Energy efficiency: Commonwealth Dairy saves on production costs
Brattleboro Reformer, June 5, 2015. Image credit: PublicDomainPictures
When German company, Ehrmann AG, partnered with Commonwealth Yogurt, LLC to expand to New England, they were impressed by Vermont’s approach to energy efficiency. That, coupled with a wealth of dairy farms and yogurt enthusiasts, was enough to convince them to break ground in Brattleboro in 2009. Today, the Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy team sells yogurt under the local brand name Green Mountain Creamery and they also make private label yogurt products for retailers throughout the region and beyond.
A major overhead expense is energy, including propane and electricity. Maintaining an energy efficient facility is imperative for any manufacturer and has become even more important in the increasingly competitive yogurt market. Laying the groundwork early for maximum energy savings, Commonwealth Dairy began consulting with Efficiency Vermont in pursuit of efficiency in planning the state-of-the-art facility which now features extensive control systems and the latest in processing equipment. Energy savings in the first year were estimated to be $150,000 which is expected to result in an estimated $2.1 million in lifetime savings.
Commonwealth uses compressed air to move product from one processing point to another and to pressurize tanks with clean, filtered air to keep product fresh. One notable improvement adjusted the compressed air system, which yielded an annual savings in itself of $22,300. An analysis recognized the existing compressed air system was oversized and the purchase of a smaller, compressed air system fit daily operation needs and reserved the existing larger system as the backup.