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How to go green with your machinery without reducing performance

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Today, every business needs to be concerned about the size of its carbon footprint. With regulations getting tighter with each passing year, warehouse and factory owners need to look to find efficient ways of improving their green credentials to keep up with government demands and initiatives.

However, business owners should not see these regulations as a burden. A reduced carbon footprint goes hand-in-hand with lower operating costs, and the short-term investment of upgrading your machinery and warehouse to be as eco-friendly as possible will ultimately reduce your expenditure and increase revenue.

Many factory and warehouse owners are more than willing to invest in their operation in order to improve its green credentials. However, they’re concerned that replacing their existing equipment with more eco-friendly alternatives will reduce performance and slow down operations, impacting their bottom line. In reality, improving your business’s carbon footprint often improves efficiency and leads to greater profits — according to the Carbon Trust, a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales in many sectors. Here are our tips on how to go green in your business without reducing performance.

Going green: Where to start
According to Storage Solutions, heating and lighting are the two biggest energy outputs for warehouses, totalling an average of 66% of the energy output for the average warehouse. When looking to go green with your facility, this is the first place you should start.

Improve on the efficiency of your warehouse or factory lighting by installing motion sensor lights to make it impossible for them to be left on overnight, a big contributor to wasted energy. Make sure they have energy efficient lightbulbs which turn on immediately without needing to warm up.

In smaller rooms that are lit by lightbulbs, you should replace traditional lightbulbs with LED models, which are more energy-efficient and can last up to ten times longer. Take a look on Amazon for a wide selection of LED lightbulbs.

Alongside upgrading your warehouse lighting, you should consider installing windows and skylights to provide natural light all year round. This will not only capture the sun’s heat, lowering your heating costs, but also reduce the need for electric lights as well. A great way to quickly find a local company to install windows and skylights is through Yell.com.
After you’ve optimised your warehouse lighting, you should move on to the heating.

Firstly, make sure that your walls and ceilings are all thoroughly insulated for maximum efficiency. You should also install doors and partition walls to separate areas which don’t need to be heated to save on energy costs.

Another way you can reduce your heating bills is by installing a ‘green roof’. A green roof is simply a roof covered in plants. This will not only act as another layer of insulation to help further regulate your facility’s temperature and reduce heating costs, but also absorb heat during the summer and help keep it cool. It will also capture airborne pollutants and serve as a habitat for wildlife, helping the environment further.
Installing a green roof doesn’t have to be complicated or high-maintenance, and can be as easy as rolling out a pre-grown mat of sedum or meadow flowers on to your warehouse roof. If you’d like to know more about green roofs, check out the Green Roof Guide for an excellent resource on the topic.

Upgrading your warehouse equipment
Another area which offers ample opportunity for improving your green credentials and reducing your expenses is by upgrading your warehouse equipment. According to a report from CAT Lift Trucks, electric forklifts are cheaper to both operate and maintain than LPG, diesel, or petrol models. Replacing your existing fuel-powered warehouse equipment with their electric counterparts will also eliminate the need to control fuel emissions indoors, further reducing your expenses. Electricity is also the most convenient and safe form of energy, readily available from any power outlet whenever you need it.
While electric equipment is more efficient and cost-effective than its fuel-powered counterpart, many warehouse and factory owners are put off by the upfront cost of upgrading their vehicles. However, many companies now offer financing options which many of those working within the industry find more convenient than securing the funds to buy upgraded equipment from a bank or third party. Warehouse equipment supplier Impact Handling offer in-house financing to help out customers who may not have the up-front capital to invest in new equipment which will improve the efficiency of their operations. This option also cuts out the need to spend time finding the best loan option, which can often be confusing and tiring.

Next steps
Making these initial changes will go a long way to improving your energy efficiency, and they’re likely to make a direct impact on your bottom line over time. However, it’s important to maintain your green efforts over the long-term, as there are many more ways of reducing your carbon footprint.

To do this, you should give one person within your company the responsibility of maintaining an energy saving initiative. Their responsibilities should include regularly checking fuel bills and looking for areas to improve upon, carrying out regular inspections of equipment to ensure that it’s always running at optimal efficiency, and making sure that other members of staff are aware of the energy saving initiatives the company are putting in to place and how they can contribute.

Time, money, and manpower need to be allocated toward the green initiatives you’re looking to put in place, or else they won’t happen. Deadlines and targets need to be set so performance can be measured, and you can establish whether your efforts are making a difference to your carbon footprint and your expenses.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to reduce your carbon footprint, lower your expenses, and increase your bottom line without a reduction in performance.

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