Energy and water use is being cut by meat processors as new technology and ways of thinking about sustainable energy management and water conservation are being incorporated into designs and plans for the future.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Business unit is working with ANZCO Foods and Silver Fern Farms (SFF) on separate programmes to achieve significant energy savings resulting, ultimately, in reduced costs for the companies within a couple of years.
Through the recently announced programmes, the two processors are seeking to reduce energy use in their plants by a total of 38 million gigawatt hours (GWh), returning total ongoing annual savings of $3.15 million after two years.
ANZCO Foods is seeking to target a reduction in its processing plant energy use of 25 GWh, returning ongoing annual savings of $2.45 million after two years. Its managing director, Mark Clarkson, says the programme, which will gain EECA business funding of $450,000, will deliver on many levels for his company.
“Sustainability is key to the ANZCO brand and we are always looking for new ways to build on our reputation for environmentally responsible production, so reducing energy costs is a priority,” he says, adding that a group-wide energy management plan is looking to put into place up to $5 million of identified energy management opportunities.
Silver Fern Farms aims to save more than 13 million GWh and deliver costs savings of $700,000, within two years. SFF is investing about $1.4 million, adding to $240,000 of funding from EECA Business, to incorporate energy efficiency into its business strategy and invest in more efficiency projects in its processing plants. Energy and utility consultants Enercon have been engaged to assist in the development of the plans and associated energy management projects.
Improved energy management is a key priority for the meat processor, says Silver Fern Farms’ chief executive Keith Cooper. “It is important that we make our production infrastructure as energy efficient as possible to enable the best use of the resource,” he says. “We aim for the highest levels of care of our resources through the whole process so we can deliver our customers with inspirational food.”
Under the initiative, SFF is to develop energy management plans for five of the company’s larger sites: Finegand, Takapau, Pareora, Pacific and Fairton. The plans include putting in place systems to identify, evaluate and implement energy efficiency opportunities.
“The energy savings resulting from this plan will assist us to provide on-going financial benefit to the business,” says Cooper.
SFF had something of a blueprint with the design and build of its brand new $67 million beef processing plant at Te Aroha in the Thames Valley, where sustainability was also “top of mind”. In addition to energy-efficiency initiatives, smart water conservation technology has been incorporated there to ensure a halving of all water used at the plant, the harvesting of stormwater from the roof of the building for use in livestock and yard washing. It also has fingertip central control of water usage to cover every process room and at every tap.
By investing in energy efficiency, a company can further demonstrate its commitment to sustainable production to its customers, says Rod Treder, EECA Business industrial programme manager. “It can deliver a number of other benefits for business: from lower maintenance bills to better health and safety outcomes, more engaged staff and enhanced green credentials, energy management best practice delivers for business in so many ways.”
Wellington-based meat processor Taylor Preston has also recently invested in significant improvements to its wastewater treatment plant.
This article has appeared in Food NZ magazine (April/May 2013) and is reproduced here with permission.