Last year, Shearer's Foods became the first recipient of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status in snack food manufacturing plant, helped in part by Worthington Energy Innovations (then Professional Supply, Inc.), Fremont, OH. Director of engineering and team leader for energy efficiency studies at Worthington, Ed Kiser is in charge of all of the company’s energy modeling and has experience with industrial ventilation, steam generation, compressed air systems, chilled water systems, process heat recovery systems, and hydronic heating systems. He offered advice to those wanting to follow Shearer's Foods' example.

Baking & Snack: Once the data is in from metering, how can a facility make sense of the numbers?

Ed Kiser: By coupling the utility data with the associated driver for energy to develop an energy performance metric, or btu per lb. The energy model establishes the baseline performance based on the variables, which will allow the user to troubleshoot the system when performance slips below the baseline.

Shearer's was the first snack food manufacturing plant in the world to achieve LEED Platinum certification. What challenges exist in snack food manufacturing that have prevented other plants from doing the same?

Manufacturing facilities use energy in many complex systems that are not easily modeled, and LEED now requires manufacturing facilities to demonstrate process energy savings. This is a difficult task without a detailed energy model that quantify design measures to improve the performance. At Shearer's, PSI developed detailed energy models on the systems we implemented, and these calculations were used in the LEED application.

Where are the opportunities to continue to improve the plant’s efficiency?

Systems are continually added and modified in a facility. The energy model calculations, monitor and verification programs and standard operating procedures must be dynamic and updated regularly to remain relevant tools. Monitor and verification programs are essential in holding actual efficiency performance accountable to design intent. Additionally, facility personnel must be encouraged to think outside of the box while searching for ways to reduce losses and increase energy recovery. 

How can a company ensure its efforts remain viable long after an efficiency management team has left the facility?

Building automation systems can monitor the energy input, critical system variables and production to continually track performance. The automation system should have energy alarms when the performance exceeds the efficiency standards established by the system baseline. Each energy alarm will initiate a standard operating procedure to identify and resolve the issue.