Switching to LED bulbs in a bakery is an easy way to immediately save on electricity costs.
Turn up the heat

Bakeries tend to get toasty with all their heating needs: heating the building so it’s comfortable for operators; heating up water; heating the ovens and proofers. All this heat can provide bakers opportunities for energy savings. A common way to reduce these energy needs is to reuse waste heat from one process to another. “Finding ways to reuse waste heat for hot water, comfort heating and other processes can be a huge energy saver,” Ms. Marsh said. Other than the air compressors, the oven is a major source for this energy.

One of Flowers Foods’ bakeries installed a heat-recovery system capturing waste heat from the oxidizer exhaust and redirecting it to the shipping area and the hot water tank. “Not only does the heat recovery system save thousands of dollars on gas costs, but it also has helped during the cold winters,” she said.

Bakers can also employ a source of clean energy for their heating needs — the sun. Solar energy has found a place at two of Northeast Foods’ plants as a way to pre-heat water. “That’s less BTUs you’re putting in the water from either electricity or gas-fired boilers,” Mr. Colliton said. “We have a pretty decent hot-water load for various things whether it’s ingredient water or batching water, so anything we can do to put some energy into the heating of that water from the sun is a good thing.”

The company initially implemented solar pre-heating water in 2011 and converted another plant in 2013.

Bimbo Bakeries USA has taken it even further by installing a solar energy system on the rooftop and canopy structures at its bakery in Escondido, CA. The system was expected to provide 30% of the plant’s electricity while reducing the bakery’s carbon dioxide emissions by 981 tonnes per year. While solar systems and other clean forms of energy such as wind and hydroelectric aren’t implemented much by the baking industry, Mr. Rivera expects these forms of energy are the future.

“The use of renewable energy technology makes sense,” he said. “In the future, solar and wind are going to grow exponentially.”

With CLIF’s bakery, the company aimed to build it as environmentally friendly as possible. All of the electricity powering the facility comes from renewable sources.

It’s only the beginning for renewable energy and other sustainable technologies and strategies. But going green can save bakers some green, so these technologies and strategies are quickly gaining ground in the newest bakeries around the country. By seeking out sources of wasted energy, bakers can discover opportunities to streamline its usage and also improve their image with consumers.