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Distribution Centers | P2

Why Reducing Waste Matters

Source reduction can occur at the distribution center prior to your products hitting the road. The median distribution center in EPA’s EnergyStar Portfolio Manager is approximately 110,000 square feet and operates sixty hours per week | Learn More >

While distribution centers vary in size across the US, they play a significant part in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, packaging waste and shipping efficiency. 

Is your distribution center strategically located in a geographical location where all forms of shipping can be utilized? Re-evaluate the location(s) of your company’s distribution or manufacturing center | Learn More >

Consider investing in smaller distribution centers across the country that can easily be connected with your largest distribution center to allow for effective shipping hubs.

Maintenance and Repair

Emphasize the financial and environmental results of a preventative maintenance program for major systems and components at your distribution center.

Improve operations and maintenance practices by regularly checking and maintaining equipment to ensure it’s functioning efficiently. Perform monthly maintenance of heating and cooling equipment to guarantee efficient operation throughout the year.

Regularly change or clean HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating season. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment and result in lower indoor air quality.

Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear of furniture and paper. As much as twenty percent more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.

Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air-conditioners, or chillers. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer and keeping coils clean saves energy.

Repair leaks and adjust pressure in compressed air systems. Repair steam trap leaks and replace malfunctioning steam traps. Repair damaged insulation and replace missing insulation with thicknesses calculated for the operating and ambient conditions of the mechanical system.

Strategic Packing

Strategic packing methods can reduce the overall costs associated with packaging materials, warehousing and transportation by ten percent or more, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Maximize existing freight capacity by using box sizes that work for your shipment. Denser shipments translate into fewer trucks on the road. Consider using rectangular boxes as they use less material and are more likely to fit precisely on a pallet when compared to square boxes.

Practice order consolidation by grouping product orders by destination or by customer to maximize the use of packing boxes and to make the supply of the product more efficient.

Save Energy by Benchmarking

Save Energy by joining EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This tool can help you measure energy use in commercial buildings. In addition, you can determine how your building is performing against peer facilities nationwide | Go to Energy Star Portfolio Manager >

Refrigeration Systems

If your distribution center includes a refrigeration system, see the following fact sheets developed by EPA’s Green Chill Program to assist you in reducing pollution to the environment while saving money:

  • Prioritizing Leak Tightness During Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Installation | View PDF >
  • Refregerant Leak Prevention | View PDF >
  • Retrofits | View PDF >
  • Opportunities and Best Practices for Green Design | View PDF >
    • Commercial refrigeration technologies

Designing Efficient Buildings

Are you planning a distribution center? Consider the following resources to guide you in designing a sustainable building:

  • Better Buildings: an initiative of the US Department of Energy (DOE), to find a solution by topic, building size and type, technology, location, sector and more | Learn More >
  • LEED Certification through the US Green Building Council to assist you in designing a resource efficient building | Learn More >

Case Study

A company that implemented photovoltaics, lighting systems and high performance HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units saved over one million kWh of electricity and almost 900,000 therms of gas while producing 590,000 kWh of power annually | Learn More >