New Horizons Baking Co., Norwalk, OH, switched from paperboard cases to plastic baskets to distribute frozen English muffins as a part of its initiatives to become more sustainable and lower its costs with its core quick-service restaurant account. “We ship English muffins down to a distributor in southern Ohio and come back with a load of trays,” said John Widman, senior vice-president of operations.

Another green initiative involved installing skylights in its new English muffin facility to reduce electricity costs on sunny days. Additionally, sensors turn off the lights in its bun proofer and oven room when no one is working in there.

Perhaps the most significant sustainability project involved adding an Air Management Technologies heat recovery system, which captures heat from the oven to warm the proofer. The system also can be used to preheat cold outside air and warm the facility during winter months using minimal energy.

The actual heat exchanger sits inside the oven stack with a damper arrangement that can divert all, some or none of the oven exhaust through the heat exchange coils, depending on the bakery’s needs. In addition to saving energy, the heat recovery system helped New Horizons get $1 million in government financial assistance (see “Finding funding for future growth”).