Higher utility bills, air quality and employee safety and productivity are all issues that have the potential to cause bottom-line profits to seep out your warehouse doors during the cold winter months. But the good news is there are several low-cost solutions that can help minimize the impact of carbon emissions and keep the warm air inside your warehouse. Here are some tips for preparing your warehouse for winter.
Fall is an excellent time to have your HVAC systems serviced to ensure peak efficiency and effectiveness throughout the winter months. An HVAC system that hasn’t been serviced can be dangerous, if it runs off natural gas, as well as inefficient. Better to check and replace filters and have your HVAC systems serviced now than to have them go out in the dead of winter. Expansions and changes to your facility’s configuration can impact your HVAC system as well and it’s a good idea to consult with a reputable HVAC supplier to ensure your HVAC system can accommodate your facility properly or if you need to upgrade.
Another concern for warehouses during winter months is proper air circulation. Everyone knows heat rises and it’s not uncommon for a 20-degree temperature variance between your warehouse floor and its 40-foot ceiling. One way to combat this temperature variance is with large industrial ceiling fans which can circulate warmth to the floor and save hundreds and even thousands of dollars every month in the winter.
And nearly all warehouses have certain areas that are used by more employees than others which is why low-use areas can be kept cooler than those areas most employees use. Many businesses are opting to use air curtains or high-speed doors as a means of keeping two areas temperature controlled while dramatically decreasing their energy consumption.
Businesses across America are also investigating ways to improve the natural light and heat generated by the sun by installing windows and skylight. By strategically placing skylights and windows in your warehouse, you can use the sun’s energy for heat as well as improve natural lighting in your warehouse, reducing your company’s reliance on lighting fixtures and energy costs. Retractable blinds are another energy saving option for summer, allowing you to close the windows and reduce generated heat.
You should also inspect dock doors and levelers for proper sealing. Look for any gaps around the top, bottom and both sides of all your doors. If you can see daylight, you’re losing energy and money. Installing weather stripping for the perimeter of your doors and a rubber astragal ensures your doors will close tightly at the bottom to prevent any drafts and heat loss throughout winter months. These same seals also keep bugs and other debris out the rest of the year.
It’s also a good idea to assess your dock leveler. If your warehouse has a pit-mounted leveler, you’ll want to make sure the rear and side seals are in good condition as worn seals can result in air infiltration.
The fall is also an ideal time to have your internal combustion engines and equipment serviced, especially since IC forklifts emit CO2. Conducting an emission test can help you determine your forklift trucks’ emission output so you can adjust them to minimize CO2 output.