Exploring Energy Today: Julien’s Takeaways from the FMA Progressive Energy, Environment & Sustainability Summit
Recently, Sustainability Program Manager Julien Gervreau, returned from an electrifying trip to Denver, Colorado. Julien attended the FMA Progressive Energy, Environment & Sustainability Summit in which owners, managers and operators of commercial, industrial, and retail facilities joined together to explore strategies and solutions in achieving energy efficiency. The FMA has been a leader in providing the platform for sharing best practices and fostering relationships across industries to find the right solutions for using energy more efficiently.
Many leading organizations were invited to present their actions towards achieving greater energy efficiency. Among these organizations were notable names such as: Hubbell Lighting, Estee Lauder Companies, the University of Colorado Boulder, MillerCoors Brewing Company, Bridgestone Tires, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It was an impressive group talking about breakthroughs and challenges faced by facilities in a number of different industries, but there were many common themes.
Air Compressors were topic of interest because they play a huge role in winemaking, from barrel lines to bladder presses, and are historically large energy users. In fact, nearly 50% of compressed air is wasted due to leaks, artificial demand and inappropriate uses, and most of these leaks are undetectable by ear*. This means that audits on compressed air systems need to be conducted to target these inefficiencies. Potential money savings can then be found through optimizing compressors for efficiency of energy use.
There was also a buzz around the topic of converting biomass and plastic waste into clean and affordable energy through waste-to-energy technology. For example, a New York-based company called AgriPower presented a moble combined heat and power system that convert biomass and plastic waste materials into fuels that can produce up to 3MW of electricity**. Heat and hot water are produced by these systems and can be used for various applications such as air conditioning, refrigeration, and washing. The wine industry produces a lot biomass in the form of lees and pomace. Moreover, we use a large amount of heat and hot water throughout the winemaking process. Combined heat and power systems can reuse materials that would normally be considered waste in order to produce relatively inexpensive electricity.
Overall, the summit presented challenges, innovative solutions and the opportunities to change the way we use and create energy. New forms and methods of creating cleaner energies are currently being explored and developed as the world’s energy demands continue to increase. As leaders in our own industry, we continue to strive to find efficiencies in our own systems in order to lower our impact while continuing to making better wine with a focus on quality. With the right tools and strategic planning at our disposal, we continue to strive to find the proper solutions for using energy more efficiently.
-Sabrina, sustainability intern
*Information was provided by Kaeser Compressor
**Information was provided by AgriPower, Inc.