Reducing energy costs for warehouse and industrial properties in Sussex

Energy use in warehouse and industrial buildings is focused on a few key areas. Making selective improvements to these systems can drive down energy costs and greatly reduce the environmental impact of operations.

Today’s manufacturing and warehouse facilities are designed to maximise efficiency by reducing energy demand through energy saving technologies, on-site generation, and data driven insight. To promote business competitiveness and profitabiltiy it is essential to have a modern energy strategy that delivers cost savings whilst lowering the environmental impact of operations.

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Increasing business profitability by improving energy efficiency of warehouse and workshop facilities

Warehouse and workshop energy costs account for 15% of monthly operational costs for Sussex businesses based in manufacturing and logistics1. Buildings typically have a large surface area consisting of various loading bays and entrances which are in frequent use, making heating and ventilation a significant challenge.

Maintaining sufficient levels of lighting throughout the premises can also present difficulties and lead to high electricity bills.

A survey by the Carbon Trust found that 30% of energy use in warehouse and logistics centres was used inefficiently or unnecessarily2. This represents a 30% overspend on avoidable energy costs which impacts business profits and balance sheets.

Photo by Tomas Williams on Unsplash

The good news is that all of these factors can be addressed by implementing a comprehensive energy strategy, considering the unique characteristics of the building, making use of natural light as much as possible, and taking action to address areas of high heat loss or energy waste.

This presents a valuable opportunity for any facilities manager or opertations director looking to increase profitability. Implementing a strategy to improve energy efficiency and generate on-site renewable energy can deliver swift and sizeable savings to a business whilst demonstrating leadership best practice within the Sussex business community.

Other considerations for your business are:

  • An energy efficient building is more comfortable for your employees and visitors, driving up productivity and enhancing your reputation.
  • Money saved on energy can be used in areas that improve employee loyalty such as training and benefits or to boost revenue through marketing campaigns and product development.
  • If you own your premises and are able to generate your own renewable energy (from solar panels for example) you’ll make significant savings compared to buying from a supplier and will increase the value of your property. You may also open up new revenue streams by selling excess electricity to energy suppliers, via peer to peer trading or through electric vehicle charging.
  • By paying attention to energy efficiency, you are reducing the climate impact of your business, demonstrating social and environmental leadership. Positive action on reducing carbon emissions is increasingly appealing to investors, customers and employees and, as such, can attract funds, revenue and staff to your business.

Understanding energy consumption and identifying areas for improvement with a BHESCo energy survey

To identify opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of a large business premises like a warehouse or industrial manufactuing centre it is vital to gain a thorough understanding of energy demand and consumption patterns.

For this reason, a bespoke BHESCo energy survey should be the first phase of any planned building improvements, underpinning every other stage of your future energy strategy.

Our bespoke energy survey will provide a thorough and detailed examination of every aspect involved with heating and powering your facility.

Our Energy Saving Team will conduct an on-site survey to capture all relevant data, using FLIR thermal imaging software where neccessary. We will analyse your energy bill data to gain an understanding of your energy usage and to identify if waste is occuring and where performance can be improved.

"BHESCo carried out an audit of our energy consumption & requirements and the options were then presented to us covering a 10-20 year timeframe. This showed how much energy each scheme would use at what cost. Once a financial case was made plus the benefit to the environment it was an obvious step to make. Kayla and her team do a fantastic job in helping to transition to a low carbon community. BHESCo were recommended to us, and we now do the same to any one who asks."
Dougal Fleming
Alistair Fleming Design Ltd

Our Energy Saving Team will produce a detailed report recommending the most cost-effective solutions to remedy areas of significant heat loss and energy waste.

Our report will also measure and compare the anticipated reduction in demand that we can expect from installing different types of energy saving and/ or energy generating technologies.

In this way we can make conclusions about which combination of technologies will best meet the heat and power requirements of your warehouse or business facility, as well as being able to provide upfront cost and future savings projections to help you make the best decision.

What typical upgrades can be made to improve the energy performance of warehouse and manufacturing facilities?

The best solution to reducing energy demand and associated costs will differ from property to property, but with warehouse facilities and manufacturing centres we can identify the following common areas where simple upgrades can deliver significant impact:

Designing an energy efficient lighting system

Large commercial facilities must be very well illuminated, often for seven days a week and for long periods each day.

Lighting therefore is one of the largest contributors to energy costs, which makes it a priority issue when it comes to evaluating energy efficiency.

Replacing an existing lighting system with modern LED equivalents will deliver an instant reduction in electricity costs. LEDs provide 90% greater efficiency compared to flourescent tube lighting, and have a considerably longer lifespan, saving time and hassle on maintenance in the long-term.

LED lighting also offers a faster start-up and less glare, and can be easily connected to dimming controls and motion sensor timers.

Motion sensors and energy management technology

In many instances there is no need for lights to be left on continually. Adding motion sensors to turn lights on automatically whenever an employee is in the vicinity will cut down on waste and can achieve savings of up to 30%.

It is also advisable to install remote heating and lighting controls, enabling specific heat and light levels to be set for different zones of the building and in relation to time and seasonal variations.

