Energy represents for food and drink manufacturing businesses both a significant expenditure item and a large driver of environmental impacts. Food and drink processing in particular tends to be especially energy-intensive, with energy costs among the top cost items due mainly to the precise temperature-controlled processes specific to the industry (baking, boiling, freezing, sterilisation, etc.).
A holistic investigation of the energy flows throughout a facility can help achieve significant savings in energy resulting in both cost and GHG emission improvements. The initial steps in developing an effective energy management strategy involve assessing the drivers of an organisation's energy use, monitoring its energy usage, and identifying areas for improvement. The deployed actions target to reduce energy demand (through energy efficiency measures) and integrate renewable energy.
Some energy efficient measures are outlined below:
- putting in place a comprehensive energy management system (EnMS) such as ISO 50001, as part of an environmental management system such as EMAS,
- installing meters (or smart meters) at the individual process level, ensuring accurate energy monitoring,
- carrying out regular energy auditing and monitoring to identify the main drivers of energy use (at the process level),
- implementing appropriate energy efficiency solutions for all processes in a facility, in particular taking into account potential synergies in heat, cold and steam demand,
- investigating and, if possible, exploiting synergies for the production and use of electricity, heat, cold and steam with neighbouring facilities (i.e. industrial symbiosis).