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What steps can be taken now to future-proof power supply?

By Petrina Austin – 20 Mar 2024

It is clear from speaking to customers that ensuring their logistics space is fit for purpose for the future, both operationally and economically, underwrites their decision-making.

In our recent occupier survey, most cited pressures of labour availability and spiralling utility costs as being of high concern.  With this in mind, many occupiers are increasingly adopting – or plan to adopt – automation within their processes so they can become more efficient.  Automation requires power and readily available skilled engineers to maintain it.  Both are commodities in high demand.

Appreciating power availability needs to be a key criteria in asset and land acquisition due diligence.  For example, at Tritax we overlay an assessment as to how renewable energy can supplement or replace conventional power supplies to support both our and our customers’ ESG agendas, with the aim of improving the credentials of the property, whilst maximising resilience and cost efficiencies. 

There are different renewable options available to reduce costs – such as roof or ground mounted solar PV panels or wind turbines for power, as well as rainwater harvesting for WCs and vehicle wash stations.  

Whilst our modelling usually indicates that our customers’ full power requirement cannot be met solely by solar PV, a scheme can create a significant cost saving and reduction in CO2 emissions.  Renewable power sources are often intermittent and without storage solutions, it is difficult to achieve the full benefit.  We anticipate that battery technology will improve and provide more effective and economic storage solutions, justifying its inclusion in the future and thereby enhancing the benefits of installing renewable power infrastructure. 

As companies and employees increasingly move to trialling new forms of transportation – such as EV or hydrogen-powered vehicles – helping the environment and reducing their costs, assets need to have the infrastructure to support this transition. 

Subscription to indices like GRESB has allowed greater scrutiny and comparison of consumption data across assets, making it possible to review the data for similar sized properties and uses and evaluate where to reduce usage and make efficiencies.  Sub meters and heat mapping can also direct how well each area of the property is being used, showing where, through better use of space and potential reductions in heating and lighting requirements, occupiers can minimise – or at times remove – unnecessary costs.  These findings are supporting more widespread adoption of energy efficient technologies, such as LED lighting with sensors and improved insulation.

In addition to wanting to do the right thing, the drive to be net zero has moved up the corporate agenda and is a high priority for most occupiers (and owners), who have clearly stated priorities and timelines.   To achieve these relies on a much more collaborative, progressive approach between occupiers and property owners. 

Importantly, we recognise that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Each occupier is unique and has bespoke power needs, with trends evolving.  It’s important to understand each individual customer’s requirements as well as new innovations and legislative changes to help ensure occupiers have logistics solutions that are not just fit for today but also for the future.

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