WASHINGTON — Bimbo Bakeries USA, Horsham, Pa., Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga., and other baking companies were among the 95 manufacturing plants awarded Energy Star certification in 2020 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Energy Star certification designates manufacturing facilities as the most energy efficient in their industries.

“These forward-looking businesses have demonstrated that economic development and job creation go hand-in-hand with environmental progress,” said Michael S. Regan, EPA administrator. “The transition to a clean energy economy is happening now, as partnerships like Energy Star encourage companies to go the extra mile, bringing innovation, cost-savings and pollution reductions in return.”

Overall, these Energy Star plants saved nearly $400 million on energy bills which is equivalent to the payroll of more than 8,000 US manufacturing jobs. They also avoided the consumption of 80 trillion Btus of energy compared to average plants and prevented more than 5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions which is equal to the energy use of nearly 600,000 homes.

Among the 95 manufacturing plants were several wholesale baking facilities, including Chicago-based Alpha Baking Co.’s facility in Manitowoc, Wis.

“This is an area that we will continue to focus on going forward,” said Lawrence Marcucci, chief executive officer at Alpha Baking Co. “Having said that, 2020 was a tough year. Since we are largely foodservice focused our volume was impacted by the pandemic in 2020. With the reduced volume it was a challenge to stay on track. Many energy uses in the plant are fairly static so maintaining our Energy Star position will be hard.”

The industrial sector emits nearly a third of US total greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts to increase the energy efficiency is crucial for reducing the industrial greenhouse gas emissions necessary.

The Energy Star certification has been around for 15 years. Throughout those years over $6 billion have been saved on energy bills and prevented more than 65 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions compared to average-performing facilities.

Bimbo Bakeries USA had 16 plants awarded, Flowers had 10, TreeHouse Foods Inc. had four, Weston Foods had two, and Mile Hi Companies and Holsum Bakery also achieved the certification.

“Bimbo Bakeries USA is committed to building a sustainable, highly productive and deeply humane company, especially during such trying times as these,” said Chris Wolfe, corporate director, environmental & sustainability at Bimbo Bakeries USA. “We were able to make our operations more efficient by running limited SKUs to ensure shelves were stocked and available to consumers, all while following strict COVID-19 safety protocols to keep our workers and community safe. We are so grateful for frontline associates who make it possible to feed America while staying safe. The Energy Star certifications are honors given to organizations who have consistently made contributions to protecting the environment for several years in a row. We understand that, as the largest commercial bakery in the US, it’s important for us to be a leader in sustainability and we are honored to have multiple facilities receive Energy Star certifications in 2020.”

Plants with a verified energy performance score of 75 (or higher) out of 100 are eligible for the Energy Star certification. This means their plant perform better than 75% of plants within their industry. Energy Star certification can be earned by 20 different manufacturing sectors.