Why Being Environmentally Conscious Matters in Logistics
Logistics Industry November 28, 2018
Environmentally friendly logistics trends are on the rise. More and more companies are becoming aware of their impact on the environment, and new regulations are putting greater pressure on corporations to meet both industry and national standards.
In most cases, Canadian logistics companies have focused their attention on developing greener supply chains. In other words, they’ve looked for ways to improve efficiencies that reduce product, time, and fuel waste. Some notable shifts include the use of alternative fuels and intermodal strategies:
When trains transfer goods, a significantly less amount of carbon dioxide is emitted when compared to that of a transport truck or airplane. Sending products by train also cuts down on emissions as trains can carry a higher mass of goods in one trip.
To learn more, check out our article, ‘5 Ways Railways Have Changed The Game For Logistics Intermodal Strategies In Canada’.
Eco-Initiative Success Stories
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada’s goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 130 megatonnes by 2020.
Doing our part to help set the standard for our industry, we’ve successfully executed the following eco-friendly initiatives over the past few years – and we hope you gain some new insights that you may be able to implement in your own business.
1. Switching Roofing Materials
After extensive research, our McKenna team learned that white PVC roof membrane contains UV blocking pigments that can protect a roof from the sun's destructive UV rays, which happen to be the leading cause of roof degradation. UV blocking pigments also reflect a majority of the sun’s heat away from a building, allowing the structure to remain cooler while using less air conditioning.
A fantastic option for our facility, we replaced our roof with a white PVC roof. This system not only reflected the sunlight but, because it is much lighter than the alternative tar and gravel built up roof system, it allowed us to put more insulation on the roof reducing the heat that escaped during colder temperatures. These features have unlocked lower utility bills and a longer lifespan for our current heating and air-conditioning systems.
Did You Know? Studies show you can save a total of 7-15% of total cooling costs by using a white roof coating. Lighter colors, such as white, reflect a sizable fraction of the radiation, helping to keep a building cooler. They also re-emit some of the heat they absorb. Neat, huh?
2. Installing Motion Sensor LED Lighting (Interior & Exterior)
Almost all of the lighting at the Lakeshore facility has been retrofitted to LED. Inside the warehouse, the most valued benefit is that those lights have motion sensors and daylight harvesting sensors that save on electricity because they only turn on when there is activity and when the skylights are not bringing in enough sunlight. At McKenna, sensors have drastically helped us to save money.
3. Being Strategic with Forklift Chargers
Sometimes, being conscious of the environment also means increased productivity and efficiencies. When it comes to our forklifts, we realized that we needed to think about how and when we charge the batteries.
Opportunity charging enables us to give the batteries a full charge at night and give the batteries a little boost when operators are on their breaks. By doing this we enjoy a few benefits:
We use most of the energy overnight when the grid has surplus energy.
It eliminates the need to have extra batteries to exchange when a battery in the forklift depletes its charge.
It reduces downtime for our people and the equipment.
It is much safer to our team members by not handling these massive batteries.
Simple fixes can go a long way!
4. Consider Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are an ideal, energy-efficient option for climates like the McKenna warehouse – where heating and cooling needs are moderate. Heat pumps use less energy than typical air conditioners and furnaces, and are considered eco-friendly as they're essentially moving air from one place to another instead of burning energy to warm or cool it.
According to energy.gov, “Today's heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters.”
Therefore, we knew this was the right decision for our McKenna family.
5. Identify Prime Unheated Areas
At our Toronto facility, almost 30,000 sq. feet of our building remains unheated. We were able to identify which areas of our warehouse did not require additional heating and that same area is where the loading doors are located.
To reduce the ingress of outside air, the loading doors have enclosures that surround the end of the trailers that seal them better to the building allowing us to better optimize our resources and to save money on unnecessary energy waste.
6. Reuse Packing Materials
Where possible, our team reuses packaging that would otherwise be sent for processing at a recycling facility or, worse, diverted to landfill. Considering most outer cartons are disposed of once the shipment arrives at the customer, using them for another trip significantly reduces waste and energy.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Not sure where to get started? Feel free to reach out to our team with your questions. We would also suggest that you begin with a brainstorming session that answers the following questions:
What environmental risks do your everyday activities pose?
Are the materials your company uses a threat to the environment? How?
Do you have an understanding of the quantity or type of waste you produce?
Are you aware of existing environmental standards and legislation?
How could you incentivize others in your company to get involved?
Additional Things to Consider
Not in the logistics industry? No worries! In general, here are some things to consider no matter which company you work for:
Reducing packaging and waste
Looking to sustainable or biodegradable packaging options
Limiting general facility waste (employee lunches, etc.)
Encourage proper recycling (signs for what goes in what bin)
Cutting down on unnecessary transportation and fuel
Shutting down the lights during off hours or holidays
Creating an internal environmental committee
At McKenna, we care about our future generations. Together, we can work to support and preserve our planet. Contact us today to learn more.