Minimizing the Loss of Energy at the Loading Dock

Minimizing the Loss of Energy at the Loading Dock

Loading docks are essential for facilities movement of goods. It is what allows their goods to reach their customers, ultimately creating revenue for the company. While loading docks are critical to enabling profits, they can also incur high energy costs.

The High Cost of Energy Loss

Inefficient energy usage can occur within a warehouse facility in a variety of ways, but the loading dock provides a large opportunity for generated energy to become wasted and for money to literally be thrown out the door.

Warehouse facilities typically have numerous loading dock doors that are in use several hours a day, if not 24/7. Every second the dock door is open energy generated to produce the cool air or heat within the facility slips through the cracks.

This issue is especially present in cold storage warehouses where a significant amount of energy is used to keep the facility cool and preserve the quality of the goods.

An article from Star Refrigeration explains this further: “For a chilled facility at +2°C on a warm, humid day, where the ambient air is +32°C and 70% RH, air entering the building and being cooled to the +2°C condition requires around 100kJ/m3 of heat extraction. This corresponds to 100kW of energy per 1m3 of air entering the store. Assuming it is an efficient cooling system with a CoP of 3, this means 33kW of electrical energy is required to remove this heat – and at 6p/kWhr, this equates to a running cost of over £48 per day.”  That cost can accumulate quickly coming in at £17,520 annually.

In addition, the article goes on to say that if the goods were required to stay at a freezing temperature, such as -25C, the load and operating costs would increase by an additional 40%.

Sustainability Solutions

Solutions are available to prevent the loss of energy through loading dock doors and the high costs associated with it.  Loading dock seals and shelters are both relatively simple solutions that aid in temperature is control and minimize the amount of cool air or heat lost through the cracks of the trailer and dock. Seals are typically made from a foam material that compress when a trailer backs up to the dock during loading/unloading. This creates a suction like seal between the dock and trailer, limiting the cool air or heat escaping the warehouse.

Loading dock shelters also limit the amount of cool air or heat escaping the warehouse and are typically used at sites where there are a variety of truck styles and sizes. They are not as effective as seals but still provide a sufficient solution to help reduce energy loss.

In addition to seals and shelters, systems exist that only allow the dock door to be opened when a trailer is backed up to the dock and ready to be loaded/unloaded. For example, the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System ensures the dock door is locked closed until loading/unloading process can be performed safely. While a cool summer’s breeze may be enjoyable, precious energy and money are going to waste every second the dock door is left open.

These systems greatly reduce the amount of energy going to waste at a facility and help companies save on energy costs. Sustainability is important and efficient energy usage is the first step to ensuring our environment is a clean and safe place for us to live and work for the foreseeable future. Make an impact at your facility today by implementing a solution to reduce the amount of energy lost at the loading dock.

KIRK Key Interlock:

KIRK Key Interlock believes everyone has the right to be safe at work. KIRK provides sequenced process safety solutions to the logistics and energy industries. Our logistic solution, Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems, prevent drive-aways during loading/unloading by interlocking the trailer’s air brakes with the dock door, ensuring that the trailer cannot depart until loading/unloading is completed and the dock door is closed.

Salvo Loading Dock Safety Systems protect loading dock personnel and ensure they return home safely at the end of their shift.

For more information on the Salvo Loading Dock Safety System visit or contact to talk to a loading dock expert.