Ben & Jerry’s of St. Albans is driven by corporate sustainability goals to continually reduce energy use, and is always looking for high-impact projects to achieve savings. The plant also needed to lower its exposure to peak demand charges, which were doubling its monthly electric bills.
Working with local contractors Engenuity Consulting, Mullally Brothers, and Schneider Electric (among others), the plant took advantage of a break in production, and in just 14 days managed to cut energy demand in two major areas:Refrigeration
Variable frequency drives (VFDs) were added to the plant’s high-stage ammonia compressors and evaporator fans, moderating the usage of each unit to provide only what was needed at the moment.Lighting
Lighting was upgraded to LEDs in the distribution freezer, production room, mix-making area, and spiral freezer.
Like many other manufacturing plants, the Ben & Jerry’s St. Albans plant operates 24/7 throughout most of the year. These long hours actually heighten the impact of an upgrade: The energy savings are magnified, which accelerates the return on investment. In this case, the project will pay for itself in just under two years. Ben & Jerry’s, a subsidiary of Unilever Corporation, plans to share these project results with other Unilever facilities across the country.