In January 2010, IDFA entered into a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency to promote energy efficiency in the dairy processing industry and provide management tools to help processors measure and control energy use. The chief activities under the agreement are the ENERGY STAR Challenge, a national call-to-action for improving energy efficiency, and the development of an energy management guide and energy performance indicators for the industry.
Nearly 100 dairy facilities have taken up the challenge and enrolled in the program to date. Just last month, EPA published its dairy processing ENERGY STAR® Guide for Energy and Plant Managers and issued draft models for testing energy performance indicators (EPIs) in fluid milk and ice cream processing plants. The models, or EPI calculators, will provide companies with benchmark results and demonstrate how they stand in comparison to industry averages.
"The energy performance indicator calculators can provide valuable information, especially for energy and cost savings, but we need to be sure they're providing accurate results," said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. "I encourage everyone with a milk or ice cream plant to try the EPI calculators so we can determine how well they work and whether they require fine-tuning or have limitations that need to be addressed."
IDFA is particularly interested in learning how plants that manufacture cultured products or use UHT for pasteurization will perform using the calculators. IDFA also wants to discover whether the models appropriately address differences between packaged ice cream and novelties.
The draft models are Excel spreadsheets with a series of tabs along the bottom. The first tab provides instructions for use.
Based on industry data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, the models will produce an energy performance score from 1 to 100, with 100 representing the most efficient level of performance. Plants that score 75 or higher will be eligible to earn ENERGY STAR certification from EPA as recognition of superior performance.
"That designation can be quite helpful in communications with stakeholders and will give recognition to facilities that may have achieved a lot before the ENERGY STAR Challenge was created," Detlefsen said. "The Challenge program recognizes improvement whereas the certification recognizes overall excellence, and both are great achievements."
IDFA will hold a conference call on December 7 to discuss the models. To participate in the call or receive more information, contact Detlefsen at email@example.com.
Members with questions about the spreadsheets may contact Gale Boyd, Ph.D., director of the Triangle Census Research Data Center at Duke University, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 660-6892. Dr. Boyd designed the draft models for dairy.