An AUS$1.1m overhaul of its energy inefficient and ozone depleting refrigeration units will enable South Australian confectioner Robern Menz to cut its C02 emissions in the initial phase by 248 tonnes annually.
Nearly half of the funding for the sustainability project, which is set to be completed next February, is being generated by a grant from the Australian government through its Retooling for Climate Change programme.
The 103 year old manufacturer’s application for financing had to indicate the environmental benefits of any upgrade to its facility in Adelaide to be awarded the funds.
Philip Sims, CEO of Robern Menz, told ConfectioneryNews.com that “as part of the financing assessment process, government auditors assisted us in calculating the exact carbon and electricity savings we could realise from switching to a refrigeration system.
“Through removing 25-year-old energy intensive units and replacing them with a Glycol piping system that runs throughout the facility, we estimate that by 2013/2014, we will see a reduction in our carbon emissions in the region of 338 tonnes annually."
Work on the project is expected to commence soon and will include the installation of new internal walls, pipe-work installation, new compressors and pumps and the removal of older units.
The new equipment, he continued, will also help reduce power consumption by 11 per cent, which will provide a major cost saving for the confectionery producer.
“Electricity charges have been steadily increasing over the past few years in Australia, so the fact that the overhaul will also enable respite from these utility hikes is an added bonus,” said Sims.
A further consequence of this project, said the CEO, will be the benefit of increased productivity for the business through greater temperature consistency throughout the factory.
Sims said the confectioner is continually looking at making the business more sustainable for both environmental reasons and, also, as part of a leaner manufacturing model.
Through the use of a third party, the Adelaide facility has been diverting food waste from landfill to make compost and in this way is helping to reduce methane gas emissions, he added.
Sims said that other eco initiatives such as reusing/recycling water or recapturing steam from processes such as curing/stoving are under consideration, but viability questions remain.