Stories & Features

How social distancing impacts energy efficiency

Image of the interior of the 18 Wheels warehouse facility
Companies like 18 Wheels are adapting their operations to help keep essential products en route to their destinations, while also working on energy-efficient facility upgrades.

Keeping the wheels in motion amid COVID-19

We're all aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on industries across the province. But at a time when many businesses are looking to reduce costs as much as possible, how are COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions impacting their need to increase energy efficiency?

18 Wheels and COVID-19

One B.C. business tackling this is 18 Wheels, a third party logistics provider with locations in Delta and Burnaby.

"We provide warehousing services along with transportation services for our customers. We have about 500,000 square feet of warehouse space," says CEO, Adrian Wen. "We help our customers by managing all their logistics – often remotely. A lot of our customers have their head offices located in Eastern Canada or various parts of the U.S."

The Lower Mainland is the perfect location for 18 Wheels. "Vancouver is a key gateway into North America so our clients need a presence here," adds Adrian. "We provide a single source solution for our customers – providing transportation from the local ports and distribution centres, managing inventory, fulfilling orders, and completing the final delivery to their end customers."

18 Wheels noticed a big reduction in foreign shipments as COVID-19 restrictions kicked in. But these were only temporary. "Over the last month or so, it's picked up. I don't know if it's quite back to normal levels yet, but it's picking up as restrictions are slowly lifting," says Adrian. "Volume for supermarkets and essential products has increased significantly. Overall, we've continued to focus on helping our communities get the items they need to keep the shelves full."

Managing social distancing and energy efficiency

Meanwhile, as COVID-19 restrictions were being introduced, 18 Wheels was also busy working with BC Hydro on an LED lighting upgrade at their Delta facility.

"For social distancing, we've introduced various measures to ensure that our in-house team are safe, along with any drivers coming or going from our facilities. To move forward with our LED project, we'd need to be sure that having outside contractors come in to do the work is safe and in line with social distancing guidelines."

So it seems that for now, energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits in high-traffic industrial areas might have to wait until COVID-19 restrictions ease up a little.

"At 18 Wheels, we're doing our best to follow the guidelines provided by Health Canada," says Adrian. "Ultimately, we just try to make sure our staff are safe and comfortable, so that whether they're working in the office or from home, they have the resources they need."

Get the latest COVID-19 advice for your business

Make sure your team and your business are benefitting from the latest BC Government advice on COVID-19, including their Support for Businesses information.

And of course, BC Hydro is here to help. Reach out to your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager if you have any questions or concerns.