How Food and Drink Manufacturers Can Combat Rising Energy Costs

Posted by Ian Hopkins on 20-Jan-2015 10:00:00

Rising energy costs, retailer price wars and regulatory changes can all be tackled through better energy management.


Energy managers in food and drink manufacturing are not only facing pressure from the board to save money in the face of rising energy costs - they’re also feeling pressure from regulators to reduce carbon emissions and to improve energy efficiency, with added pressure from customers to slash prices as supermarkets engage in a fierce price war.

Do your job well, though, and you can help the company save hundreds, thousands and, in some cases, millions of pounds. The business’ environmental credentials will be enhanced and you’ll be fully prepared for rising energy costs and upcoming regulations. Struggle and the costs will keep rising and regulatory drums will keep beating.

Energy managers need to do more with less, so how do you convince the board to give their support?


1. Know where you stand

If you’re trying to improve efficiency anywhere in your business, the first step is to know where you stand. What are you current energy costs? How much do you use? Are you on the right contract?

From there you can look at some of the low or no-cost initiatives that could save energy. This might include the re-assessment of heating priorities or low-energy lighting systems, perhaps even changes to shift patterns.


2. Regulatory pressure

Food and drink businesses are major energy users. Boilers for heating and cooling, and electricity for production lines suck up vast amounts of energy (and money) and result in considerable greenhouse gas emissions.

This means many are struggling with predicted energy price rises, as well as tightening green regulations such as the Climate Change Levy.

And there’s a new regulation in town. The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for businesses with 250 or more employees, or an annual turnover in excess of €50 million.


3. Pace of change

So, rising energy costs and new regulations will squeeze you to do even more with even less energy.

This means you’ll need to look beyond the low-hanging fruit. This is where the pace of change can accelerate, but so too can the up-front costs. It’s where many of you will be confronted by the energy efficiency paradox.

This paradox relates to business investments in energy efficiency requiring higher rates of return than other investments with comparable risks. It happens for a number of reasons, not least the perception of risk and uncertainty regarding the real returns you’ll get.


4. Proven tech

Some technologies are proven and recommended by government. Combined Heat and Power can help cut energy use by 30% and carbon emissions by around 20% compared to conventional forms of generation.

According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, CHP is for many organisations, “the measure that offers the most significant single opportunity to reduce energy costs and to improve environmental performance”.


Your steps to cutting costs

  1. Audit your current energy use to understand how much you’re using and where.
  2. Review your energy contracts - you might be able to save by switching contract or supplier.
  3. Consider the effect of low cost initiatives such as more efficient lighting or changing shift patterns.
  4. Think about investing in technology, such as building management systems, to have better control over your energy spend.
  5. by generating power more efficiently and benefit from government initiatives and exemptions.

Discover more about combating energy costs. Get your free eGuide now: How to cut energy costs in your Food and Drink manufacturing plant.

How to Cut Energy Costs in Your Food and Drink Manufacturing Plant

Topics: Energy Buying, Food and Drink Manufacturing

Ian Hopkins

Ian Hopkins is a technical sales professional and business leader with more than 15 years’ experience in delivering energy efficiency projects and strategy in Europe and the United States. Ian currently heads up the Sales and Marketing function as one of the board directors at ENER-G Combined Power Ltd.