When we think of the environmental impact of logistics, we might not imagine warehouses to be prime culprits. However, they do produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the overall carbon footprint of the industry. In fact, warehouse emissions account for nearly a quarter of overall supply chain emissions (source).
Arloid is helping businesses across the built environment decarbonise using world-leading AI technology. Here, our experts provide guidance for warehouse businesses looking to reduce their emissions.
In an industry commonly cited as inevitably bad for the environment, a sustainable warehouse changes the narrative. These facilities have a low impact on the planet due to the implementation of a range of different strategies designed to reduce waste and limit energy use. As a result, a sustainable warehouse will have a minimal carbon footprint, and prioritise circularity in an industry designed to be directionally streamlined. Though creating a sustainable warehouse is no small feat, it is possible and practicable for every logistics business with the right vision.
HVAC emissions can be sizable, so it’s important to make sure your HVAC is working at peak efficiency. An underperforming HVAC system will result in energy wastage and potential shifts in temperature and humidity – threatening the condition of the goods you store. Proper maintenance, servicing, and cleaning of HVAC including air ducts, vents, and filters can apprehend issues early and reduce the likelihood of faults in the future. HVAC operations can also be optimised through the use of AI, a method which provides enhanced energy performance over manual scheduling – savings of 30%, to be exact.
Adequate insulation is mission critical when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of a building. If yours isn’t up to scratch, making improvements where possible will do wonders to reduce heat loss and gain. From filling roof and wall cavities with eco-friendly insulating material to installing external cladding to insulating pipework, any measures you take will make a difference. As loading doors are frequently in use, air curtains can provide a great way to minimise the infiltration of external air which alters internal conditions each time and takes a lot of energy to put right.
The internal temperature of warehouse buildings needs to be carefully controlled by HVAC, however there are passive methods of blocking the heat which should be maximised too. For example, you could look to install shades and awnings around the perimeter of the building to reduce cooling costs in the summer, or even plant trees and other greenery.
Smart technology is making waves in all sectors, providing an automatic way to optimise building management systems and maintain spaces more efficiently. At Arloid, we train our AI using Deep Reinforcement Learning and a highly accurate digital replica of your building. That way, it understands the optimal settings for your specific space, and learns how to respond to live rather than legacy data. As a result, arloid.ai can produce energy savings of up to 30% after just 60 days of implementation.
Optimised Space Usage
Before increasing the physical footprint of your warehouse building, it’s worth thinking through whether there are any ways you could optimise your use of space. High density deep lane storage and vertical storage can allow you to store more goods in a smaller area, which can then be retrieved when needed using warehouse automation. And a smaller area means less energy will be required to power your warehouse operations.
Inevitably, warehouses produce vast quantities of waste, mainly as a result of packaging. The production of these materials and their disposal emits large quantities of greenhouse gases, so it’s important to implement an effective waste management process to cut this down. Focus above all else on reducing the waste you produce during daily operations through reusing pallets and other packaging materials. You could even consider transitioning to a 100% digital warehouse management system and go paperless.
The movement of goods is integral to warehouse buildings, and this is a significant source of emissions. Investing in a fleet of electric vehicles and equipment can therefore make a big different to your total carbon footprint. With no exhaust fumes, electric vehicles and machinery will also have the added benefit of improving the air quality of the environment your employees are working in.
Warehouses often have large flat roofs, making them a prime location for the installation of solar panels. By producing your own renewable energy, you’ll be less reliant on carbon-based power and dramatically cut down on your energy spend as a result. You could also look to invest in a biomass boiler and start diverting your general waste from landfill – making your warehouse building circular, highly efficient, and low carbon.
Energy Efficiency Lighting
Many warehouses have inefficient lighting, and this can be a major cause of energy consumption and, consequently, carbon emissions. To combat this issue, it’s worth upgrading all light fixtures to LEDs which convert the majority of the energy they consume into light, meaning less is lost as heat. You could also look to invest in smart lighting technology which uses motion sensors to detect occupancy and automatically switch of lighting when not required.
For any logistics business, the ability to control each aspect of the supply chain can be limited. However, choosing to work with green suppliers where possible will have a significant impact on your carbon footprint. From opting for recyclable or even biodegradable packaging manufacturers to choosing couriers that utilise electric vehicles, a discerning eye will be able to form partnerships based on ethos and sustainability, not just price point.
AI has the power to significantly cut warehouse HVAC carbon emissions, without any capital investment. Our pioneering AI technology understands how to perform based on live, real time data – providing the settings that balance the ideal conditions for goods with maximum energy efficiency.
Ready to start cutting down your carbon footprint? Contact us today!