Integrating remote monitoring and controls will enable facilities managers to continually gather and analyse data about a building’s energy use, adjusting heat and lighting settings in reaction to the information available, and creating a business case for the adoption of new measures where necessary.

Improving heat delivery and thermal efficiency

Next to lighting, the largest cost for any warehouse or manufacturing facility is ensuring a comfortable working temperature for staff. For this reason heating efficiency should be a top business priority for any operations director looking to reduce facility management costs.

The volume of heat required to maintain a comfortable temperature can be greatly reduced by installing adequate levels of roof and wall insulation to areas that are experienced high levels of heat loss. Insulation measures offer a relatively low-cost solution that will quickly repay upfront costs with savings achieved on fuel bills.

In addition to improving the heat retaining ability of a property, upgrading the heat delivery system may also present a valuable opportunity to reduce costs and carbon emissions.

Heat pumps in particular offer property owners a highly efficient low-carbon alternative to traditional heat provision. Furthermore, because they are powered by electricity, heat pumps can be easily connected to an on-site solar PV array, delivering greater efficiencies and cost-reductions.

On site renewable energy generation

Warehouses and other large industrial properties make excellent candidates for solar PV because of the large surface area of the roof. This provides ample space to install a solar PV array with enough generation capacity to meet a significant proportion of the facility’s electricity demand.

As an additional bonus, large commercial and industrial properties are often much taller than neighbouring buildings, meaning solar panels will not be obscured by shading which can impede performance.

Being able to generate your own solar electricity can deliver tremendous cost-reductions when compared to the price of purchasing electricity from a commercial supplier.

The addition of battery storage techologies provides a greater reliance of supply as well as offering potential new revenue streams, as any excess electricity generated by solar panels can be stored for use at a later time, or sold to the energy grid or to neighbours.

Battery storage technology will also enable users to take advantage of new ‘flexible’ energy tariffs, where electricity prices fluctuate throughout the day in response to changing levels of generation and demand throughout the country.

The importance of buy-in from staff and colleagues

In order to gain maximum benefit from any physical energy efficiency improvements that are made to business premises, it is vital that facilities managers have the support and co-operation of their staff and colleagues.

Educating staff on effective energy management and efficient behaviours will help to embed sustainability practice into your organisation. When staff have a good understanding of the financial and environmental impacts of the site they will be better placed and more emotionally invested in supporting efforts to reduce energy consumption.

As well as achieving valuable cost-savings, encouraging staff to reduce energy consumption demonstrates responsibility and leadership within the wider community.

Switch Your Energy Tariff

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce the cost of your monthly energy bills is by switching to a cheaper supplier or tariff.

BHESCo work with our trusted commercial energy broker to secure the best deals available on the market.

Check the details of your current tariff and give us a call.

Case Studies

Year: 2018

Technology Installed:

29kW roof-mounted solar PV, 7 air-conditioning units , 79 LED lamps

Lifetime Financial Saving: £322,931

Lifetime CO2 Saving: 299 tonnes

View Case Study

FareShare Distribution Centre, Brighton

Year: 2017

Technology Installed:

95 lamp LED lighting system

Lifetime Financial Saving: £19,676

Lifetime CO2 Saving: 59 tonnes

Funding Your Energy Saving Measures

At BHESCo we understand that the upfront cost of installing energy saving measures for your business or organisation can be expensive.

That’s why we make our innovative ‘Pay As You Save’ financing available to all of our customers.

We cover the upfront project cost on your behalf which is then paid back over time using a portion of the savings achieved on your monthly energy bills. Once our loan is repaid you become the owner of your energy saving measures and will enjoy 100% of the savings for the lifetime of the equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

We make our Energy Saving Service available to everyone in the community whether they are a member of BHESCo or not.

Many BHESCo customers go on to become members but this is not a prerequisite.

Recent regulations in the property rental market have greatly increased the importance of having an up-to-date and accurate Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

From April 2023, all commercially rented properties must meet government issued Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) or they will be ineligible for new lettings.

An energy survey usually takes no more than 1-2 hours depending on the size of your property.
We aim to have your completed Energy Saving Report to you within five working days following the survey.

Your Energy Saving Report includes details of all the ways you are wasting heat and energy in your home in addition to our suggestions of how to address any issues with the most cost-effective solutions available.
Our suggested energy efficiency/ energy generation measures include details of typical upfront costs and anticipated payback time, as well as the expected financial and carbon reducing benefits.

Our report will include an analysis of your current gas and electric bills plus a recommendation of cheaper energy tariffs if applicable. Usually the savings made from switching tariff alone will cover the cost of the energy survey.

It is preferable that our energy surveyors are able to view each room of the property including the loft so some clearance may be required if neccessary.

It is also beneficial to have access to any meters, boilers, or hot water controls.

A copy of your most recent gas and electric bill is essential for helping us to understand yoru energy use and current costs.

If you are interested in taking action to reduce the energy costs and environmental impact of your warehouse or light industrial premises in Sussex or Kent then request and Energy Survey using the booking form link below and our Energy Saving Team will contact you within the next few working days.

References

1 – https://www.foodlogistics.com/technology/article/12213606/keep-the-lid-on-warehouse-energy-costs

2 – https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/warehousing-and-logistics-guide