Save energy in your food and beverage manufacturing business

Energy and gas costs continue to rise, leaving businesses like food and beverage manufacturers feeling financially strained.

The good news is that manufacturing businesses can significantly reduce their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.

Reducing energy use in your business can:

  • save you money
  • give you a competitive edge
  • create more business
  • fight climate change.

The figures on this page come from our Boosting Business Productivity program. We worked with more than 300 businesses to explore their energy use and minimise their energy cost.

Understand where you’re currently using energy

First, understand where your business is using the most energy, so you can find ways to reduce and save.

Based on the business’ we’ve worked with in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, the most common areas that use the most energy are:

  • steam
  • boilers
  • heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • refrigeration system
  • compressed air.

Learn how to measure your current energy use >

Ways to reduce energy costs

1. Install a gas or electricity meter on high-energy equipment

Buy and set up a gas or electricity meter on equipment that uses the most energy to monitor use.

The meter can show you how much energy the equipment uses and when. This data can be analysed to see if it’s working efficiently. You may find you can downsize equipment or discover when it needs maintenance.

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses installing meters on high-energy equipment found they:

  • spent less than $25,000 to implement
  • saved more than $20,000 annually
  • took less than 2 years to pay back
  • saved almost 200 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

2. Implement heat recovery

Heat recovery is a process where you redirect and use heat that would otherwise be vented outside.

You can use the recovered heat to preheat water for boilers or heat the workplace.

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses investing in heat recovery found they:

  • spent $100,000 to implement
  • saved $75,000 annually
  • took less than 1.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 700 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

3. Add timers and operational controls to high-energy equipment

Some of your equipment may be running when it doesn’t need to be.

Add timers and operational controls to equipment that can be switched off overnight or when it’s not being used. This can take the effort out of training staff to manually switch equipment off.

Use timers to switch off equipment like:

  • compressed air systems
  • pumps and fans
  • motors.

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses adding timers and operational controls to high-energy equipment found they:

  • spent $30,000 to implement
  • saved $20,000 annually
  • took 1.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

4. Insulate piping

Insulating steam or chilled water piping will reduce heat losses and improve productivity.

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses insulating piping found they:

  • spent $17,000 to implement
  • saved $10,000 annually
  • took less than 2 years to pay back
  • saved almost 50 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

5. Install variable speed drives

A variable speed drive controls the speed and frequency of a motor to match demand. If your process demand varies, you’ll reduce energy use and cost by installing a variable speed drive to:

  • refrigeration compressors
  • fans
  • pumps
  • air compressors.

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses installing variable speed drives found they:

  • spent $9000 to implement
  • saved more than $3000 annually
  • took less than 3 years to pay back
  • saved 20 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

6. Maintain compressed air systems

Apart from making sure you’re using the appropriate air pressure, you can also prevent wasting energy by regularly maintaining your compressed air systems, looking for:

  • air leaks
  • loose fittings
  • dirty air filters.

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses maintaining compressed air systems found they:

  • spent less than $8000 to implement
  • saved more than $14,000 annually
  • took less than 1 year to pay back
  • saved almost 150 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Learn how to maintain compressed air systems >

7. Invest in renewable energy

You can switch to renewable energy by:

  • investing in solar PV (photovoltaics)
  • asking your energy provider about renewable options.

To get the most competitive offer for renewable energy, compare electricity and gas providers.

Download the Clean Energy Council guide to installing solar (PDF, 1.6MB).

For help investing in solar, you can get finance. ‘Behind the meter’ is a type of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) where an energy provider installs renewable energy equipment on your site. You pay a pre-determined rate of electricity over time.

Find out more about Power Purchase Agreements >

Benefits

On average, food and beverage manufacturing businesses maintaining compressed air systems found they:

  • spent $500,000 to implement
  • saved more than $70,000 annually
  • took less than 1.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Get a discount for an energy-efficiency upgrade

If you’re looking to upgrade your plant equipment, you may be eligible for a government supported discount.

The Victorian Energy Upgrade program offers businesses access to discounted energy-efficiency products and services.

To get started, view the products and services eligible for a discount and get in contact with an accredited provider.

What else can you do?

Reduce waste in your business

How much waste does your business produce every year? Improve your processes and operations to reduce waste and lower your impact on climate change.

Learn more >

Get energy-specific finance

There are a range of finance options that help businesses invest in energy efficient equipment. They range from a simple bank loan to an agreement between you and your service provider.

Learn about energy finance >

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  • grants and funding
  • energy saving tips
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  • professional opportunities.

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