Flowers Foods uses heat recovery systems to redirect wasted heat from ovens and air compressors to other uses in its facilities.
Follow the lights

An obvious place where bakeries consume a lot of electricity is the lights. A quick fix to save on electricity, even at home, is to simply turn off the lights when they aren’t necessary. However, that’s not always possible in bakeries that often run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are several simple ways bakers can reduce the amount of electricity it takes to light their plants, no matter what their schedule.

Replacing CFL or sodium vapor lights with LED lights provides an easy fix. “There was a time five or 10 years ago when it was pretty expensive to do that, and there were some incentives through government programs, but now people are putting LEDs in their houses,” Mr. Marcucci said. For plants like Alpha that run all day and all night, LEDs trims electricity costs because they last longer than CFL bulbs.

An added bonus, LEDs emit very little heat, while CFL bulbs release about 80% of their energy as heat. A switch to LEDs can lead to more efficient use of air conditioning in the summer too. Alpha Baking noticed this difference in one of its bakeries that used sodium vapor lights, according to Mr. Marcucci. “You don’t have all those lights generating even more heat. LEDs run a lot cooler,” he said. “It also helps in the office areas because the AC isn’t working as hard because you’re not generating the heat from the light bulbs.”

In its bakery in Twin Falls, ID, CLIF Bar & Company, Emeryville, CA, used LED lights exclusively, inside and outside of the plant. The bakery doesn’t rely on just electricity for its lighting, however. The company designed the building to take full advantage of natural light whenever possible in the form of wall windows, skylights and solatubes. The bakery also takes advantage of light harvesting when there is enough natural light and motion sensors to prevent wasted electricity in low-traffic areas.

Northeast Foods Inc., Baltimore, has also taken advantage of light harvesting and the savings it can bring to a bakery. “Light harvesting is looking at the lumens in the facility, and when you’re getting enough light through your skylight, it automatically shuts the lights off or dims them way back,” explained Dennis Colliton, vice-­president of engineering, Northeast Foods.

In one of its bakeries, Flowers Foods combined LEDs with built-in occupancy sensors and individually adjustable light levels and saw energy savings of almost 70%, according to Ms. Marsh. With a well-rounded lighting strategy that takes into account natural light, plant traffic and smart purchases, bakers can take advantage of savings on that electric bill.

Next, we take a look at compressed air.