Buildings can be made sustainable by reducing their carbon footprint. For example, warehouses can reduce their carbon footprint by putting into action three (3) things:
1. Increase energy efficiency
Decreasing energy consumption to reduce utility costs while maintaining the same or greater productivity. This includes replacing lightbulbs and HVAC system(s) to a more energy efficient unit, installing solar panels on the roof, and movement-detector switches for lighting.
Helps to increase efficiency by doing less work to get more done. For example, utilizing order-picking technology and bar coding allows for operations within warehouses to increase speed and accuracy of each order, lessen paper consumption, and enhance traceability of products.
3. Utilizing sustainable warehouse design
Warehouse design is important for energy efficiency and is most applicable for new buildings. However, improvements to existing buildings can be made to decrease their carbon footprint. This can include utilizing space management techniques to increase productivity by reducing steps when moving goods or installing a green or cool roof to improve cooling or the insulation values for the building.
A good way to demonstrate sustainability in warehouses is by attaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. LEED Certification is an internationally recognized green building certification system to measure and define green buildings. Warehouses can attain LEED certification by implementing LEED O+M (Operations and Maintenance) Certification, which provides sustainability solutions for existing buildings.
LEED certification is attained based on performance. The better the performance, the higher the LEED points, better the accreditation. Accreditation ranges from Certified (40 – 49 points), Silver (50 – 59 points), Gold (60 – 79 points), to Platinum (80+ points).
|LEED Certifications and Points|
|Certified||40 – 49|
|Silver||50 – 59|
|Gold||60 – 79|
Earning points is based on eight (8) categories, that includes subcategories for each. (P) represents a prerequisite subcategory, and is a must-have for projects to become LEED certified.
|LEED Certifications and Points||Points|
Location and Transportation
Transportation Performance (P)
Heat Island Reduction
Light Pollution Reduction
Water Performance (P)
Energy and Atmosphere
Energy Efficiency Best Management Practices (P) Fundamenta
Refrigerant Management (P)
Energy Performance (P)
Materials and Resources
Purchasing Policy (P)
Facility Maintenance and Renovations Policy (P)
Waste Performance (P)
Indoor Environment Quality
Minimum Indoor Air Quality (P)
Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control (P)
Green Cleaning Policy (P)
Indoor Environmental Quality Performance (P)
Integrated Pest Management
It is important to know which area(s) of a warehouse can be improved. This will also require identifying which aspect to target; whether it is the efficiency, automation, or better design of the operations and maintenance systems being implemented. However, by starting small, like changing outdated to efficient lightbulbs, will immediately impact the environment in a positive way. Striving for a net zero carbon footprint may seem a monumental challenge, however, it is an admirable goal not many have achieved, but it is worth pursuing.
Advanced Solutions International, I. (n.d.). LEED: The International Mark of Excellence. Why LEED? Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.cagbc.org/CAGBC/LEED/Why_LEED/CAGBC/Programs/LEED/_LEED.aspx?hkey=5d7f0f3e-0dc3-4ede-b768-021835c8ff92
Napolitano, M. (n.d.). 7 trends in Sustainable Warehouse Design – supply chain 24/7. Supply Chain 24 7. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.supplychain247.com/article/7_trends_in_sustainable_warehouse_design/green
O’Reilly, L. O. R. L. (2021, May 13). Warehouse Management & Sustainability – Why It Matters. Ecotile. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.ecotileflooring.com/news /importance-sustainability-effective-warehousemanagement/#:~:text=The%203%20Pillars%20of%20Warehouse%20Management%20Sustainability%201,labour-intensive%20tasks.%20…%203%20Sustainable%20Warehouse%20Design.%20
Sebastian Gomez, C. E. P. (n.d.). 6 ways to make your warehouse go green. Pallet Racking Inspection, Protection & Repair Solutions. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.damotech.com/blog/6-ways-to-make-your-warehouse-go-green
U.S. Green Building Council. (2021, April). LEED v4.1 Operations And Maintenance.