3 Green Warehouse Improvements You Can Make Right Now

Whether it’s for cost-saving or environmental responsibility, warehouses are going green and saving money in the process. Here are a few simple ways warehousing companies can reduce costs while limiting their carbon footprint with green practices.

1. Upgrade to LED Lighting

Switching to LEDs can save an operation more than 60 percent on energy costs compared to fluorescents and other older lighting types. Of course, there are upfront costs that prevent some from making this common-sense switch, but the benefits are undeniable.

The biggest savings come in the form of reduced energy use and less maintenance required to keep the lights on. But there are also savings associated with easier code compliance — particularly if you use advanced lighting controls. And, finally, employees are happier when their workspaces are well-lighted.

“After changing to LED lighting in our facility, we immediately began to reap the benefits of zero maintenance of our LED fixtures versus the high maintenance cost of the metal halide fixtures we had before,” David Richins, plant superintendent at Peninsula Packaging, told Modern Materials Handling. “We saw a decrease in our energy usage to the amount of $46,000 per year.”

2. Switch to Electric Forklifts

The industry has shifted from gas-powered to electric forklifts over decades, but there are still many operations that rely on internal combustion (IC) to fuel their fleets. However, the lifetime benefits of using electric lift trucks are clear.

Yes, there is a huge environmental benefit to ditching lift trucks that use fossil fuels. Converting a lift truck from liquid propane to electric reduces carbon output by approximately 20,000 pounds (for a 2,000-hours-per-year application). That’s a staggering number, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Electric forklifts are cheaper to operate than IC forklifts. Of course, much like with LED lights, there are upfront costs associated with going electric. Companies will have to invest in park and charge gear or more comprehensive battery-handling equipment to keep their fleets running. But these investments start to pay off very quickly. For instance, fueling and maintenance costs for an electric forklift are much less than its IC counterpart. Electric lift trucks are also more stable and maneuverable, resulting in fewer accidents and greater efficiency in the warehouse.

3. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

It’s an old slogan, but embracing the three Rs helps operations become leaner. New technology, like paperless invoice software, can help warehouses drastically reduce waste while making them more efficient. UPS introduced a paperless invoice system years ago and quickly saw its earnings jump.

Reusing materials like pallets can save money and trees at the same time. If it can’t be reused, find a recycling center that will accept the product. Diverting materials from landfills saves on waste management costs and likely helps company compliance with local and state laws.

Embrace Green Practices and Enjoy the Benefits

Going green makes customers happier, helps to comply with regulations, and saves money. And with so many other operations embracing green technology, managers are in a great position to see what really works before taking the plunge. Performing an audit on your operation can identify areas where energy and, just as importantly, money can be saved. That’s too good of an opportunity to pass up.


Berman, Jeff. “Logistics business: UPS earnings up nearly 70 percent in the third quarter.MMH. Peerless Media LLC, 21 Oct. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.

Bond, Josh. “New packaging plant’s lighting pays for itself within a year.” MMH. Peerless Media LLC, 8 May 2017. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.

Guynup, Sharon. “The Zero-Waste Factory.ScientificAmerican. Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc., 13 July 2017. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.

Moon, Justin. “Shedding Light on Warehouse Savings.InboundLogistics. Thomas Publishing Company, 5 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.

Category: Environmental

Tags: green warehousing, recycling, electric forklifts, park and charge, battery handling equipment