Food manufacturers focusing on energy efficiency

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Between 1990 and 2014, the food manufacturing sector reduced absolute carbon dioxide emissions by 41%, figures from Food & Drink Federation (FDF) claim. argues that larger businesses are responsible for the majority of reductions, thanks to Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) that were introduced following the Climate Change Levy in 2001.
While reduced energy costs have become a driver in their own right for businesses of all sizes, Barclays claims that energy-related concerns have evolved once more, focusing not just on cost but also wider energy resilience.
Its recently published Powering On report highlights that food and drink is not one of the UK's most energy-dependent industrial sectors.
However, Barclays' head of manufacturing, transport and logistics, Mike Rigby, notes: "There's been a movement from relying on labour to increased use of robotics and automation, and with this comes a greater reliance on energy.
"With small to medium-sized enterprises [SMEs], too, there's a sharp divergence between those investing little in automation and those investing the most."
Rigby argues that a greater reliance on energy supplies creates three "challenging features": the price of energy, and how important that is to the business; resilience to any outages in supply; and a focus on the sources of energy, particularly with regard to carbon footprint.
He notes that while companies were right to be concerned about price in the past, there is now a three-way pull of equal measure.
Sustainability consultant at Lorien Engineering Solutions, Tom Jordan, acknowledges that food industry sites often have to contend with plant that is well beyond its shelf life, older buildings and limited space for expansion.
One of the biggest issues is boilers, with Barclays report citing FDF figures attributing 54% of the food and drink sector's energy consumption to boilers.
As head of energy efficiency at Siemens, Stephen Barker, points out, the vast majority of the food industry's 'energy' is fossil-fuel based, not electrical, which underlines the importance of having an energy-efficiency strategy.
Having a dedicated energy manager can help with the implementation and maintenance of an energy-efficiency strategy, however, not all businesses have one. This can create issues for companies, especially SMEs, as they are more likely to suffer from the lack of a dedicated energy manager when compared to larger businesses in the sector. AVReporter Energy Management Software is designed to aid the work of an energy or facility manager. The simple user-friendly surface aids transparency, helpd with the forecasting, as well as with managing targets.
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