Careful planning saves bakeries energy and money | 2021-08-20

Bakeries interested in finding ways to reduce their energy use without spending a lot of money can check out the Energy Treasure Hunt guide, which can be found on the Energy Star website. It categorizes treasure hunts into four phases: preparation, pre-training, on-site event and follow-up.

While facilities can become more energy efficient through small and large investment projects and procurement, such as renegotiating utility contracts or upgrading lighting, scavenger hunts are a must. designed to help businesses save energy through low-cost or no-cost projects. As with any successful project, careful planning is essential.

“To do that, you’re going to have to take the time and schedule it,” said Walt Tunnessen, Energy Star industry manager at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Which bakery should we be looking at? Who should be involved? When do we do it? When is the best time to do it? “

The search for energy efficiency also requires a certain expertise. For small bakeries where managers may wear multiple hats, this can be intimidating.

“One of the things I encountered was how many people we had who understood what we were looking for was zero,” said Billy Delaney, environmental health and safety manager for New Horizons Baking Co. , Norwalk, Ohio.

In 2017, Mr. Delaney was tasked with reducing energy and wastewater by 20% at the company’s Norwalk plant. He started asking people for advice and advice. He looked at the Energy Star spreadsheet for the Energy Star Challenge and began to calculate the energy consumption of gas and electricity in the plant.

“I got a metric to measure it against their recommendation, which was by units, and I calculated how many units we needed for a base pack of a dozen muffins,” a- he declared. “When we did that, the spreadsheet started giving us data results, so we had a baseline year. “

To pass the Energy Star Challenge, bakeries must reduce their energy intensity by 10% within five years. The benchmark year for the Norwalk plant was 2018, and by the end of 2019 and early 2020 the bakery had far exceeded the challenge, reducing energy by 34.4%.

Saving energy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. This should make sense for the location and corporate culture of each bakery, Mr Tunnessen said. For example, the Energy Treasure Hunt guide suggests using three teams in the hunt, taking three days to conduct it, and starting on a non-operational day, unless it is a 24/7 operation. 7, then to complete it when the plant is operational. But everything can be scaled for each operation.

“You can be good with a team,” he said. “You might be able to do it in a day or a day and a half. Sometimes you look at the whole plant, sometimes people say they’re going to look at part of the plant. There is no orthodoxy that it has to be done a certain way.

Preparation before the scavenger hunt should include creating an agenda, building teams and resources, and collecting and analyzing data, among other steps.

Energy Star offers several online resources, including videos, to help businesses.

Bakeries can hire consultants and others to help them out, as lack of expertise is a barrier for many bakeries to lead an energy hunt.

“Sometimes utilities have energy professionals, so bakeries should ask if the utility could send someone to participate,” Tunnessen said. “By engaging the utility provider in this scavenger hunt, they will also be able to tell you if there are any discounts, like for lighting upgrades or if they have a personalized incentive program that could. be used to upgrade your motors on your mixers, or things like that. “

Equipment vendors can also be used as consultants, especially when it comes to more complicated equipment like chillers or ovens with lots of controls, Tunnessen said. Bakers will also need to develop detailed opportunity sheets, which are forms summarizing a potential energy saving measure.

Energy Star has developed a treasure map, which can be found online, for manufacturing plants to direct them to the best places to find savings, and they even have specialized maps for certain industries.

“We have been in discussions with the American Bakers Association (ABA) about developing a treasure map for bakeries,” said Mr. Tunnessen. “Last year we didn’t sue because of COVID. Now was not the time to bring people together to talk about it. But that’s something we’d love to try doing with ABA for bread and buns, cookies and crackers bakeries. “

This article is an excerpt from the July 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on energy management, Click here.