Blue Seal doubles down on energy savings

3 min read
Richford, VT

Blue Seal is an animal feed producer whose commitment to high quality and innovation have kept them competitive for 150 years. Today, the company continues to thrive, shipping over 300 nutritional products across the country. At its Richford Mill, built in 1930, 61 employees work a three-shift schedule to keep up with demand for product. But all that production comes with a cost: eight stories worth of lights and equipment that are on all day and night, generating high energy bills.

Heavy energy use can yield huge savings

“Power and fuel are our two main expenses,” says Blue Seal Maintenance Manager Dan Turcotte. “And fuel prices are rising.”

Dan wanted to see how much he could save the mill on energy bills, but was wary of the upfront cost of purchasing new equipment and hiring contractors. He decided to try out a small lighting upgrade in the north warehouse where bagged feed was stored.

Test run: warehouse lighting

Efficiency Vermont coordinated with Green Mountain Electric Supply to install dimmable LED fixtures. The lights provide better visibility while using much less energy. They generate even more savings by being paired with occupancy controls that turn them on only when someone is in the area. The improvements got a great response from staff, while saving Blue Seal $19,000 each year on energy costs.

“We've been extremely pleased to work with Efficiency Vermont to reduce energy use within our mill.”

Dan Turcotte, Maintenance Manager, Blue Seal
Power and noise reduction in the boiler room

Bolstered by the success of the warehouse lighting project, Dan turned his attention to the mill's massive boiler. It was running full throttle at all times to heat the plant and dry or steam the animal feed. Efficiency Vermont recommended digital burner controls that would reprogram the boiler's motors to work only as hard as needed, when needed. The controls, installed and programmed by Adirondack Combustion Technologies, are now saving Blue Seal $53,800 each year. They’ve also reduced the noise level dramatically in the area, enhancing worker safety.

Burner controls and variable frequency drives have reduced enough power from the boiler to save $53,800 each year.
More projects on the horizon

This year Dan led a project to install facility-wide lighting at the Richford mill, and now he's taking a look at compressed air improvements. After 35 years of optimizing operations for Blue Seal, Dan is sold on the benefits of energy efficiency. Staff are pleased with the improved working conditions, and management is happy with the return on investment. Partnerships with regional contractors are helping to support a healthier local economy.

Dimmable LED fixtures have now been installed throughout the facility, for additional savings of $44,451 each year.

The upgrades are great for Vermont, too. Thanks to Blue Seal’s efforts, the state has saved enough electricity to power 55 homes for a year.

“Without Efficiency Vermont’s support, we would not have been able to make these improvements and realize these savings,” says Dan. “Their level of service and expertise in reducing energy waste throughout our facility was invaluable.”

Project partners

Adirondack Combustion Technologies
Green Mountain Electric Supply

Project equipment manufacturers

RAB Lighting
Fireye Combustion Controls