Implementing sustainable business practices is easier than you may think. Here's how you can earn more green by going green:
Why Sustainable Warehousing and Green Logistics Are Good for Businesses in CaliforniaEliminating inefficiencies is the guiding principle behind green logistics and sustainable business practices. Running a more efficient operation is also an obvious way to increase profit margins. Our first five ideas are "two-fers" that allow you to reduce costs and your carbon footprint at the same time.
#1 Optimize Inventory Locations to Minimize Travel
In the old days, product just went wherever it went. Today, it’s all about making the most of your space and moving product as fast as you can.
I recently worked with a customer on a new layout - moving high-volume products closer to the loading dock and slower items farther away. This simple change made a big impact by reducing both labor and fuel costs.
#2 Use Energy-Efficient Lightning
If you run a warehouse, distribution center, or other large indoor facility, two-thirds of your energy costs are probably related to lighting. Switching to energy-efficient LED lighting and/or adding daylighting tubes can significantly reduce your electric bill. If your local energy provider is (PG&E), you may also be eligible for a tax credit.
- Are 35 percent more energy efficient - reduce your monthly bill
- Last 5-7 times longer - pay to replace bulbs less often
- Provide better lighting - create a safer workplace for your staff
The thought of replacing all your lighting may seem like a big hassle, but once you see the savings, you’ll be glad you did it. Outdated lighting systems waste energy (and your money) all day every day. For example:
- If you’re using metal halide or other legacy lighting, you’re paying a lot of money for electricity that gets wasted as heat.
- You may be paying to light break rooms, bathrooms and other areas when they’re not occupied. Movement sensors are easy to install and provide excellent cost savings for a minimal investment.
#3 Improve Insulation, Add a Fan, or Paint the Roof White
Green warehousing practices can help you heat and cool your facility more efficiently. Improving insulation makes the biggest impact, but even smaller changes such as installing high volume low speed (HVLS) fans or painting the roof white will make a noticeable difference in your monthly bills.
#4 Change Your Landscaping
Water is an increasingly precious (and expensive) resource in California. Replacing exterior grass with drought-resistant native plants and using low-flow plumbing can reduce your water bill by 10-15 percent. If you own your building, these updates can also increase its value if you decide to sell the property.
#5 Install High-Speed Doors
High-speed doors keep heat out and cold air in and are a turnkey way to lower your electric bill. You'll also reduce the time your forklift operators spend idle.
Electric Forklifts and Campus Utility Vehicles
#6 Choose Electric Utility Vehicles
We recently helped a large university in Northern California save more than $100,000 in fleet costs (and reduce their CO2 emissions) by switching to the all-electric, street-legal Polaris GEM. Their campus fleet had standard cars, trucks and vans built to travel 90 mph and go 400 miles on a single tank, but their campus had a maximum speed limit of 25 mph and average travel distance of 12 miles a day. They were wasting thousands maintaining these vehicles unnecessarily.
#7 Use Electric Forklifts
Toyota electric forklifts have the lowest cost of ownership of any forklift. These long-lasting, reliable lift trucks require little maintenance and have fewer parts that can break compared to internal combustion forklifts.
Your employees will also enjoy a cleaner, more peaceful work environment because electric forklifts have zero-emissions and are much quieter than their internal combustion counterparts.
Think you’re locked into an IC forklift because you have an outdoor application? Check out Toyota’s 80V rugged electric pneumatic forklift.
|Right now, we're offering a free consultation to see if electric forklifts are a good fit at your facility. Click here to learn more.|
#8 Switch to Plastic Pallets
Polyethylene pallets are another green, money-saving investment for warehouses, distribution and logistics centers. Customers in Northern and Central California who have switched to polyethylene pallets love their durability and don't miss all that wooden pallet debris.
The plastic pallets we sell have static load ratings of 20,000 lbs, and dynamic load ratings of 5,000 lbs. They also weigh less than wood pallets, so you may be able to pack more product into trailers and save money on fuel costs. Polyethylene pallets have a longer life span than wood pallets and are recyclable. Have more questions about pallet racking? Click here.
Green Energy Grants and Financial IncentivesGrants and other financial incentives are available for companies who make eco-friendly choices. For example, Polaris has a long list of grants available to businesses, schools, law enforcement and other organizations.
Google has a helpful tool that will estimate how much money you’ll save by installing solar panels. Below is an example showing our Livermore location (this tool only shows energy bill savings, it doesn’t account for any grants, tax credits, or subsidies).
Sustainable Choices Future-Proof Your Business
Eco-friendly choices also keep you one step ahead of new government regulations. For example, several years ago, the CEC issued a new requirement that all forklift battery chargers sold or used in California have a power conversion efficiency of 90 percent or higher. Businesses already using energy-efficient chargers didn't have to find the money to cover replacement costs.
Ready to lower your cost of doing business and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time? Let us know how we can help. Contact Toyota Material Handling Northern California (TMHNC) online or by phone.
SF Bay Area - Livermore (510) 379-5210
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091