In the second article on our series of guides to warehouse energy efficiency, we ramp up the focus on lighting. Here at Greenlite Group, we believe that when correctly specified, the latest lighting technology can deliver dramatic improvements to working conditions and employee output. Keep reading to find out how.
These are exciting times for the UK warehouse sector, with the United Kingdom Warehousing Association identifying online retailing and a manufacturing renaissance among the factors to be increasing demands upon the sector. This obviously spells a boom time for warehouse operators, but it’s those who invest time and resources into energy efficient technologies and practices that stand to benefit the most.
With lighting sometimes accounting for as much as 80% of a warehouse’s total energy bill, the economic imperative to implement more efficient lighting systems is firmly established. But it can also yield benefits for employee health and productivity that may manifest themselves over the longer-term – and with this in mind What We’re Thinking has the following top tips to impart…
1) Undertake meticulous research into lighting systems. The use of warehouses can vary dramatically depending on applications and work-cycles, which means there can also be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to lighting. That’s why meticulous research into the latest technology is an absolute must, and this may take some time as the variety of industrial lighting systems has increased dramatically in recent years.
In particular, it is very important to avoid lighting systems with no effective glare control. Exposing employees to glare – for example, a forklift driver who is loading and unloading goods from high racking – could lead to a momentary loss of vision, and by consequence severe injury or even death.
Until relatively recently the glare issue meant that it could be difficult to specify suitable LED solutions. But the last few years have seen a wealth of new LED products with effective glare control reach the market, and so it is now possible to identify and install LED or combined LED/fluorescent solutions for most warehouse environments.
2) Prioritise a solution that accommodates the challenging design of warehouses. Large industrial spaces like warehouses can be tricky to light – very tricky, in fact! Arriving at a solution that delivers consistent illumination to vast open spaces, high ceilings, narrow aisles and high racking can necessitate a protracted period of consultation and design.
Along with the glare issue, that’s why it makes sense to enlist a lighting supplier with a specialism in industrial applications at the earliest stages so they can help you negotiate the many potential hurdles involved in specifying an appropriate solution.
3) Consult your employees about their experience of lighting. How do they feel about the current lighting infrastructure, and in what ways do they think it could be improved? It is worth canvassing some opinion ‘at the coalface’ before making that all-important investment.
4) If done correctly, the benefits can be tremendous… Installing lighting systems that deliver a more consistent output can make it easier (and safer) to negotiate areas such as loading docks. And the cooler work environments generated by the latest LED lighting can help employees to feel healthier and happier – and therefore be more productive.
In short, implementing next-generation lighting is arguably the fastest route to enhancing a warehouse’s overall efficiency.
To talk through ideas, strategies and technologies to make your warehouse more energy efficient, give us call or drop us a line – we’d be happy to help.