Logistics consumes too much energy, so a lot will change in the coming years. Even individual savings will count, which in fact translate into big money. Already today, warehouse owners are increasingly applying for a BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) certificate, which is the method used in Europe to assess buildings for their environmental performance.

During the BREEAM verification, the quality of environmental protection solutions, comfort of use and energy efficiency of the building are assessed, among others. Environmental certification systems for industrial facilities: BREEAM and LEED are widely used in many countries.

Large market players, such as Panattoni, SEGRO or 7R, are increasingly deciding to build facilities in the BREEAM system. The choice of location itself is important, but also: the shape of the building, its placement on a specific plot of land, the insulation of walls and roof, adapting the availability of daylight to the ongoing storage processes, the use of modern lighting systems (and the ability to manage lighting), the use of recuperation systems. In addition, the use of renewable energy sources is maximised, e.g. by using solar energy in passive and active heating systems or electrical installations with photovoltaic cells. As a matter of fact, the list is much longer.

Among the well-known examples of measures to reduce emissions in the supply chain are the waste heating project, carried out by the inland port network and the seaport of Rotterdam. Rotterdam relies on electric barges with batteries replaced in the port.

“We are trying to use renewable energy sources to recharge them,” said Kevin Bär, Sales Manager at Eon Business Solutions. He also pointed out to logistics professionals that CO2 prices will in the future force solutions based, for example, on natural gas, in everything that is connected, among others, with storing goods at a controlled temperature. This means, for example, the possibility of emission-free heating and cooling in logistics facilities (through waste heat, but also through solar energy, biomass and heat pumps). The Ecoport concept has already convinced, for example, Nordfrost’s logistics specialists.  

Slightly different solutions were implemented by logistics specialists from the British port of Southampton. Solent Stevedores (company handling bulk cargo in ports: St. Helier, Immingham, Silvertown, London and Southampton, which also provides storage and transport services for standard containers, fresh food and, more recently, luxury ferry passengers’ luggage), operates about 370 ferries per year (about 1.5 million passengers and about 2.7 million pieces of luggage). On top of that, there is the service of loading goods brought to the port by trucks on freighters and vice versa, from ships to trucks (the volume handled is about 100,000 tons per year). The logistics facilities of Solent Stevedores have recently been equipped with environmentally friendly means of transport. The fleet consists of 35 electric trucks of the latest generation with individual safety systems and an electronic system for recording machine operation.

We are constantly striving to improve our environmental impact through the use of recyclable materials in non-harmful manufacturing processes. 35 emission-free trucks help Solent Stevedores reduce its carbon footprint,” says Nick Smith, Managing Director of Still UK.  

Roof decomposes nitrogen oxides

Interesting, environmentally friendly projects are implemented by DSV. In the largest logistics park in Scandinavia, a roofing was used to help break down nitrogen oxide (NOx) particles. NOXOUT was installed on the first of the four warehouse buildings to be built on the Hedeland site, next to DSV Panalpina in Denmark. A special coating of titanium dioxide (acts as a catalyst) based on minerals, helps to break down nitrogen oxide particles emitted by cars and trucks moving in the area. The coating, aided by sunlight, transforms NOx into nitrate, which is washed off the roof during rainfall and then reused as fertilizer for the surrounding soil and plants. In December 2019, NOXOUT was used a roof area of 40,000 square metres (it is capable of decomposing more than 420,000 grams of NOx particles per year, which corresponds to the emission of nitrogen oxides from a Euro 6 truck carrying 8-13 t and travelling around the world 18 times). The total area of all four warehouse buildings, finished with environmentally friendly roofing, will amount to 150,000 square metres, which will allow for the decomposition of over 1.5 million grams of NOx particles each year.

“The new type of roofing is part of the environmentally friendly standard for new DSV buildings. Apart from focusing on reducing CO2 emissions, we also want to focus on reducing air pollution,” says Brian Winther Almind of Group Property.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency ensures that titanium dioxide is safe and is used, among other things, for the production of UV filters in sun screens and dyes in cosmetics, sweets and chewing gum. In addition, the white roof surface reflects the sun rays and reduces heat (as opposed to standard black roofs), reducing energy consumption during the summer months.

Less water consumption and solar power supply

DB Schenker, on the other hand, boasts of its environmentally friendly solutions in its new terminal near Wrocław, Poland. These include solar collectors for domestic water heating and heating and ventilation devices for heat recovery. A rainwater tank with a capacity of 6,500 litres saves water from the local water supply. In turn, the use of LED lamps will more than double savings on electricity consumption and CO2 emissions will be reduced by nearly 230 t per year. In addition, the facility is equipped with zone light control, which will reduce light intensity and power consumption by up to 60%.

Among DB Schenker’s flagship environmental-friendly facilities is the recently opened logistics centre in Dubai, which is fully solar-powered. The warehouse building (33,000 sq m of space) is the central logistics hub in the Middle East (Unilever is one of the customers).

The fully solar-powered logistics centre in Dubai is one of the DB Schenker’s Eco Warehouses. Other such green warehouses are located in Singapore, Helsinki, Klagenfurt, Tilburg and Dortmund,” says Xavier Garijo, member of the DB Schenker board for contract logistics.

The centre, with a temperature control system, allows the storage of 90,000 euro pallets. Additionally, a mezzanine with the area of 3,000 sq m was allocated for other services. By 2021, the warehouse space in Dubai is expected to increase to 80,000 sq m.

Intelligent lighting saves up to 80% of energy

LED lighting is an important element of green activities in warehouses, becoming an obvious choice for investors building new halls. According to data from McKinsey consulting company, thanks to the efficiency of LED installations, the retrofitting of outdated lighting in the European Union countries can bring savings of €2.2 billion annually.

In addition, the Boston Consulting Group estimates that for linear LED systems, the total cost of ownership (TCO) will drop by more than half by the end of this year compared to what it was six years ago.

“When using systems with sensors, thanks to the properties of active LED luminaires, it is possible to control the intensity of the light emitted by them and to switch them off and on depending on the conditions without the risk of reducing their lifespan,” explains Maciej Gronert, project manager of Predictive Maintenance lighting solutions (TRILUX Polska).

Active luminaires and sensors also open doors to regulate light intensity and colour, making it possible to adjust the light to the time of day and the presence of people in the room. The transition from a conventional lighting system to this kind of intelligent LED system allows a total reduction of up to 80% in energy consumption,” says Maciej Gronert.

The technological advancement of LED luminaires has made it possible to imitate natural light inside buildings. The Human Centric Lighting (HCL) systems already available on the market change the intensity and colour of the electric light according to the time of day, stimulating work around noon and gradually switching to relaxing settings in the evening. For companies working in three shifts, the HCL system can be programmed to minimise the negative impact of night work on the daily rhythm.

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