THOMASVILLE, GA. — The US Department of Energy, through its Better Plants Program, has recognized Flowers Foods, Inc. with a 2021 Better Project Award for the successful conversion of the company’s baking plant in Lynchburg, Va., into an energy-efficient, organic bakery producing Dave’s Killer Bread. The annual award recognizes companies for outstanding accomplishments in implementing industrial energy, water, and waste projects at individual facilities.

Flowers Foods’ conversion at the Lynchburg plant included a new high-efficiency oven and heat recovery system that eliminates the need for gas-fired boilers, a new refrigeration system that saves water and energy and eliminates the need for a cooling tower, an energy-efficient air compressor requiring half the horsepower of the previous device, installation of LED lights throughout the facility that save energy and reduce the heat in the plant, a new pan cooler and enclosed dual cooling towers.

In total, the upgraded sustainability features at the plant are expected to reduce annual energy by 22% and water consumption by 64%, Flowers said. Flowers first announced plans to invest $25 million to upgrade the Lynchburg plant in January 2020. Flowers has operated the plant for more than 40 years.

“This project is proof that partnership is the key to successful implementation of new ideas,” said Robert Benton, executive vice president of network optimization at Flowers Foods. “What made this project so successful was collaboration across our dedicated engineering and operations team, the experienced bakery team, the commitment of our vendors to meet ambitious timelines along with new sustainability concepts, and the partnership with local and state agencies. A special thanks goes to all involved in making this conversion a success.”

Flowers Foods and other 2021 Better Project Award winners were formally recognized at the 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit — a virtual leadership symposium — on May 18.

As part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants partners voluntarily set long-term goals, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25% over a 10-year period across all US operations. DOE supports these efforts with technical expertise and national recognition.