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Weston Foods becomes first bakery manufacturer to be ENERGY STAR for Industry certified

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Weston Foods becomes first bakery manufacturer to be ENERGY STAR for Industry certified

"Weston Foods bakes energy use into its products, just like any other ingredient," says Darren Borden, the company's Energy Management Engineer. He states that the company looks at utility use as a directly manageable input to the manufacturing process. It is this philosophy that has led Weston Foods to be one of only two Canadian companies to become ENERGY STAR for Industry certified and the first bakery manufacturer to do so.

Twelve Canadian bakeries and four of Weston's US bakeries are ENERGY STAR certified. Borden notes that the bakeries in Canada have had a long history of continuous improvement in their energy performance. For example, both the company's Sudbury and Winnipeg facilities have been working with local utilities to identify opportunities and implement energy saving solutions for more than a decade. Borden also attributes the achievements of these and the other certified bakeries to the learning and sharing of best practices within the CIPEC community.

Weston Foods' ENERGY STAR certified facilities have routinely exceeded the two percent annual reduction in annual water and energy use set as the company's goal. To achieve and go beyond this goal, Borden explains that Weston Foods uses a three-pronged approach that focuses on the lowest cost procurement of energy and water, on the best management of these resources and process/equipment improvements.

By understanding utility procurement, "we can later prioritize the value of various mitigation strategies for utility use including behaviour tools or capital investments." Weston Foods has procured bulk natural gas to reduce costs, has switched fuel between stove oil and propane when needed, and has employed water use differential reporting to determine how water is used.

Weston Foods bakeries follow the best operational practices that lead to water and energy conservation. For example, most compressed air efficiency improvements rely on simple leak elimination, which is an operational preventative measure. Operational practices have been positively impacted by internal training, coaching and mentoring, auditing facilities for improvements and working with bakery team leadership to promote how utilities are seen.

Process and/or equipment improvement at Weston Foods are ongoing and those with good business cases are implemented. For example, VFD upgrades on the air compressor system in Weston Foods Sudbury facility have led to reductions in energy consumption of fifty percent. Lighting retrofits and steam system improvements have also been implemented at most facilities. Weston Foods Winnipeg fresh bread and rolls bakery; was literally built using energy efficiency as a guiding principle for the entire site. In fact, it was at the Winnipeg bakery that Minister Carr announced the ENERGY STAR for Industry program launch.

To increase the number of Weston Foods ENERGY STAR certified bakeries, Borden would like to see NRCan adopt the cookies/crackers Energy Performance Indicator (EPI) in addition to the EPI that can already be applied in Canada bakeries.

Borden notes that ENERGY STAR for Industry certification is a brand that Weston Foods wishes to align with to promote its environmental commitments as a premier bakery in North America. "We see this recognition as an industry differentiation between ourselves and other bakeries." Borden notes that companies like Walmart are looking for upstream improvements in their supply chain and "Weston Foods would like to fill that role; Energy Star helps us do that."

"We're extremely proud to have this designation and set the pace for energy efficient industrial facilities in North America," says Borden. "Our focus goes beyond energy efficiency; we also lead the pack in sourcing sustainable ingredients and conserving water use. Clearly our overall sustainability strategy is on the right track."

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