James Bennett, Commercial Director, Systems and Services, Signify UK & Ireland: Manufacturing organisations can play a big part in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. For many businesses, this usually means using electric vehicles and using cleaner fuels. But why stop there? Several aspects of manufacturing units and warehouses offer more significant opportunities to go green. In fact, according to the UK Green Business Council (UKGBC), the building sector has the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 25% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in the UK come from buildings and infrastructure.

Warehouses, too, have a significant role in making the global economy sustainable, and smart efficient solutions such LED lighting and connected controls can help. The UK Warehousing Association estimates that warehousing in the UK accounts for 566 million sq ft of property – a rise of 32% over 2015. It is a significant part of the UK’s building stock and therefore has a considerable carbon footprint. Whether new construction or retrofitting, warehouses can be designed with sustainable practices, and the good news is that it’s not an all-or-nothing approach.

Switch to LEDs

A simple first step for warehouses is to swap out the inefficient lighting for efficient LED lighting as it can be upto 80% more efficient than traditional lighting. As LED lighting can last up to 25 times longer than conventional sources, you also get the benefit of reduced maintenance costs, which due to the ceiling heights in warehouses can be a very costly exercise. Our data suggests, switching to LED lighting in the sector could reduce 131.5 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions, saving the sector up to €440m.

But the possibilities get even brighter, so to speak. When organisations make the switch to LED lighting, a layer of lighting controls can also be added to enable further savings. The lighting levels can be automatically adjusted depending on the tasks and occupancy within a given space. These additional energy savings can come from daylight-sensing, scene/task setting and presence/occupancy detection, all of which will help to further reduce the energy consumption of the warehouse.

The Smart Warehouses

Connected lighting can play a significant role in enabling a warehouse to become even more energy efficient, operationally efficient & sustainable. One such system is our Interact “connected lighting” system. Intelligent drivers and sensors are embedded into the light fixtures to create either a wired or wireless infrastructure allowing a full remote control and management of the lighting. A remote cloud-based system can also be used to allow for multiple sites to be connected into one common platform/dashboard. It then becomes easy to take complete control of the lighting across multisite and countries, from anywhere, at any time. Intelligent Occupancy sensors continuously gather data about presence and footfall within the space. Heat maps can then be simply created to show which areas are being more frequently used to improve lighting management and operating expenses by optimising stock locations and pick times.

Environmental sensing is another possibility. Temperature can be continually monitored and optimised, ensuring the right amount of heating or cooling is applied to the space. Similarly, CO2 levels can be monitored to keep an eye on ventilation and air flows.

Armed with this additional functionally, intelligence, data and insights, warehouse managers can now make informed changes to their warehouses and achieve ever better levels of operational efficiency & sustainability

The Green Halo effect

The benefits of warehouse sustainability go beyond environmental responsibility. A sustainable warehouse —appropriately lit, appropriately heated, and carbon-neutral — can be a differentiator in the labour market, attracting the best people, especially among the younger working cohorts.

In conclusion

A connected lighting system can be a key enabler for building a better, cleaner, more sustainable future. As other crucial elements in the global economy, warehouses must find ways to put those systems to work.

 

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