It can prove daunting to decifer exactly where savings can be made when it comes to heating / cooling in your warehouse, and then, what is the best solution for your site?
The two biggest energy consumers in a warehouse are lighting and temperature control (in the form of heating, cooling or refrigeration) and account for approximately 76 percent of total energy use making these systems the best targets for energy savings.
With some simple steps, you can not only save yourself money, but can also increase the efficiency of your warehouse.
1. Good Insulation
It sounds obvious but for many warehouses, insulated doors are not a priority even though the energy loss through them could be significant when you consider the amount of wall space which they could consume. Consider all your options and the insulation values of warehouse doors on offer before making a final decision - the cost savings may be significant.
Notice in the picture above, that the door panels fold up into small, compact units above the doorway, allowing for lighting to be installed directly above the doorway. Standard overhead doors often require hefty overhead beams for the door to roll up, and over, therefore eliminating any chance of having overhead lighting / ducting etc. right above the doorway. Download the Compact Sectional Door brochure here.
2. Close the Door
One of the biggest loads on an air conditioning is infiltration, the leakage of outdoor air into a conditioned space. Infiltration is even more costly on cold-storage warehouses, walk-in coolers and blast freezers but also could create an uncomfortable workplace for employees in the depths of summer and/or winter.
Doors that are insulated are necessary for any warehouse trying to maintain a strict interior temperature and lower energy costs and an open door provides the largest portal for energy loss in any warehouse. To counteract this, since we do need to come and go throughout the day, is that your doors are preferably automated, high-speed and easily repaired. By having doors which are operated by sensors, and which will open and close straight away, after personnel have moved through, will cut down significantly on energy lost through doors being left open for longer than required.
With lighting, experts say start by asking two questions: How much light is necessary in the warehouse and where is it needed most?
Automated warehouses, where there is little human activity, require much less lighting than a fully staffed facility. Also, a clerk’s station requires a different kind of lighting than a warehouse floor. “Think about how warehouses work. Many don’t have people in them,” says Lindsay Audin, president of Energywiz Inc., an energy consulting firm; “there are robotic warehouses with automated trolleys and robotic forklifts that can operate in the dark.”
By adopting more efficient lighting systems, most warehouses can save as much as 50% on their energy bill.
Fluorescent fixtures turn on immediately, eliminating the warm up time of HID lighting. This long warm-up cycle often is the reason for leaving the HID lamps on even when the light isn’t needed. The downside to fluorescent lamps is that light output might be less than some HID systems, such as metal halide, and historically, fluorescent products have a shorter life than HID lamps. With recent advances in fluorescent technology, however, the gap is closing.
Motion sensors also extend lamp life. One way to improve light levels while reducing energy expenses is simply by keeping the fixtures clean. Painting walls white and installing windows and skylights to introduce natural light help too.
And more on the final lighting consideration for all warehouses: the use of daylight. Skylights are becoming commonplace because of exhaust requirements, but the light they bring in is an extra benefit. Thermal glass in the skylights can help maintain climate control too. Glazed skylights on north and south facing walls can help provide the optimal diffused daylight needed for a well illuminated warehouse. Diffused daylight is a better light source than lighting as it doesn’t cast the same shadows that overhead lights do and it reaches more of the warehouse.
Daylight in the workplace is also associated with higher worker production and morale. By matching a photo-control system to well designed skylights you can have auto adjusting lights to keep the warehouse illuminated as the daylight fades while saving money during the day.
Next to lighting, a warehouse roof can be one of the biggest sources of energy inefficiency, experts say. Warehouse roofs are notorious for soaking up solar heat. While a facility’s ability to absorb heat might be advantageous for some facilities in the winter, it often means wasted money overall.
Depending on the warehouse’s purpose, cool roof technologies could cut down on energy costs. Cool roof systems have two critical properties: a high solar reflectance, which means they absorb less energy from the sun, and a high thermal emittance, which means they radiate a large percentage of the energy they do absorb back to the sky. Regardless of climate, cool roof technologies are highly beneficial for warehouses with refrigeration storage. These facilities demand consistent year-round cooling regardless of location. Cool roofing technologies can improve energy efficiency in these facilities by 5 to 10 percent.
Dry storage warehouses typically don’t have refrigeration year round, but still require a consistent temperature. In these settings, cool roofing systems can contribute an even higher percentage of cost savings. In buildings with no air conditioning, cool roof systems make the building more comfortable for workers. Since refrigeration and air conditioning are heavy strains on the power grid, cool roofing technologies can reduce peak demands and improve the load on the utility grid. While cool roof technology can reduce energy consumption in the summer, it also can increase energy consumption in the winter. In the winter there is value in heat gathering - you need to model the behavior of the building in all climates.
When considering a roof change, you need to look at the overall impact. Depending on where you are, you might lose energy more by getting rid of heat. In calculating the energy savings from reduced cooling load and the energy penalty from reduced winter heat gain, it’s important to take into account rising costs of both heating fuel and electricity. While cool roofing technologies can reduce cooling costs, not all products are created equal. Energy Star roofing and coating products are good reflectors of solar heat, but not all coatings are compatible with all existing roof types. When selecting a cool roof, make sure the installer is experienced with the product selected.
These quick tips aim to highlight some areas to consider changing in your warehouse and storage facilities. If you are interested in cold storage options please read our blog about the five key things to consider when operating an effective cold storage facility. Or if you would like to read about how you can reduce your energy emissions through installation of a High Speed Rapid Door, check out our self-relocating High Speed Door by clicking here.