Shedding light on the drive to becoming carbon neutral by 2030

Reducing lighting use, cutting energy costs and lowering carbon emissions

Warehouse lighting inside Unipart warehouse

According to a report by the Carbon Trust, lighting is the number one consumer of energy in a typical warehouse – accounting for between 65-95% of the total.

Reducing lighting use, cutting energy costs and lowering carbon emissions can all be achieved by swapping traditional lighting – such as incandescent or halogen bulbs – for LEDs, which are more eco-friendly. Often, it’s a win-win situation because taking steps to look after the environment can also produce long-term financial gains. LEDs are a better alternative to traditional lighting solutions because they have a relatively low voltage and high output, meaning they take less energy to produce the same amount of light. Unlike halogen and incandescent bulbs, they don’t waste energy converting it to heat.

Unipart is working with the Carbon Trust to become carbon neutral for all our own operations by 2030. We are future proofing our warehouses with digital technology to reduce energy consumption and installing energy efficient lighting wherever possible. We are also committed to using 100% renewable energy and investing in technology that allows us to produce this on-site.

What are we doing?

The big success of 2021 so far has been switching to 100% renewable electricity – which has reduced Unipart Logistics’ carbon footprint by around 30% (more than 6,500 tonnes). Where possible, we are generating our own electricity and for all other sites we are procuring renewable electricity. We are also currently looking at the latest technologies to reduce our gas consumption.

Moving at pace towards a carbon neutral goal still calls for due diligence – especially when looking to retrofit new technology into older warehouses. However, we have identified where our CO2 usage is highest and are finding new solutions to mitigate our carbon footprint. Going forward, we are setting new standards and creating new norms.

We reduced energy by 29% from our buildings by installing smart LED lighting to our largest warehouses in Cowley and Nuneaton. A 26% reduction in CO2 emissions was also gained by installing smart biomass boilers at Unipart House and Canley (2019 figures). Our Cowley Distribution Centre and our Nuneaton site are now fully equipped with LED lighting, with lux and motion sensors. Motion-controlled sensors ensure that lights are only used when staff are nearby, while light level sensors can adjust the level of lighting based on the amount of natural light available.

Skylights and natural lighting are another important feature of modern warehouses because an influx of natural light ­­­­­adds an extra source of

heating in colder months and can help boost employee morale.

Developing the warehouses of the future, today

LED lighting inside Unipart warehouse

An example of how Unipart is focusing on environmental impact is evident in the NHS Supply Chain site in Bury St Edmunds. This new state-of- the-art facility was opened as part of a long-term growth strategy to yield savings for NHS frontline services.

Environmental sustainability is core for both NHS Supply Chain and Unipart; this is why a sustainability project stream was set up for Suffolk Park. An advanced rainwater harvesting system replenishes water in all on-site amenities and LED roof lighting was installed that ensures both energy efficiency and light damage compliance with Medical Device Regulations (MDR). These regulations govern the production, distribution and storage of medical devices, placing a responsibility on health sites to be able to control and monitor temperatures with active heating and cooling equipment including a back-up generator, should the main power supply be interrupted.

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Throughout the remainder of 2021 and 2022, we are working on an LED lighting replacement programme across all of our NHS sites.