Improve Your Food Plant’s Sustainability With These 5 Tips

Most food and beverage companies aren’t against being more eco-friendly — it’s just that achieving sustainability in a food processing plant can be easier said than done.

The upfront investment associated with energy-efficient solutions, such as “green” building materials and equipment, can be difficult to justify. How do you know which energy-efficient options will provide the best return on investment?

As we observe Earth Day this week, let’s look at ways to invest in your food plant that are both good for the planet and provide a solid return on investment (ROI).

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The Benefits and Basics of Building Management Systems for Food Plants

We live in a world where we have unprecedented access to a wide variety of data — and food and beverage plants are no exception. Owners increasingly want to know what’s going on in their facilities from water and electricity consumption to other processing and mechanical data.

Building management systems can monitor and control various elements throughout a building, such as:

  • HVAC systems
  • Lighting
  • Plumbing
  • Processing equipment
  • Security systems

While these systems are utilized in various commercial buildings, they’re especially important in food manufacturing facilities, which use a significant amount of energy and water in their processing.

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How to Achieve LEED Certification Without Sacrificing Process Performance

So you want your building to be LEED certified, but what level should you pursue? Does a more energy-efficient facility mean completely revamping your processing? What about food safety?

LEED certification is a good thing, but it should not dictate every decision in a new-build or plant renovation. Checking credits off your LEED checklist shouldn’t come at the expense of performance and food safety.

Let’s look at some factors to designing a sustainable facility that go beyond the traditional aspects like electricity and water use. But first things first: where to begin?

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How to Conserve Energy Across Every Aspect of Your Food Plant

 

Everyone wants to improve their energy management, and while there are countless best practices to improve energy efficiency in your processing, I look at it from an engineering perspective.

When designing a new facility or renovating an existing one, I consider the different ways the plant can prioritize energy management within each engineering group that brings the building to life. Let’s explore how you can design energy management into your next greenfield or renovation project.

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6 Ways to Optimize Your Refrigeration Efficiency and Lower Energy Costs

Did you know that up to 60 percent of a manufacturing facility’s total operating expenses comes from industrial refrigeration? It’s no surprise that refrigeration efficiency is a priority.

However, engineers often look to optimize individual components rather than taking a holistic approach, leading to wasted energy and operational inefficiencies. To avoid this fragmented approach, here are six steps to optimize the entire system and achieve the greatest energy efficiency:

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How Production Loads in Your Food Processing Plant Affect Refrigeration Efficiency and Stability

When cooling loads change gradually, your refrigeration equipment and controls undergo gradual changes and your system remains stable and efficient. However, if rapid load fluctuations occur as a result of production or sanitation activities, many systems experience pressure or temperature fluctuations, which can cause sanitation and quality issues as well as increased energy usage. There are several strategies food manufacturers can employ to deal with these challenges. Continue Reading “How Production Loads in Your Food Processing Plant Affect Refrigeration Efficiency and Stability”

A Conversation With Powerit Solutions® About Energy Management Technology

I recently sat down with Jack Perkins, Director of Channel Development for Powerit Solutions®, to discuss ways the food and beverage industry can benefit from energy management technology. Stellar often partners with energy experts such as Powerit Solutions to provide clients with a full range of tools to increase energy efficiency.

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What Can Refrigeration Remote Monitoring Do for You?

The ability to remotely monitor your refrigeration system can have a significant impact on your bottom line, reducing energy, maintenance and overall operating costs. If you’ve recently upgraded your refrigeration controls system or are in the process of upgrading, it’s important to ensure your new system offers remote access. This will allow for speedy diagnostics, offsite troubleshooting capabilities, and constant monitoring, all with a “big picture” view of the entire system.

There are three key benefits of remote monitoring:

1. Diagnostics

Remote access allows your team or an outsourced consultant to monitor the system 24/7 for alerts such as refrigerant leak detection, high liquid levels, high product temperatures, high system pressure, and more. Outsourced consultants who offer a higher level of specialized expertise than your in-house team can view your entire system in real time and offer advanced insight and support.

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Is it Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Refrigeration Controls?

While new refrigeration control systems are significant capital investments, their value far exceeds their cost. In large food processing or cold storage facilities, refrigeration typically accounts for more than half of the facility’s total electric energy use. And with unplanned downtime costing many facilities tens of thousands of dollars per day, an aging refrigeration control system can put your business at significant risk.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it may be time to upgrade or replace your existing system:

  • Is your current control system more than 10-15 years old?
  • Have you experienced unplanned facility downtime due to refrigeration failures?
  • Are the individual components of your refrigeration controls system operating as islands, meaning they work independently and don’t “talk” to each other?
  • Are you still operating on a serial network that’s linear, making it difficult to expand your capabilities?
  • Do you have unstable suction and head pressures? Are you unable to trim fans and pumps via VFD control?

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