Years ago, sustainability initiatives may have seemed like altruistic, community-focused efforts with little impact on a company’s own interests or bottom line. But at this point, those days are long over. Sustainability has now become a central and mainstream aspect of every successful business strategy, and companies that aren’t devoting sufficient attention and resources to these efforts are quickly falling behind. So what can you do to approach the issue from the ground up and solve sustainability concerns before they start? Keep these considerations in mind.
Location is everything.
Before you establish new facilities, take resource access into account. Most of the wasted energy and excess costs that go into warehousing are not related to utilities like power and water—they’re related to transportation. Every item that supports your facility needs to be shipped or piped in from somewhere else via roads, railroads, reservoirs and power production facilities. Establish your facility in strategic area that minimizes these distances. Consider your employee travel times as well. You may be better off creating distribution centers in densely populated areas instead of remote locations. This may also help control staffing and turnover costs.
Focus on lighting.
After transportation, lighting may be your number one energy expenditure. On average, distribution centers and warehouses dedicate about 30 percent of their overall power and utility usage to lighting alone. Consider a combination of energy efficient lighting fixtures and a construction strategy known as “daylighting.” Use clear story glass, daylight tubes, daylight sensors, and skylights as much as possible. And when you need to rely on artificial lighting, use T5 energy efficient fluorescent fixtures with occupancy sensors.
Make the most of what’s already there.
Recycling, reusing and repurposing can vastly cut down on a company’s development and growth costs, in addition to reducing its sustainability footprint. Before creating a new facility, research other possibilities. Reuse begins with construction, so investigate abandoned or low cost facilities made available by the economic downturn. You can also consider occupying land that’s already been developed or made unavailable for other uses. Once your facility is in operation, get serious about collecting and repurposing reusable plastic containers. This move alone can result in a surprising degree of cost and energy savings.
Use environmentally friendly equipment.
When selecting equipment to rent or purchase, consider the impact on your surroundings. Taking steps to minimize pollution and using electric-powered trucks are huge steps toward reducing your footprint. Alternative fuel lift trucks, including propane or Compressed Natural Gas are alternatives to reduce pollution. These simple changes play a big role in being environmentally responsible.
For more information on how to take small sustainability steps with huge impact on your companies environmental footprint and financial returns, reach out to the warehousing and distribution experts at Liftow.