Supply chain resources: At the Plant

At the Plant

Energy used in fluid milk processing in the United States is responsible for approximately 2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions within the total life cycle of fluid milk. These emissions come from:



Energy efficiency best practices can help fluid milk plants reduce energy use, emissions and operating costs. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® Energy Champions have significantly improved their bottom line with:


• Energy efficient lighting
• Boiler upgrades
• Refrigerant system upgrades
• Reverse osmosis filter systems
• Solar panels
• Variable speed drives
• Plant energy audits
• Steam system assessments
• Compressed air studies


Business and Energy in the 21st Century September 2005


Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opportunities for the Dairy Processing Industry



Join the  ENERGY STAR challenge to track and communicate your efforts. Your reductions can help the industry achieve its goal of $50 million in savings and a greenhouse gas reduction of more than 160,000 metric tons by 2020. 


1. Develop a roadmap for improvement
  • Set a goal for target performance.
  • Consider how your current performance compares to your target performance.
    • What steps are necessary to move your plant's  performance to those desired levels?
    • Who is needed to support the process?
    • What resources are needed?

  1. Use the ENERGY STAR resources available for dairy processing plants, then spread the word:
  • Communicate your efforts and improvements to key stakeholders.
  • Engage employees in the roadmap for improvement and help them identify parameters for success.

3.  Implement reduction efforts.
4.  Assess reduction efforts:  
  •  Periodically consider plant energy audits to identify more ways for continuous improvement.

The ENERGY STAR Building Upgrade Manual is a strategic guide to help you plan and implement profitable energy-saving building upgrades. You can maximize energy savings by sequentially following the five building upgrade stages.

Are you up for the challenge?

The ENERGY STAR Challenge is a national call to action to improve the energy efficiency of America's commercial and industrial buildings by 10 percent or more.


Energy Champions

These dairy plants have championed energy efficiency and achieved incredible cost and energy savings. Their tried-and-true results showcase what’s possible as the dairy industry continues to provide delicious products that are made responsibly.
Case Study: Utilizing Solar Cogeneration
By using solar cogeneration Clover Stornetta achieved a more than 50 percent savings in energy costs used for the wastewater heating process.
Case Study: New Lighting Systems
Leprino Foods saved approximately $218,000 in electricity costs annually by replacing metal halide fixtures throughout the plant with fluorescent lamps and sanitary-design fluorescent fixtures that provide the same or better light coverage.
Case Sudy: Updating Compressed Air Systems
Leprino Foods completed a compressed air study that revealed sources of energy waste. The resulting combination of upgrades, modifications and repairs saved Leprino Foods approximately $157,000 in electricity costs annually.
Case Study: Variable Frequency Drives
Leprino Foods was able to reduce its energy use from the motors by 50 percent by adding a variable frequency drive to each pump motor to create an annual energy savings of 57,000 kWh per year for each motor.
Case Study: Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems
In late 2009, Maryland & Virginia’s Laurel plant replaced two outdated milk evaporators with one reverse osmosis (RO) filter system that significantly reduces the plant’s steam and saves 528,000 therms and an estimated 82,290 kWh of electricity per year.
Case Study: Steam System Assessment
Leprino Foods realized approximately $27,390 in annual energy savings by conducting a steam survey and checking and repairing steam traps and insulation throughout its manufacturing facilities.
Case Study: High-Efficiency Lighting Systems
In 2009, the Marva Maid of Landover processing plant replaced old metal halide, high-pressure sodium and incandescent light fixtures with new energy efficient lighting systems and upgraded to light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs — saving 400,014 kWh per year.
Case Study: LED Lighting Systems
The Shamrock Farms dairy plant in Phoenix, Ariz., was able to save 80,500 kWh of electricity per year by switching from incandescent lamps to LED lighting in its vintage sign.
Case Study: Solar Thermal Systems
Oakhurst Dairy installed 72 solar panels on the roof of its headquarters in Portland, Maine, in the spring of 2008. By reducing the energy required to heat water for case washing, the system reduced the company’s heating oil consumption by more than 15,000 gallons to date.
Case Study: Refrigeration System Upgrades
In 2002, a high-volume ice cream and novelty frozen goods plant in Ohio completed an overall energy audit of its refrigeration systems, and identified opportunities to reduce energy use by more than 25 percent — an annual reduction of 3,368,000 kWh.
Case Study: Steam System Improvements
In 2000, a Wisconsin dairy completed a plant energy audit and made boiler improvements to reduce its natural gas use by 10,500 MMBtu per year, for a cost savings of $39,800 annually.
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*Please note that these case studies are the result of completed Innovation Center projects. While they can provide important information and tips for improving plant efficiency, the links and contact information contained within may no longer be supported.