The green warehouse as part of green logistics and the green supply chain
By Bartosz Michalski, director, technical development, Central Europe, SEGRO
Supply chain is not just about the delivery of a product, but the whole journey it takes from production, through warehousing until the delivery to the end customer. Achieving the EU’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the continent by 55% by 2030 will require urgent technology development and strategic partnerships for change across the logistics and warehousing sector. For this reason, sustainable business operations are becoming a priority for an increasing number of companies.
According to a Deloitte survey, 60% of developers believe that the rising importance of ESG factors will create new business opportunities for their organisations, as many customers are asking about green certification and modern technologies as early as the contract signing stage. At SEGRO, ESG targets are implemented through the Responsible SEGRO programme, one of the company’s strategic bases.
Embodied and operational carbon
For rapidly growing companies, one of the key challenges is taking care of reducing carbon emissions. In the warehouse industry, it is generated during the production of construction materials and their transportation, as well as being emitted by customers during the operational use of the facility. However, we have implemented technologies inside facilities that allow warehouse users to grow their business in an environmentally friendly way. Examples of such measures include operating energy-saving heat pumps, photovoltaic panels on roofs or purchasing only green energy.
SEGRO, as a developer, manager and owner of modern warehouse space, is bearing ecology in mind from the planning stage – warehouses are designed in BIM (Building Information Modelling), which maximises the ergonomics of the project. Recycling also takes place during brownfield development – the re-use of land, buildings or industrial infrastructure facilities that are given new functions. And all the purchased energy used in SEGRO warehouses in Poland is certified as green, which means that it is entirely sourced from wind and sun.
How to reduce CO2 and cut costs
PropTech technologies, such as a cloud-based utility monitoring system, make it possible to control consumption and costs while using the facility, and also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. LED lighting is consuming over 30% less energy than traditional lighting. The colour of the LEDs is similar to sunlight, so this is also important for the eyesight of employees. In addition, motion sensors of the DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) system are being installed so that lighting is automatically switched off in unused spaces. In the new facilities, sanitary fittings are equipped with a mode that enables water consumption to be reduced by up to 56% compared to standard installations. SEGRO is also leading a major pan-European project to introduce photovoltaic panels on the roofs of its buildings.
Green change is also taking place with the support of electromobility. Today, 80% of SEGRO’s logistics parks in Poland have electric car charging stations, which can charge as many as 77 cars at the same time. In turn, part of the fleet servicing warehouses has already been replaced with electric ones. This way, SEGRO’s customers and partners are encouraged to make environmentally conscious, responsible choices thanks to the infrastructure provided, tailored to ‘green’ transportation.
Certification that matters
The certification of facilities is yet another way to put the logistics chain on the path to sustainable, low-carbon growth. According to the Polish Green Building Association, last year already 40% of the total supply of warehouse space in Poland consisted of ‘green’ certified properties. Among the best practices in the real estate market is the pursuit of a BREEAM certificate – Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method – which shows how energy-efficient a building is, what its impact on environmental pollution is, and its CO2 emissions.
Currently, all of SEGRO’s new developments are being built in accordance with the BREEAM standards of at least ‘Excellent’ grade. Therefore, the share of certified green space in our portfolio continues to grow: last year it totalled 43% of all developments. Among SEGRO’s new projects, over 140,000m2 is being developed to meet the requirements of the highest BREEAM category, ‘Outstanding’. It guarantees the application of the highest technological standards, sustainable management and extensive use of green energy potential in the customer’s warehouse.
E-warehouses as an essential link in the green supply chain
Safe, user-friendly, efficient facilities are the future of the warehouse real-estate sector. In coming years, cost-effective and environmentally efficient supply chains will depend on the coordinated action of developers and facility users – both will play a key role. In SEGRO’s case, all of the above-mentioned activities are now going hand in hand with one of the key elements of the Responsible SEGRO programme’s mission: achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. In this way, we aim to contribute to promoting the idea of innovative green logistics, developed with respect for the planet, pointing out the dwindling resources of the earth and the need to implement green energy sources.
Optimal warehouse management throughout the entire life cycle and ergonomic use of resources and utilities make it possible today not only to reduce the carbon footprint, but also to enable real savings for the manager and the customer. Green logistics will therefore benefit everyone.