Readying Your Warehouse for Winter
November 14th, 2013 - Six Things You Can Do to Save Energy and Money
The colder winter months are upon us, and with them comes the potential for bottom-line profits to seep out your warehouse doors in the form of higher utility bills. In addition, air quality becomes an issue as the doors close and forklift emissions can become a sore subject for employee safety and productivity. Fortunately, there are several low-cost solutions to help keep warm air inside your warehouse and minimize the impact of carbon emissions!
Service your HVAC system(s) to ensure efficiency and effectiveness – An HVAC system that has not been serviced can be very inefficient as well as very dangerous, particularly if it runs off of natural gas. Have your unit serviced, filters checked and/or replaced. If your facility has undergone any expansion and/or changes in configuration this might also be a good time to consult with a reputable HVAC supplier as to the types of units you operate and their location. Upgrades and/or reassignment of units can prove to be quite advantageous.
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. Fans can save up to 30 percent of your heating costs and deliver positive ROI in less than two years in many applications.
Use Air Curtains or High-Speed Doors - Some areas of your warehouse may not be used by employees often, who do most of their work in other areas of your warehouse. 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.
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 close the windows during the summer months, which reduces heat generation when it is not required
Inspect Your Dock Doors and Levelers for Proper Sealing - Gaps around your dock doors can cause significant heat loss. Inspect the top, bottom and both sides of each door. If you see daylight, you are losing energy. We can install complete weather stripping kits at a very affordable price. The kits include weather stripping for the perimeter of the door and a rubber astragal to ensure doors close tightly at the bottom. In addition to preserving heat, the seals keep bugs and other debris on the outside of your warehouse facility.
We also recommend assessing your dock leveler. If you use pit-mounted levelers, it makes sense to ensure the side and rear seals are in good condition. Worn seals on your dock leveler result in air infiltration. Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta can inspect your levelers and seals, and service or replace any that are worn.
Service Your IC Forklifts and Equipment – Internal Combustion engines emit CO2. While you can eliminate this by examining conversion of your lift trucks to electric, you want to minimize the CO2 output of your current IC equipment. Have an emission test done if possible and have the engine and fuel supply, exhaust adjusted and serviced to minimize CO2 impact.
Winter can be an expensive time for warehouse operators, but the right steps taken the right way can significantly reduce the negative impact on your bottom line. We have professionally trained staff who can help assess the condition and efficiency of your heat generation, circulation and retention hardware. Contact us at your nearest Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta branch.