The market for commercial and industrial real estate is teeming with new, eco-friendly options. These new buildings are constructed with recycled, green materials, and feature some of the energy efficient setups of any industrial building in the world. Despite their obvious benefits, many business owners simply find new, eco-friendly warehouses to be too expensive in terms of financing or monthly rent. In addition, many business owners simply aren’t willing to pay the costs of relocation simply to go green. Luckily, they don’t have to. There are nine great ways retrofit existing warehouse buildings to make them more eco-friendly and energy efficient, all while saving a significant amount of money.
1. Consider Joining a Demand-Response Group
Little known among industrial business owners, demand-response groups are actually responsible for conserving a large amount of energy among commercial enterprises. These groups of businesses actually commit to significantly lowering their usage of power during peak times, and they’re monetarily rewarded for their conservation efforts. Using more energy during off-peak times is then more affordable than ever before, as the system rewards users who smartly schedule their usage.
2. Attach Existing Lighting to Sensors
There are two sensors that can dramatically impact energy use in any industrial or warehouse space. The first, and most common, is the simple motion sensor. When attached to individual lights, or entire lighting zones, these sensors can intelligently turn lights on and off based on when workers enter or leave a space. The second kind of light sensor, known as a daylight sensor or an ambient light sensor, actually adjusts the brightness of the building’s lights based on how much natural light is penetrating the space.
3. Switch to Programmable Thermostats
All too many warehouse buildings are still using old fashioned thermostats that cannot be programmed at all. This means that a building is maintained at the same temperature all day long, regardless of how many people are in the building — or whether it’s being used at all. Programmable thermostats can crank up the heat or air conditioning during the workday, and significantly dial back those settings after the close of business. Some warehouse management systems will monitor thermostat usage and overall energy efficiency, pointing out areas of opportunity for conservation and eco-friendly operation.
4. Since to Fluorescent Lighting
It’s no secret that fluorescent light bulbs are far more energy efficient than their incandescent predecessors. On average, these bulbs consume as much as 50 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs, saving a great deal of money on monthly utility costs and benefiting the environment in the form of a far smaller carbon footprint.
5. Ditch the Batt Insulation
Most older warehouses use an old form of insulation called “batt” insulation. While it might have been the best option during its time, it is no longer the most eco-friendly or energy efficient way to insulate a building. Switching to loose fill insulation, or a sprayed foam alternative, will result in major energy savings and environmental benefits for years to come.
6. Smartly Reconfigure Lighting Options
Most warehouses contain a large number of lights, all installed into the ceiling of the building. That simply is not the best way to light a space, and it can consume a great deal of extra energy. Instead, warehouse owners should consider bringing the lighting away from the ceiling and closer to the actual worker and the workspace they’re using. The lights will shine brighter, and fewer will be required to illuminate the same tasks.
7. Get a Really Big Fan
Destratification fans are one of the best ways to promote heating and cooling efficiency. These big fans — so big that the leading manufacturer is named Big Ass Fans — bring hot air away from the ceiling and funnel it down toward the floor. The same is true of cooler air in warmer months, creating a more even and equal climate control situation. That’s good for energy usage and, of course, utility costs.
8. Choose a Cool Roof
Changing the building’s roof can result in major energy savings. This process, known as a cool roof, actually coats the roof in a bright, reflecting paint. This allows the sun’s rays to be reflected, rather than absorbed by the roof, and it means far less climate control costs during the hottest months of the year.
9. Go Solar
Solar light tubes are an advanced form of skylight that bring natural light in and funnel it down into the existing workspace. These tubes use a reflective material to ensure that the largest amount of natural light is brought into the space, and they greatly reduce the cost associated with a large number of fluorescent and other lights in the space.
Great Ways to Save Without Moving
Retrofitting an existing warehouse to be energy efficient and eco-friendly is exceedingly easy, and it’s a great way to work within an existing budget while reducing both utility costs and environmental impact. In a world that is increasingly going green, these nine options should be at the front of every industrial business owner’s mind.