Last year the Guardian highlighted warehouses as the latest boom sector within UK real estate – and there are no signs of that growth diminishing in 2023.
The focus for most of these facilities lies in stock management, with particular attention to picking and delivering orders. Pressure from the rapid expansion of e-commerce shopping activity keeps increasing, and sometimes the overall costs are somewhat hidden by large revenues. However, when you consider cooling, lighting, endless driving and lifting movements of forklifts, and doors opening and closing, an enormous amount of energy is needed to keep things going.
At the same time, we are all facing an unprecedented rise in energy costs. Sooner or later, warehouse managers will be forced not only to optimise the revenue side but to develop serious plans for limiting energy consumption. Rite-Hite is well placed to help. As well as being experts at enhancing safety in the loading dock, we have been developing innovative solutions that contribute to an optimal indoor climate in industrial environments. Today we would like to suggest three ways in which substantial costs can be saved.
- Ensure maximum sealing of loading dock openings
Loading and unloading can become energy-draining activities if dock shelters do not seal properly. Most dock shelters accommodate a trailer along the sides, bottom and top, but corners may remain fully or partially open. In some cases there are just a few gaps here and there. These seem harmless at first sight, but studies show that such small openings can result in an annual energy loss worth between £1,200 and £2,700 per loading bay! For this reason alone, you should choose dock shelters with optimum sealing features like those of the Eclipse from Rite-Hite.
- Choose fans that optimise the destratification process
Regardless of the type of warehouse, HVLS fans (high volume, low speed), with their large blades and relatively slow speeds, offer many advantages. They consume less energy than traditional (faster) fans and, in summer, are an ideal supplement to your air conditioning system. The increased air movement they generate reduces temperatures and can help make the air feel up to 10°C cooler.
They also improve conditions through destratification: in other words, they create an even temperature throughout the warehouse by mixing warm air with cool air. This is particularly valuable in winter when most of the heated air would otherwise rise to the ceiling, leaving employees to work in the cold downstairs. HVLS fans cancel those temperature differences, without having to turn the heating dials.
- Look for excellent speed in industrial doors
The contribution of doors to better climate control is not restricted to loading docks. Where forklifts and warehouse trucks frequently move from one hall to another, high-speed doors are essential to ensuring rapid passage without causing temperature fluctuations. This is especially true in applications where certain zones or even complete halls need to be cooled, for example in a food environment. Every split second saved by closing the door faster saves energy.
Rite-Hite advisers can conduct a thorough on-site survey to determine where improvements are possible. A minimal investment can often yield considerable savings.
Find out more at www.ritehite.com.