Food manufacturers missing out on big savings from energy efficiency

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New research has revealed that companies in the food and drink manufacturing industry are still hesitant about energy efficiency initiatives, the Food Manufacture website reports - even though they have the potential to produce significant savings.
Energy efficiency consultancy Improve Energy recently conducted hundreds of energy audits. From this research, analysts found energy savings opportunities that ranged from 5% to as much as 20%. However, in numerous cases, these audits had not been turned into action.
As managing director Michael Dent explains, the benefits are "obvious"; yet the challenge lies in "shaking off the 'Cinderella' status of energy efficiency and shifting it up the corporate agenda from plant room to board room."
He stresses that by "turning their backs" on the low-cost, effective - and often rapid - opportunities that energy efficiency brings, companies are not only failing to help the planet - they're also missing out on the chance to "ramp up profits."
According to the consultancy, food and drink manufacturers should start by focusing on the key areas that are common to most businesses - heating/hot water, ventilation and air conditioning. Space heating alone can waste masses of energy, while the simplest of energy efficiency measures could reduce these costs by 30%.
Lighting costs can also be easily reduced, by introducing low-cost measures and technologies such as LEDs.
Another significant source of wasted energy is poor control of building energy management, say the researchers. That's despite the fact that modern energy management systems are incredibly effective at optimising a building's energy efficiency, sometimes resulting in savings of over 1000%.
Energy management systems can also switch off idle machinery, refrigeration and chiller systems when not in use, leading to impressive cost savings.
It's also important to focus on 'life-cycle costing', says director and chief executive Steve Schofield, as opposed to being drawn in by lower initial costs. This is especially true when it comes to pumping equipment, which can account for 25-50% of the total energy consumed by certain industrial processes, according to data from the US Department of Energy's Office of Industrials Technologies.
Energy efficiency food industry



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