Case study

6 ways to save money as a nature-friendly start-up warehouse

Nov 19, 2021 | Pallet Racking

As existing warehouses begin to get serious about environmental issues and look at ways to ‘green up’, the new start-up is in the perfect position to start its journey on the nature-friendly route.

Starting out with eco-friendly principles is a huge stride towards long-term sustainability and as a business demonstrating a real commitment to an environmentally safe future, the consumer respect and loyalty gained will only strengthen your ability to reach your ambitious business goals.

How to incorporate ‘green’ into your start-up warehouse plans

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) earlier this month saw the emergence of new developing technologies that will help drive us towards our net zero targets, with some already in deployment. Whilst these green technologies emerge and evolve, you can begin building the foundations of a future-minded business that you, your employees and your customers can be proud of.

The central element when designing your start-up warehouse is efficiency, because efficiency will naturally conserve time, energy and money.

Within and beyond the four walls of your warehouse unit, efficient solutions can be implemented without delay and to get you started, here are a few very compelling recommendations:

  • Work with height, not width

In your search for warehouse space, seek out generous height space rather than a wider base surface. The larger the square footage of an internal space, the more energy it requires to stay operational. Take lighting for example; a wider space will require more bulbs and this will cost both the business and the environment.  Another advantage of a smaller square footage is the lower purchase or rental costs so already you can see the benefits of thinking ecologically when choosing your new warehouse space.

Height space is extremely productive when fully optimised and can be just as practical as floor space. The key is to implement supportive storage structures that maximise vertical space in the form of pallet racking for example which can be built as tall as your ceiling and accessed by tall reaching fork lift trucks. Or you could consider a multi tier shelving system with incorporated floor levels and staircases to enable access.

Diagram illustrating height space utilisation

Oh and here’s another way to utilise your vertical space…………..

Without expanding the original footprint, usable floor space can be increased significantly by the implementation of a mezzanine floor. A mezzanine floor can be single or multi tiered depending on your needs and height space clearance and can be used for any purpose including storage, offices or staff facilities.  This is an internal structure of semi-permanence which has no requirement for planning permission this is an extremely cost effective solution.

Storage mezzanine L shaped

  • Opt for low emission fork lift truck

Just like the car, the fork lift truck (FLT) is continually evolving and today there is a greater choice including eco-friendly models. If you are managing inventory using a pallet racking system, then it goes without saying that you’ll need a FLT for safe handling. A FLT requires power to operate, however the most eco-friendly option is the electric powered truck which is far more ecological than the gas, petrol or diesel powered models.  The very versatile, easy to drive and economical electric powered FLT could be crucial to your journey as a new business looking for long term sustainability.

A row of various fork lift trucks

  • Light it up for less

Your new warehouse can’t operate safely without adequate lighting and even with a limited square footage, the energy used to light up your space can be significant, but there is a way to keep emissions down together with costs. The revolutionary LED lighting system is the most renowned lighting technology there is. These practical, energy saving, cost-effective bulbs are lighting up homes, schools, shops and warehouses around the world, with each bulb providing around 50,000 hours of light whilst using less energy and lowering the cost. For the new business in particular, LED lighting is green technology that can certainly help reduce start-up and running costs alike.

  • Adopt a FIFO method to help curb polluting waste

FIFO is the term used for the First-in Fist-out method which is designed to help process perishable goods in a date order. The systemised method can be achieved when using certain pallet racking and shelving systems which make it easy to rotate without much thought, minimising the risk of products going to waste. FIFO operating systems include pallet live racking, drive through racking and for hand loaded goods, carton live shelving.

Diagram First in first out

  • Compact store to manage cold or chilled zone

If you’re new warehouse is part of a cold chain, straight away, your energy consumption will be much higher than that of an ambient warehouse, however there is a way to help drive this down and that’s through a compact storage configuration. Consider a standard pallet racking system for example; you have a row of racks then an aisle, than another row of racks. A compact pallet racking system however, such as mobile racking consists of row after row of racks without the aisle in-between.  This formation allows you to store more within a specific space reducing emissions significantly.

Diagram Comparison - Compact Vs Standard

  • Consider solar panels

If you’re in the market for a new warehouse, it’s worth noting that developers have already begun to create warehouse buildings with incorporated solar panels; however demand for such warehouses make them hard to source for the right price in the right location. There is however the option to add solar panels to an existing building. The roof of a warehouse provides the perfect canvas for the occupation of solar panel systems. The large roof area offers a great deal of space all of which can be used to generate renewable energy at no cost meaning you get free electricity! And a combination of global market trends and new technology means the cost of solar panels is on the decline.

Even with a modest impact, as a green start-up your making contributions towards the restoration of nature’s balance that will in turn help create a future that your business and others can thrive in.

To help ensure your warehouse gets off to a ‘green` start contact the WSL team on 0113 2045350 or email and we’ll help you find the most cost-effective, eco-friendly start-up solutions for your new enterprise.

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