Shifting away from traditional approaches towards energy buying with a drive towards net-zero emissions is rapidly becoming the norm for the sector. However, to achieve this will require careful planning, as well as bold adoption of innovation.
Currently, a growing number of warehousing and logistics businesses are under increasing pressure from customers to prove their commitment to reduce emissions.
With increasing numbers of major businesses announcing sustainability targets, typically leading to net zero carbon outcomes, there will need to be increasing support and participation from supply chain partners, including logistics and warehousing.
To meet the UK’s carbon reduction commitments, there is much work to do. In particular:
Demand management should also be considered within a sustainability strategy. Spreading the days energy use more evenly or reducing demand at peak times of the day can reduce some non-commodity charges. However, in the future we expect to see flexibility increasingly being used to help the grid operate more efficiently and with a lower carbon footprint. Those businesses that offer demand management will increasingly be able to earn revenues from this capability.
New build or retrofitted warehouses should be designed in line with the latest sustainable practices including;
Building materials: greater insulation can save energy and improve comfort levels. Materials that have lower polluting properties, like specialized paints, adhesives, wood products, sealants and carpeting, can improve a building’s air quality while creating fewer emissions in their production. The carbon footprint of the construction materials should also be reviewed to encourage the use of greener materials such as timber and recycled plastics for internal fittings and re-used concrete or other inert materials for foundations.
Sensors: These can monitor not only lighting and occupancy, but also gas and water. Sub-meters can monitor refrigeration units, machinery and other equipment for consumption and energy savings.
Lighting: This is a primary driver of a building’s energy use, according to Prologis, which designs, builds and operates warehouses globally. LED lighting is the main sustainable upgrade for existing buildings.
Daylighting tubes, or solar tubes, are sheet metal cylinders with polished interiors that reflect and channel in exterior light, preserving its intensity. Each tube acts as a light to reduce or eliminate artificial light during daylight hours.
Heating: If ground source heat pumps are feasible, then these should be included in the early stages of the design as boreholes or underground heating loops should be included within the buildings groundworks and underfloor heating should be installed at the same time as the main floors are being constructed.
Fans: Cooling and heating systems can be less efficient in warehouses. Some find that high volume low speed (HVLS) fans are efficient at moving cool or warm air around to keep workers comfortable while reducing energy use. They can be adopted in conditions requiring air conditioning or heating.
Current building owners can also conduct a thermographic inspection, using a non-intrusive infrared imaging technique to identify uncontrolled heat gain or heat loss. The doors, walls and roof can be scanned to find potential improvements.
Best practice will now include buildings that are designed to provide as much natural ventilation as is possible, whilst still achieving high levels of insulation in winter.
Roofs: One way to lower the temperature inside is adding a cool roof. This can be done with light-coloured reflective materials, or even white paint. This reflects sunlight rather than absorbing it. Roofs can also hold solar panels, supplying cheaper electricity but must be designed to carry the additional weight of such panels.
Landscaping and water usage: Water-efficient landscaping and other features, such as rainwater harvesting, plumbing fixtures to reduce use and sensors to monitor consumption, can be adopted.
Stormwater drainage systems can also divert water away from drainage systems into on-site reservoirs or holding ponds.
In some areas the design may also include bunds or other defences to reduce risks of flooding.
We understand that logistics and warehousing businesses are under growing pressure to demonstrate a commitment to net zero targets whilst also minimising overheads to maintain profitability in an increasingly competitive market.
Inenco work with many major logistics businesses to develop and implement bespoke energy management strategies that deliver value through effective procurement, data analysis and insight, process improvement and energy efficiency, while minimising energy costs, administration and environmental impact.
The necessity to embrace environmental sustainability may be to achieve regulatory compliance or in response to supply chain pressure. However, it can also be a route to controlling energy costs and to creating competitive advantage.
We help our clients to shape their environmental sustainability and energy management strategies and chart a path to net zero carbon. Our consulting methodology links expert consultancy to actionable insight through:
Our focus is on shaping our collective future through practical services and expert advice that will improve sustainability outcomes.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts please call 01253 785 294 or email us at email@example.com