How High-Density Storage Supports Sustainable Design

By Stuffey | February 26, 2019

Storage may not directly contribute to climate change — your shelving is unlikely to emit greenhouse gases — yet making the right decisions in storage planning can have a positive impact on sustainability efforts. Incorporating high-density storage solutions into new constructions and remodels can bring many benefits for those who want to go green.

“Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Almost 40 percent of the national C02 emissions in the U.S. comes from buildings. That’s more than both the industrial and transportation sectors.

What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable design, also known as green design, prioritizes environmental concerns in addition to users’ health and well-being. This approach to design considers:
  • Potential energy usage
  • Optimizing material use
  • Resource efficiency
  • Alternative energy sources
  • Facilitating sustainability goals.

Going green also takes into consideration the sourcing of materials. Preferring local vendors, for example, can cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Also, selecting products constructed from recycled content and thinking of ways in which to reuse or repurpose existing storage solutions can help sustainability objectives.

How does High-Density Storage Help?

Whether high-density storage is integrated into design for a warehouse, library, museum or hospital, the benefits are plentiful.

High-Density storage takes up less of a footprint than conventional storage with static shelving. With mobile storage units set on carriages in movable aisles, this compact solution can save up to 50% of floorspace. Additionally, this movable storage solution is designed to effectively utilize vertical space in a way that surpasses the capabilities of conventional filing and storage units.

The architect for the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston saved 4.000 square feet by designing with high-density mobile storage units in mind. And that’s just when the library opened. The building’s stack areas were fortified at construction to hold high-density storage units in the future, too. Thus, while the current library holds over 500,000 volumes and currently has the potential for a million volumes capacity, it can further triple the size of its collection without needed to build anew.

Even in existing structures, high-density mobile storage offers the flexibility to adapt to changes and meet future goals. While millwork is static and, when replaced ends up torn out and thrown into landfills, modular mobile shelving allows for reconfiguration and relocation. The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office in Conyers Georgia, remodeled to maximize evidence storage space in a cramped, overcrowded and inefficient area. “It’s definitely made things a lot better,” said Captain Duane Day. “The increased storage area, the organization and the added security all make for a winning project. It’s a noticeable difference. It’s so much easier to manage.”

Increasing storage density also lowers energy needs. The overall building may be designed smaller, which will cut back on heating and air conditioning needs. Additionally, with movable storage, a museum or athletic equipment area might save on lighting expenses with programmable overhead aisle lighting that automatically turns off after a set period of inactivity.

EPA Quote

The increased efficiency extends beyond energy and space consumption, too. As high-density storage offers a more compact solution, it can also help streamline work processes. Employees in the hospital, for instance, can more easily and safely access medical supplies on a rotating carousel. Or workers in a manufacturing plant, can spend less time traveling among aisles as they are now kept more compact.

Maximizing storage capacity in a reduced footprint also provides opportunities to reclaim space otherwise needed for conventional storage. For instance, a library cutting back on the amount of space needed for the stacks gains additional room for students to collaborate, work on computers or study comfortably in spacious new space. At the Buckspot Library in Conway, South Carolina, redesigning the library layout to integrate mobile shelving recovered usable space for five more computers, flex space for large programs, a meeting room and a reference/periodical reading room.

Where to start

Whether integrating mobile shelving, or vertical units, high-density storage solutions offer an opportunity to make the best use of space and better meet green building goals. Beyond sustainability, these storage systems improve access and security for all types of stuff, no matter their size or shape. If you want to dive deeper, we provide continuing education courses that help architects and designers incorporate these types of solutions into their plans.

Contact us today to let us help with your sustainability goals.


About Stuffey

To say that Stuffey was made for this role would be an understatement. A life long hoarder, Stuffey understands how the Laws of Stuff can wreak havoc in the real world of an organization’s space. Now as part of his reformation, he is committed to passing on to you his secrets in our battle against the tyranny of STUFF.

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