How do you keep facilities well-lit without wasting precious electricity and all the energy and natural resources it represents?
Thanks to scores of suggestions from staff across our member publishing houses, we identified a series of modifications to existing facilities to improve energy efficiency. Some of these changes are fairly simple; we installed motion-activated lighting in our offices and bathrooms, and swapped out inefficient vending machines for high efficiency, LED-lit alternatives.
Some of the suggestions are more significant. For example, we retrofitted the lighting system at both our distribution center and our returns facility to install more efficient lighting. We changed the lighting itself to a T5 lighting system. These lights allow for more efficient lighting, preserving adequate lumens while requiring less electricity to maintain. Next, we looked at how we could reduce the amount of time any given light was on across the course of a day.
To address this, we installed zoned motion sensors. Now when a person or a warehouse vehicle such as a forklift moves toward a particular zone, the lights for that zone turns on, and when they leave the zone, the lights turn off.
It’s such a simple change, yet it really does save quite a bit of electricity. In our distribution and returns facilities in Virginia, in just one year after implementing the new lighting system, the total combined kilowatt hours of usage declined by 31 percent. Because the two electric utilities that supply these facilities in that part of Virginia typically generate 51-70 percent of their electricity from coal, the year-over-year carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction is particularly significant: an estimated 1,276 metric tons of CO2.
That’s true sustainability in action…all from rethinking how the lights worked in a warehouse.