You probably know a thing or two about making your home energy-efficient and eco-friendly but have you ever, as an entrepreneur, thought about making your warehouse more environmentally-friendly? You are probably thinking that this is an impossible mission, as it would cost too many resources to put into action. Well, you are wrong. A warehouse can always use less electricity and generate less waste, to name just a couple of the greatest environmental concerns. If you haven’t given thought about these things, now is high time to do so, as saving the planet means saving money. In business, every dollar counts, so you should make an effort to run your warehouse business in a more eco-friendly manner.
The packaging problem
Since your merchandise is not stored out in the open, your warehouse must be full of boxes. In the best case scenario, they are made from cardboard, while there is a high chance that many of them are plastic as well. These materials require a lot of energy to be made and they leave a huge carbon print. Their production process, however, is not the worst thing about them, as disposing of them is even more problematic.
Most packaging is made from non-biodegradable materials, so it pollutes the environment it eventually ends up in. Plastic alone takes decades to biodegrade, so you are effectively creating a problem for future generations. Your children are going to deal with the ill-management of waste from your warehouse unless you switch to biodegradable materials. Their production process is becoming cheaper and cheaper, they biodegrade in a matter of years, sometimes months, and most importantly, business-wise, they perform the exact same function as non-biodegradable packaging.
The importance of proper insulation
We know what you are thinking, that a simple sheet of metal is enough to form the outer wall of the warehouse. However, this could not be the more wrong way to go, as you need proper insulation. A warehouse might be large in size and harder to heat and cool down but this issue has more to do with the quality of the walls than with the size of the building. If you want to save power (and money), then be sure to install insulation that will preserve the heat during winter and cool the place down during hot summer days.
Saving on gas
It might seem like a trivial matter but your forklifts and other material managing equipment run on gas right? Well, the bill at the end of the month shows that you can perhaps find an alternative fuel source. We are not suggesting that your workers should manually manipulate payloads, just that an electric forklift or a pallet high lift can run on electricity. There are such models at the market today and according to the range of products NFM Forklifts offer, they are affordable as well. Electric pallet movers are made from stainless steel so they will last a long time and they are easily manipulated, requiring a single worker to operate them.
Airflow and the roof
Other than heating and cooling the warehouse, you need to make sure there is enough air inside. You probably already have a reliable ventilation system installed but what you are lacking is a way in which fresh air will circulate through the office. Due to the height of the warehouse and the number of ceiling-high aisles, air circulates poorly through the building. This means that workers will inhale less oxygen and soon they will become drowsy, increasing the chances of them making a potentially fatal error. Large ceiling fans are the ideal solution for even air flow inside the warehouse, so be sure to place several of them overhead.
Another eco-friendly solution regarding the ceiling is the roof above it. In order to protect it from the scorching sun, you can create a green roof or apply reflective paint to its surface. This way, the roof will not heat up additionally, creating a huge problem during summers as AC will have to be cranked up to cool down the facility.
Changing the lights
Like we said earlier, a warehouse is nothing like a house but the issues regarding eco-friendliness are strikingly similar. Back home, you have probably replaced old incandescent light bulbs with more advanced LED lights. Now you know that LED lights are more expensive which makes you reluctant to conduct the same change in the warehouse. However, switching (no pun intended) to LED light will mean a bigger save, as there are more light sources in a warehouse. This change might be expensive initially but soon you will be saving hundreds of dollars on electricity bills. This is the money that can be reinvested in other aspects of the business, like workers’ safety.
As you have seen from our examples, it takes more goodwill than money to create an eco-friendly warehouse. Profit might be your number one concern but this doesn’t mean that you can’t help save the environment in the process.