3 Ideas to Help Facility Managers Reduce Warehouse Energy Bills

December 16, 2014 by Jaylin Krell

3-Ideas-to-Help-Facility-Managers-Reduce-Warehouse-Energy-BillsWith the need for abundant lighting and comfortable temperatures for the workforce, facility managers often struggle to keep warehouse cooling costs from soaring through the roof. To learn more about cooling solutions available for warehouse managers, we interview warehouse cooling expert Jim Stahl.

Stahl advises that even the most well designed warehouses can become wrought with energy inefficiencies that can add up to bank-breaking energy costs:

  • Legacy HVAC systems are implausible due to the size of the structure.
  • Antiquated lighting systems are in use.
  • Energy-exhausting ventilation systems are necessary.

The good news for facility managers is that investments can be made to reduce energy bills and do it relatively quickly.

Warehouse cooling expert, Jim Stahl, suggests three techniques for facility managers to reduce energy bills:

1. Invest in New Lighting

The benefits of upgrading the lighting system transcend the bottom line. Sure, replacing antiquated lighting systems with new energy efficient lighting saves money, but it can also improve the general work conditions in the warehouse.

Lighting systems have traditionally been a big-ticket item when it comes to energy consumption, according to Stahl. He suggests installing new High-Intensity Discharge lighting systems, which the U.S. Small Business Administration says are much more efficient today than they were just 10 years ago.

The bulbs themselves are much more efficient. Today’s 360-watt metal halide bulb can replace an older 400-watt metal halide bulb. In addition, Stahl and the Small Business Administration suggest installing lighting controls, including occupancy and daylight sensors, which turn lights on when they are needed and off when they are not needed.

2. Invest in High Volume, Low Speed (HVLS) Fans

Installing an HVLS fan can help keep temperatures consistent throughout the warehouse. Stahl notes that:

“HVLS fans harness the heat generated by your facility’s lighting system (which typically remains near the ceiling of the facility) and circulate it to the lower levels of the space, where it is usable.”

Warehouse lighting systems generate between 15 and 20 degrees of heat. The problem is that much of that heat stays near the ceiling. An HVLS fan, however, will circulate the hot air to warehouse floor, making it usable.  According to Stahl:

“Leveraging an HVLS fan has been shown to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent or more.”

3. Augment Infiltration/Exfiltration System

Between welding, driving forklifts, and using adhesives and other toxic materials, the air in a warehouse can be dangerous if the space is not properly ventilated with an infiltration/exfiltration system. These systems, while effective at cleaning the air, are notoriously inefficient.

However, when combined with an HVLS fan, infiltration/exfiltration systems suddenly become much more effective and efficient. Stahl notes that:

“HVLS fans use very little energy, but add considerable augmentation to HVAC systems, reducing energy usage by 14 to 36 percent in facilities in which they have been installed.”

The HVLS fans circulate fumes—which typically don’t rise—allowing the infiltration/exfiltration system to more effectively replace bad air with good air. Stahl states that:

“Implementing HVLS fans in conjunction with an infiltration/exfiltration system creates a natural ventilation effect that is similar to opening warehouse doors.”

New safety concerns and government regulations require many warehouses to be locked, and opening doors is no longer an option for facility managers trying to improve indoor air quality and save money on energy costs.  HVLS fans are the ideal solution for closed facilities.

Summary

Investing in advanced lighting systems and HVLS fans is about improving the bottom line. Regardless of how large or complex your space is, the return on investment of HVLS fans is guaranteed to be significant and realized sooner rather than later.

Subject matter expert, Jim Stahl, is well versed in HVAC and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Technology Management with an emphasis in Applied Science, specifically in HVAC/R Technologies. Jim is the Applications Manager for MacroAir fans, before which he was a Regional Sales Manager.  Prior to his role with MacroAir Fans Jim was the Regional Manager of Technical Services for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. While at Wal-Mart, Stahl was responsible for the HVAC, refrigeration and energy management activities for Northeastern stores.

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