Dennis Sadlowski, president and CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., the U.S. industrial arm of Germany-based Siemens AG, recommends the following tips for distribution center operators to reduce their carbon footprint and start saving:
1. Do your homework. First and foremost, you will not know how much you can save, until you know where the money is being spent. An energy audit will help you better understand your energy usage and determine where your facility can go green and save money.
2. Rethink your lighting. By simply replacing your lighting with energy efficient products and controls, you can reduce energy consumption up to 50 percent as well as eliminate the risk of mercury contaminants in a very short period of time.
3. Evaluate your motors and drives. Electric motors are responsible for almost 70 percent of all energy consumed in industrial applications. This 70 percent holds a considerable saving potential that is just waiting to be realized.
So why not start now by replace existing motors with energy efficient motors? Or save even more by adding variable frequency drive systems to the motors. In some cases, drives can contribute a 30 percent energy savings with a seven month return on investment.
4. Control heating and cooling costs. As much as 30 percent of the energy used in your facility comes from heating and cooling costs. Making smart decisions about your facility’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a significant impact on your utility bills.
5. Monitor the situation. By knowing and understanding their plants’ electrical footprint and monitoring energy use, companies can track their progress toward efficiency goals as well as establish benchmarks for achievement.
» WAL-MART CANADA TO BUILD GROCERY HUB
Wal-Mart Canada will invest $115 million to build a state-of-art distribution center in Balzac, Alberta. Among the largest refrigerated buildings in Canada, the DC will be 400,000-square-feet in size and serve as a distribution hub for fresh food destined for Wal-Mart stores in Western Canada.
This will support the expansion of Wal-Mart’s modern supercenter format, which adds a complete range of groceries to its traditional general merchandise selection, as well as its commitment to being a leader on environmental sustainability.
“Even in tough times, we continue to invest in our communities and in our business,” says Andy Ellis, senior vice president, supply and logistics, Wal-Mart Canada. “This distribution center provides us a state-of-the-art facility, custom made to deliver the freshest products available for our Wal-Mart customers all across the West.”
Wal-Mart Canada has invested $220 million in the past year to modernize and expand its distribution network. The network supplies 312 stores nationwide from eight distribution facilities: four sites in Calgary, Alberta, including Balzac; one site in Cornwall, Ontario; and three sites in Mississauga, including a newly opened 450,000-square-foot, refrigerated center that will be the model for the Balzac location. Wal-Mart Canada’s nationwide distribution activities employ more than 3,200 Canadians.
The DC will open in late 2010 and will be operated by Canadian logistics firm Centric Retail Logistics.
The facility will be built and operated with rigid environmental standards, including:
- Environmentally preferable construction materials and building equipment: concrete floors instead of chemical intensive tiling in all office areas; concrete supplemented with fly ash instead of cement; substantial roof and wall insulation; environmentally preferable paint finishes.
- Temperature control: A white roof to reflect sunlight and reduce cooling needs; high-efficiency motors, variable speed fans, cooling equipment, air doors between different temperature zones to minimize heat transfer; demand-response systems to reduce peak-load energy draw; and renewable energy sources to minimize electrical consumption.
- Responsible refrigeration: High-density storage to minimize heat loss; natural refrigerants to avoid ozone depletion and global warming; biodegradable refrigerants.
- Operations that reduce waste and energy use: Motion-detecting LED lighting; electric forklifts; recycling of all varieties of shipping materials; salvaging food waste; automated shrink wrapping machines to minimize waste; chemical free water treatment of process water to allow grey waste water to be used for site irrigation.