Efficiency Vermont names ‘Energy Leaders’ among Vermont’s largest energy consumers
After a two-year hiatus from convening in person, Efficiency Vermont hosted more than 150 equipment suppliers, contractors, and facility managers who support Vermont’s large commercial & industrial operations at its annual Best Practices Exchange (BPX), honoring seven organizations with its Energy Leadership Award.
Held at Killington Grand Resort Hotel Resort on September 14, the BPX conference convened large companies, other major energy-using operations, and representatives from several of Vermont’s distribution utilities to share the latest information about energy efficiency technologies and practices, encourage and celebrate energy efficiency investments, and provide a forum for making professional connections and building relationships.
Efficiency Vermont Managing Director Peter Walke welcomed conference attendees and highlighted the increasing risk of relying on fossil fuels for heating and other processes. Walke noted that energy efficiency is a proven tool for mitigating this risk by lowering energy use and facilitating switching from fossil fuels to cleaner electric-power technologies when cost-effective.
“Climate change is happening, and in a carbon-constrained world the cost pressures on fossil fuels are only going to increase. The more dependent your operation is on fossil fuels, the more exposed to this volatility you are,” said Walke. “How to reduce exposure to volatile energy prices is, in large part, what we are here to think about. Energy efficiency is a proven strategy for reducing energy use and cost and is key to making a cost-effective fuel switch from fossil to electrification.”
Walke told the audience that Efficiency Vermont energy experts are available to work with them to help deeply understand their energy use and apply those insights into optimizing their operations. Combined with incentives, large customers can invest in energy efficiency to lower energy use, “and free up electrons for other, newer uses such as heating and cooling,” said Walke.
The conference also featured a panel discussion, “How Utilities are Supporting Decarbonization Efforts,” with speakers from three Vermont utilities and their partners and customers:
- Andrea Cohen from Vermont Electric Coop
- Zach Casey of Green Mountain Power and Brian Bradley of F.W. Webb
- Tim Perrin of VGS and Nathan Hill of Collins Aerospace
Many Vermont companies have made substantial investments in energy efficiency in the past year, and Efficiency Vermont honored seven customers with Energy Leadership Awards to celebrate their efforts. This year’s Energy Leaders included:
- Perrigo Nutritionals, Georgia, VT – Energy Leader, Innovation: Perrigo engineered and installed a desiccant dryer far more efficient than anything on the market. Using excess steam in their facility, they were able to custom build an air dryer system that eliminated the need for an energy-intensive heating element. The dryer uses 90 percent less energy than a typical desiccant air dryer and is delivering approximately $57,000 a year in energy savings.
- Carris Reels, Rutland VT – Energy Leader, Industrial Sector: Carris Reels implemented energy efficiency initiatives across all four of their Rutland plant locations, completing six energy efficiency projects in the past year; a compressor upgrade, compressed air (CAS) leak audit, and new variable frequency drives (VFDs) at their main mill operation. These investments will save an estimated $65,000 a year.
Pompanoosuc Mills, Thetford, VT – Energy Leader, Impact: Pompanoosuc Mills’ manufacturing facility and furnishings showroom now feature 100 percent LED lighting. The switch has effectively reduced annual electricity consumption by 15 percent – an amount equivalent to the annual usage of 25 homes. Additional plans include replacing the waste wood-fired heating system with a newer, more efficient wood boiler as well as improvements to the compressed air and HVAC systems. Pompanoosuc will save an estimated $24,000 a year.
- National Life Group, Montpelier, VT – Energy Leader, Commercial Sector: Recent achievements include transition to a direct digital system for Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC), partnership with Automated Logic and Efficiency Vermont to evaluate the savings potential of a chilled water optimizer, and evaluation of right-size heat pump solutions. NLG replaced their summer boiler with a creative, efficient solution developed in collaboration with Green Mountain Power, added a dedicated engineer to their full-time Facilities staff, and are participating in the Flexible Load Management response pilot. They are also early adopters of LEDs and comprehensive lighting control systems. Their investment will save $60,000 a year.
- Bennington College, Bennington, VT – Energy Leader, Institutional Sector: Bennington College completed multiple projects including:
- LED retrofit with networked controls
- Upgrading to an integrated building management platform
- Kicking off a BrainBox automation pilot
- Implementing the Power BI data visualization platform
- Installing heat pump water heaters in 16 faculty houses
- Insulating and installing heat pumps in three buildings
- Beginning optimization of their biomass system
- Completing a steam trap survey
- Collaborating with students in LED conversions
- Joining the Flexible Load Management program
Total savings from these efforts will be approximately $85,000 a year
- Regional Development Corporations of Vermont – Partner of the Year: In the fall of 2021, the state’s 12 Regional Development Corporations (RDCs) helped identify key local businesses that could benefit from energy efficiency improvements and connected them with Efficiency Vermont energy consultants. All told, 159 Vermont businesses received support (approximately $2.5 million in incentives and technical support) through this initiative with 85 percent of the projects now completed. This partnership will save businesses a combined $285,000 per year.
- Joe LaFleur of Commonwealth Dairy, Brattleboro, VT – Energy Champion: Joe LaFleur has been in pursuit of cutting-edge technology since his career began in 2011. Since joining Commonwealth Dairy, Joe has been integral to the deployment of a building management system; chiller optimization system; over 25 VFDs; compressed air system leak audits and repairs; new compressed air storage receiver and filtration system; updated compressed air system real-time monitoring platform; installation of propane meters; and numerous permanent power logging circuits to track equipment energy use. These projects total over $27,000 per year in energy savings.
About Efficiency Vermont
As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last seven consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at www.efficiencyvermont.com.
Efficiency Vermont Press Contact
Phone: (802) 540-7662