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There are a variety of ways to increase energy-efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of warehouses. Similar to office buildings, these can include, not only the use of energy-saving motion sensors for lights, solar power and reusable pallets, but using more solar energy, recycling water, eliminating landfill and ultimately turning to ‘clean’ sources of energy such as wind power.

Consideration should be taken in the equipment that is used in the warehouse is also energy efficient.  Forklifts are used to lift and move cargo that is typically on a pallet from one location to another. Traditionally, they were fueled by gasoline, propane, or diesel fuel. However, clean rechargeable electric forklifts (using lead-acid or other types of recyclable batteries) are gaining in popularity. Electric forklifts eliminate emissions inside the warehouse or factory, and assist in meeting indoor air quality regulations.

Other companies are looking at utilizing other fuel sources, hydrogen, for example. Commercially viable hydrogen-powered industrial vehicles are closer to the market than many people think and one of the most likely to succeed is the forklift.General Motors (Canada) and Hydrogenics demonstrated this in 2005, with an operational fuel cell forklift supported by an onsite hydrogen fuelling station at a GM facility.

“Fuel cell-powered forklifts are ideal for indoor facilities, such as factories and warehouses, because they produce no exhaust emissions, and they have significant operational advantages over traditional battery-powered forklifts. We have always known that being environmentally friendly is not enough on its own to sell this technology. It simply has to be better than what people use now.”

“This trial of hydrogen-powered forklift trucks at GM’s car plant in Oshawa is just one example of the steps GM and its partners are taking as we head down the road to the hydrogen economy,” said David Paterson, vice-president, corporate and environmental affairs, GM Canada. ·        Source: gizmag Feb 9 2005

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