Warehouse Heating and Lighting

January 07, 2017

With fuel prices tipped to continually rise, ensuring your business is as energy efficient as possible is crucial.

Not only can greener equipment bring much-needed cash savings, but with government calling on industry to operate as sustainably as possible, there are ethical matters to address too.

As a temperature-controlled food specialist, Rick Bestwick’s reliance on the national grid is great. In addition to running a series of coldstores which must adhere to stringent core temperatures, the 24-hour operation also requires round-the-clock lighting.

As a result the firm, which is part of the Magnavale family, has made more than £1m worth of lighting upgrades across the group’s network of coldstores. It expects the move will have paid for itself as a result of reduced energy bills within three years.

New LED Lighting at Rick Bestwick’s Chesterfield and Scunthorpe coldstores were among the first upgrades with similar schemes now rolled out or due to be implemented in the near future in Liverpool and Warrington.

Jonathan Gagg, Engineering & Procurement Director at Magnavale, said: “LED lighting uses 25% less energy than the previously-installed fluorescent strip lighting, which provides us with a number of benefits.

“Not only do the LEDs give a better quality of light and cost less to operate, they also emit less heat, meaning our refrigeration system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain low temperatures in the coldstores.”

The LED lighting projects were installed by commercial and industrial lighting specialist Intelligent Light, UK partner for Digital Lumens. Each LED light is fitted with a sensor which reports wirelessly to the firm’s LightRules software.

Gary Fenwick, Managing Director at Intelligent Light, explains: “LightRules enables Jonathan to monitor, maintain and plan energy use through a wide range of features including heat maps to show occupancy patterns. It also provides hundreds of light-pattern settings – for example the ability to schedule or dim lights around certain shift patterns or peaks of activity.

“The system gives unprecedented access to data, insight and analysis to optimise day-to-day operations and ultimately improve the bottom line.”

Industry has made vast improvements to decreasing its energy consumption in recent years. According to latest government statistics the sector accounted for 17% of total final energy consumption in 2015 – its lowest level since 1970.

The general fall in consumption reflects the shift away from heavy industry to more energy light industries. Food, drink and vehicles continue to demand the lion’s share of the sector’s overall consumption, however.

As a member of the Food Storage & Distribution Federation, Rick Bestwick is committed to the organisation’s Climate Change Agreement. The scheme provides members with a discount on the Climate Change Levy by meeting government-agreed, energy efficiency improvement targets. Over the past two years it has helped Rick Bestwick’s Scunthorpe and Chesterfield sites save more than £220,000 as a result of the levy.

The firm’s determination to be as environmentally-friendly as possible has seen it make the lighting investments predominantly from its own pocket, although a local authority grant has helped to support the scheme at Scunthorpe.

In addition to the smart lighting, Rick Bestwick has also made additional improvements to its warehouses in a bid to boost efficiency. They include rapid action doors on its coldstores which minimise air exchange when product enters and exits the coldstores to reduce cold temperature loss. Energy use across the group’s buildings is monitored every half-an-hour to ensure optimum efficiency whilst staff also hold weekly walk-rounds to check equipment is as productive as possible.

Jonathan said: “As a business, we have pledged to reduce our overall carbon footprint. Energy is one of our largest expenditures as a business and we are constantly looking at ways to reduce that spend, either by looking at the best prices, how we can work smarter, or even better – by not using as much energy in the first place.”