Do you want to start a bakery business? If YES, here is how much electricity a bakery uses and 10 ways you can optimise or save energy for your bakery. Electricity is one cost in the bakery business that is only partially variable. The cost of electricity to run the equipment on which you prepare food – such as ovens, mixers and fryers – is variable. As you bake more food, you use electricity proportionately more. The bakery industry is very competitive and the main drivers are inevitably product, price and quality.

So in times of low margins and growing environmental responsibility, the industry is heavily focused on reducing costs by making operations and procurement more efficient. That means electricity, and so carbon efficiency, is of increasing interest to the industry.

However, to improve energy efficiency and reduce the operational costs of a baking facility, several operations should be assessed. Firstly, baking plants use a number of cross – cutting equipment such as motors, air – compressors and boilers which consume a significant amount of energy and thus, need to be efficiently operated and properly maintained.

Additionally, another area that needs attention is the efficient manufacturing of baking products. The optimization of production processes and practices in baking along with the use of efficient equipment can result in significant cost savings.

Indeed, there are many simple options for saving energy in an industrial bakery. Businesses that apply a few basic principles to energy management can achieve substantial savings. These principles can be applied by any bakery, regardless of size, that is committed to reducing energy use.

The Amount of Electricity Used by Bakeries in the United States

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average number of kilowatt hours per square foot for a commercial building is approximately 22.5. A food service facility like restaurants and bakeries consume approximately 56 kWh/square foot. These commercial buildings spend $1.44 per square foot per year on electricity and $0.30 per square foot per year on natural gas. According to reports, refrigeration and oven are the largest single use of electricity in the commercial sector, accounting for 13.9 percent of spending.

However, the exact cost of electricity is based on a number of variables, including the time of day you are using it, the season of the year (summer rates can be higher than winter rates due to higher energy demand), and where you live. Coupled with the factors listed above, you are billed based on your energy consumption and demand.

For instance, food service facilities like bakeries and restaurants must power refrigeration and cooling units constantly. Your energy demand will also have a big say in what you pay: Your maximum hourly power requirement over a billing cycle forms the basis of a utility’s demand charge, and comprises a significant portion of your bill.

10 Tips on Saving Energy for Your Bakery Business

Note that the most important energy sources in a bakery are natural gas and electricity. Natural gas is primarily consumed in the ovens, which consumes around 70 – 80 percent of the total gas. Other consumers of natural gas are: Steam production, area heating, crate washers, etc.

The primary consumers of electricity are: Cooling of the process, air – conditioning, dough preparation, lighting, compressed air. Nonetheless, below are some easy measures for saving energy in the bakery business. Note that these options are randomly outlined and can be leveraged as practical guideline which can be directly implemented in your own bakery.

  1. Compressed Air

Almost every bakery has a compressed air installation. Note that reducing the pressure with 1 bar saves around 7 percent of the total electricity consumption of the compressed air installation. Leakage losses consume mostly up to 30 percent of the total compressed air consumption. A puncture of 1 mm spoils yearly around 3.000 kWh.

  1. Steam

Steam installation is used in most bakeries in the united states. Although the installations are relative small (mostly smaller than 1.000 kg/hr.) there are feasible options for energy saving. But first you have to analyze if you really need a steam.

Most of the time steam is only used for transportation of energy, which is relative inefficient. There are, for example, more efficient options than using steam for area or water heating. However, just ensure that the insulation of piping and fittings is up to date. A fitting of DN 50(2”) loses 4.000 kWh extra when it is not insulated. The return on investment is less than a year.

  1. Configuration of Excess Air for Burner

Have it in mind that each burner requires a certain amount of air for good natural gas combustion. Note that excess air gives a lower efficiency of the steam boiler. Your boiler installer can help you with the right set up.

  1. Energy Monitoring

For you to understand your business energy consumption, it is pertinent to collect meter readings. By comparing energy consumption to production numbers, it is easy to see deviation in the key performance numbers. With the key performance numbers, targets can be made to achieve energy saving.

  1. Oven Flexibility

When choosing an oven to install or looking to upgrade an existing oven, take time to choose a system that is flexible in what products it can produce. Increasing the amount of one product made or diversifying the product line to include various baked goods can increase the overall energy intensity of a bakery.

Note that producing more than one product bakeries can increase production and minimize downtime. Even when an oven is purchased to produce only one type of product the oven should be designed to produce any foreseeable variations of that particular product.

  1. Slicing and Packaging

Growing plant throughput and reducing stoppages can indirectly reduce energy consumption. Slicing and packaging operations tend to be a bottleneck in production. Note that these operations need to run smoothly and consistently to reduce the potential for plant shutdown and to increase production rates. Even modifying existing slicing and bagging systems with low air nozzles can save energy and has a short two to four month payback period.

  1. Steady Maintenance

Maintenance is also crucial to ancillary services such as compressed air and motors: ensure maintenance is carried out regularly and follow the manufacturer’s documentation for the recommended maintenance schedule. For compressed air, maintenance routines should include lubrication, oil changes, and filter replacement.

A well – maintained compressor can be 10 percent more efficient than one that is poorly maintained. For motors, regular maintenance can reduce energy consumption by as much as 7 percent. Maintenance programs should consist of lubrication schedules, cleaning, and belt tensioning and alignment checks. It is also worth considering using predictive maintenance techniques and software that can indicate in advance when parts will need replacing.

  1. Lighting

This is an issue everywhere and in every business in the United States. Switch off lighting wherever possible. Alert your employers and consider the installation of day light and motion sensors.

  1. Refrigeration

Mechanical refrigeration is applied for product cooling. Check the suction and discharge pressure of your refrigeration installation. To get an efficient installation, the pressure difference must be as small as possible. Lowering of the discharge pressure of 1°C gives an efficiency improvement of 2 percent.

10. Reduce Base Load

Learn to switch off equipment, lighting, compressed air, boilers, etc. when there is no production. Many companies can save energy with this simple measure.

Conclusion

The process of baking without doubt consumes a lot of energy, but it also presents a number of opportunities to streamline energy usage, including the use of improved components, adoption of efficient processes, and setting up of state-of-the-art baking facilities.

Solomon. O'Chucks