5 Things You Can Do to Keep Money in the Warehouse

In September 29, 2011

Winter is fast approaching, which means increased energy expenses to keep your warehouse warm and productive. We regularly work with customers to help them reduce energy consumption, provide a productive and comfortable atmosphere, reduce their carbon footprint, and improve bottom-line profits. The following steps are five of our top recommendations for reducing energy consumption without turning down the thermostat.

Ensure Efficient Heat Generation Processes

Whatever thermal system you use, now is the time to make sure it is up to date with regular maintenance. Keeping your system in good operating order extends its life and ensures that it operates at optimal efficiency. Meanwhile, a poorly maintained system, particularly a gas-fired system, can potentially pose a significant safety risk.

Another area of concern is the quantity, type, and location of your heating units. If you have made any changes to your warehouse configuration since your HVAC system was installed, now would be a good time for consultation. Technology advances quickly, and you want to be sure your HVAC system is up-to-date with current technology to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

Maintain Proper Air Circulation

We all know that heat rises, and 20-degree temperature variances between the warehouse floor and the typical 40-foot ceiling are not uncommon. Circulating warmth to the floor can save hundreds—if not thousands of dollars each month during the winter. The best means to accomplish this is through large industrial ceiling fans.

Determining what size, how many, and where to install industrial ceiling fans is our specialty. Cardinal Integrated Systems features fans as a high-quality solution to warehouse heating and cooling challenges. The fans can save up to 30 percent of your heating costs and deliver positive ROI in less than two years in many applications.

Retain as Much Heat as Possible

If you operate a warehouse, you likely have very large doors. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate heat exchanges with cold outdoor air, you can take specific steps to significantly reduce energy loss. These steps are more cost-effective than you may expect.

Insulated dock panel doors can help retain warm air. However, depending on the number of dock positions, investment in them can be cost prohibitive. Instead, consider an insulation kit for each door. Insulation kits are less expensive, provide an R-Value of 6.81, and are easy to install.
Gaps around your dock doors can also cause significant heat loss. Inspect the top, bottom, and both sides of each door. If you see daylight, you are losing energy. Cardinal Integrated Systems installs complete weather stripping kits at a very affordable price. The kits include weather stripping for the perimeter of the door as well as a 5-inch double-loop bottom rubber astragal to ensure that doors close tightly at the bottom. In addition to preserving heat, the seals help keep bugs and other debris outside of your warehouse facility.

Dock seals and shelters are imperative for preventing tremendous heat loss during trailer loading and unloading. If you are running a high-traffic operation without seals or even with worn seals, tens of thousands of expensive BTUs are forced out the door each winter day. If your seals or shelters are in good condition, be sure each tractor trailer is backed up tight against them before the dock doors are opened. Many designs of dock seals and shelters are available for your specific application. Your local Cardinal Integrated System’s warehouse professional can help you choose the right ones for your doors and budget.

One final area we recommend assessing are your dock levelers. If you use pit-mounted levelers, it makes sense to ensure that the side and rear seals are in good condition. Worn seals on your dock leveler result in air infiltration. Cardinal Carryor can inspect your levelers and seals, and service or replace any that are worn

Install Windows and/or Skylights

Although it is not always practical depending on the construction of your warehouse (or if you own or lease it), we certainly recommend investigating ways to improve the natural light and heat generated by the sun! Strategically placed windows or skylights can dramatically reduce your warehouse energy costs during the winter, not only by using the sun’s energy for heat, but also by improving the natural lighting in your warehouse. This reduces your reliance on lighting fixtures and further reduces your energy costs. Using retractable blinds allows you to block the windows during the summer months, which reduces heat generation when it is not required.

Use Air Curtains or High-Speed Doors to Segment Your Warehouse Energy Needs

Some areas of your warehouse may not often be used by employees who do most of their work in other areas of your facility. These low-use areas can be kept much cooler than the areas that employees use most. Air curtains and high-speed doors are excellent ways to keep the two areas temperature controlled while dramatically decreasing your energy consumption.

Winter can be an expensive time for warehouse operators, but taking the right steps ahead of time can significantly reduce the negative impact to your bottom line. Cardinal Integrated Systems has professionally trained staff who can help assess the condition and efficiency of your heat retention, circulation, and retention hardware.

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Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Cardinal Integrated Systems specializes in warehouse planning, material handling, systems design & engineering, installation, project management, preventative maintenance and repair.
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