and save on your energy bill. Here are some ideas to keep in mind if you’re looking to save.

 

Go LED

Many warehouses still use metal halide lights, which are electrical lamps that rose to popularity for their high quality of light. However, due to their long warm-up time, they can’t be switched on and off on-demand, which often means they’re left on for long periods of time. This can have a significant impact on your energy bill – especially with so many large lights needed for your operations.

If you’re looking for a simple solution to reduce energy use in your warehouse, consider switching to LED bulbs. They are the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market and have a light quality comparable to metal halides. LEDs can be switched on and off as needed, saving you from paying for unnecessary lighting time. You can also install occupancy sensors, which automatically turn on and off based on motion, or vacancy sensors, which require manual operation to turn on but turn off after a certain amount of time has elapsed without motion in the room. With so much movement in and out of warehouses, sensors are an easy way to control lighting costs.

While there are upfront costs to switch to LEDs, they will save in the long run on both energy and replacement costs. The lifespan of a single LED equals that of two and five metal halides, so you’ll spend less on maintenance costs by making the switch. Bays, loading docks, parking lots and exit signs are great places to start when considering updating your bulbs.

Interested in upgrading your lighting or other areas of operation?

Check out our Retrofit program here.

Improve air tightness

Improving air tightness is a great idea, especially in large industrial buildings that can let a lot of heat out through the frequent opening and closing of doors.

Warehouse docks are key areas to focus on if you’re looking to make your warehouse more energy efficient. They’re often left open when trucks arrive and leave from the warehouse with cargo. For truck bays, keep an eye on the weather stripping or cushioning around the bay door opening. Perform maintenance as needed to ensure that trucks seal right up to the bay to reduce outside air infiltration. You can also install dock seals or dock shelters to do this.

For delivery doors, implement measures to prevent them from staying open for long periods of time. Installing automatic doors with sensors is the best place to start. Not only are automatic doors more efficient for employees, they’ll help reduce the amount of air that escapes.

If you need doors to be kept open, try installing air curtains, which prevent air from moving from one space to another.

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Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)

Effectively controlling your HVAC is a great way to keep employees comfortable and your energy bill low.

Traditionally, many warehouses use air heating systems to heat and control the air temperature, but it can be more cost effective and energy efficient to use low-intensity heaters, particularly in spaces where doors are frequently open. If you’re looking to save on heating, consider swapping your air heating system for tube heaters. To help reduce roof heat loss and increase comfort at floor level, you can also install destratification fans, which are specifically designed to reduce hot and cold spots by mixing air in industrial spaces.

You should also make sure your heating and cooling units are working in unison. Oftentimes HVAC systems are set up separately with independent thermostats, meaning one area could be cooling while the other is heating. Wireless thermostat systems can help you tie systems together to ensure temperatures are adjusted appropriately.

Whether it's a major renovation or smaller upgrade, see the return on investment of energy-efficiency upgrades faster with our incentives.

Learn more about our programs here

Assess system efficiency

Assessing the efficiency of your machinery and control systems can help you identify areas for improvement and opportunities to save.  Check the runtime and controls on your warehouse management system to ensure that all conveyors and machinery are timed correctly, and that these systems are shut off when inactivity occurs. These simple adjustments can amount to big savings.

Make sure to perform regular maintenance on machinery and systems, too. You may find opportunities for improvement. For example, if your warehouse has a belt and roller system, check the motors to see if they could use an upgrade. If it’s time to improve the system as a whole, consider purchasing motor-driven rollers instead of roller belts or slide belts. Motor-driven rollers are activated by sensors and shut down after a few seconds of inactivity to reduce the amount of energy used, making them more energy efficient than the alternatives.

Get employees on board

Your employees are critical to a functioning warehouse and improving energy efficiency, too. Building a culture around energy efficiency and encouraging employees to take part in reducing energy usage can make a big difference. For example, consider providing training for employees to capitalize on energy-efficient equipment. You could also implement an energy certification process so employees can improve their skills and knowledge while helping you identify ways to cut back on energy use. You can also build your own energy-efficiency team to help get employees involved and find energy savings. Learn more about getting a team set up here.

Investing in an energy manager is a great way to build energy management into everyday work. Energy managers can be responsible for assessing and controlling systems, monitoring energy costs, organizing maintenance checks and meeting with staff to discuss energy-efficient matters. Energy managers should be at the table for key business decisions to help identify areas for improvement and consider the integration of energy initiatives in all aspects of business, ultimately lowering business energy costs.

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