If you’re a facility manager of a warehouse or industrial building, you have a lot on your plate. Not only do you have to keep things running smoothly, but you’re also responsible for keeping things clean and organized. In a world that’s increasingly focused on being eco-conscious, your job becomes even more challenging.
How can you keep your building clean while being thoughtful about environmental impacts? Here are seven ideas to help you keep your industrial space clean and green:
#1: Invest in Drainage Upgrades
Almost every warehouse has some type of drainage system. Sometimes these are inside the building for handling spills and cleaning. Other times these systems can be found outside to handle rainwater. Regardless of location or function, a drain system is a critical component to keeping industrial spaces clean and safe.
Traditional grate drains are often heavy and hard to clean, leading to gunk buildup and mold. More and more facilities are moving towards trench drains. Trench drains don’t require a grate, and they’re simple to clean. You can also get a traffic rated trench drain for the outside, so they aren’t limited to inside the warehouse.
The ease of cleaning makes trench drains a superior choice, and a greener one. You don’t have to use harsh chemicals to keep trench drains clean, and they’re made of stainless steel, which is a sustainable and recyclable material. Making this upgrade is a simple way to keep things clean and green.
#2: Always Use Heavy-Duty Industrial Vacuums
Most facility managers know that industrial vacuum cleaners are a critical component to warehouse cleanliness. Standard vacuums and sweeping aren’t going to cut it. If you aren’t currently using heavy-duty vacuums, make the switch. It’s not only more effective; it’s also safer.
While heavy-duty vacuums don’t immediately make one think of energy-efficiency, the market is full of greener options. Pneumatic vacuums run on compressed air versus electricity, which reduces the risk of combustion but also reduces energy usage. Another option is the HEPA industrial vacuum. This model traps incredibly small particles in their filters, keeping the air quality extremely clean.
So, be sure to use an industrial vacuum and look around for more eco-friendly options.
#3: Properly Seal the Floor
Working in a warehouse, you’re probably familiar with concrete floors. Concrete is the top flooring choice for industrial spaces, because they’re easy to clean and maintain. But, as you’re probably aware, concrete has to be adequately sealed to stay clean and low-maintenance.
Sealing concrete ensures stains don’t absorb into the floor. It also locks out moisture, which maintains the integrity of the flooring. Since concrete is such a popular flooring choice, there’s now a whole line of eco-friendly, green sealers that provide all the benefits without the harmful chemicals.
So, be sure to seal the floor to keep everything easy to clean and choose greener sealants. Also, be sure to remove old sealer from concrete before applying the new sealer.
#4: Get a Permeable Paving System
One of the most challenging hassles outside the building is maintaining the parking lot. This is especially true if you live in an area that battles heavy rains. Standing water and puddles aren’t only a nuisance; they’re dangerous and can cause damage to the parking lot and equipment.
While a trench drainage system, like we mentioned before, is an excellent solution for handling rainwater buildup, there’s another solution which deals with the parking lot paving itself. Rather than using asphalt, consider investing in permeable pavers. These pavers are incredibly porous and absorb water into the ground. Traditional parking lot materials don’t absorb water, and instead collect and puddle water.
These pavers are also eco-friendly because they encourage the natural water cycle, allowing water to permeate the ground. These pavers also eliminate pollutants from the water, creating a cleaner ground ecosystem.
#5: Upgrade the Lighting
There are a lot of lights in industrial spaces. A dimly lit warehouse makes it impossible to keep clean. If keeping things clean is a priority, the entire space must be adequately lit. However, don’t just use any old bulbs.
Make the switch to energy-efficient lights, like compact fluorescent lights or LED bulbs. These alternatives use about one-fifth of the power of traditional bulbs. While you’re in energy-conservation mode, consider making all the lights in the warehouse motion activated.
Upgrading the lighting will cut energy usage and ultimately save on electricity costs. As a bonus here, look into smart thermostats for the same reason.
#6: Develop Cleaning Habits that Prioritize Recycling
This tip might be obvious, but your warehouse must have a methodology for cleaning. You should train employees to be proactive and keep their spaces clean. You should keep cleaning supplies out and available and encourage and promote an environment that rewards cleanliness.
Training employees to clean can be a difficult task. You might have to employ new initiatives and rules and set new standards. While you’re doing that, be sure to add recycling to the list of requirements. Warehouses and industrial facilities have an incredible amount of recyclable material that goes to landfills.
Instead of shipping these recyclable materials to the landfill, start recycling the cardboard, paper, metals, and more than your warehouse uses. And then train your employees to do the same.
#7: Make Conscious Switches
A lot of times, when a piece of equipment goes out, an identical replacement is ordered. This is common practice, but it’s not the best practice. Now, almost every single piece of equipment has an eco-friendlier option that’s not only better for the environment, but higher quality, too.
When it’s time to replace a piece of machinery, do a little digging and see if there’s a better option available. On the topic of switching, do the same thing with your packaging material and cleaning products.
There are green alternatives to all the packaging and cleaning materials you currently use. So, when you run out, and it’s time to order more, do a little hunting to find a greener alternative to your current cleaning and packaging products.
Keep Your Facility Clean and Green
Keeping your building clean is not only crucial for efficiency, but it also keeps your employees safe. As the world moves towards more climate-focused initiatives, warehouses will be required to be more eco-friendly. Be ahead of that curve by starting those changes now.
You have a difficult job, but if you utilize the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to having a greener and cleaner facility.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.