Lead Forensics

Sustainable warehousing helps make online sales greener

There has been a large increase in online sales, and that has caused a high demand for new warehouses. Consumers are demanding that environmental concerns should be addressed by online retailers, and this includes making the construction and operations of warehouses more sustainable.

A United Nations study found that buildings and new construction combined are accountable for 39% of CO2 emissions and 36% of the world’s energy demand. There are several ways that warehouse construction can be made more sustainable. Modular construction involves making standardised building components off-site, then installing them on site. This process creates less waste. When the warehouse is demolished, the components can be repurposed for new buildings.

In warehouses that are constructed using steel frames, the steel can be recycled. Heavy duty garment rails, shelves, trolleys, packing tables and other handling and storing equipment in warehouses are mainly made from tubular steel, which can be recycled.

Smart heating technology improves energy efficiency. Solar panels and thermostats that use artificial intelligence reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Online retailers rely on many vehicles to deliver orders to customers. Electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fleets are being used to reduce carbon emissions. Some logistics companies are also looking at using delivery drones powered by rechargeable batteries.

Damien Gallogly of construction consultancy Linesight, in an article for Global Trade, said:

“Large e-commerce companies are starting to see the importance of creating environmentally sustainable operations.”

Gallogly added that these changes, which are positive, indicate the industry is prepared to make online retail greener.

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