Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire recognized Stemilt Growers with a Governor’s Award for Leadership in Energy Performance. Stemilt received the award for greatly reducing its energy use during the past two years, which it accomplished with help from Chelan County Public Utility District.
Stemilt’s Tate Mathison, sales team leader, and Monty Leavitt, refrigeration manager, accepted the award for the company. The awards were part of the Washington Industrial Energy Leaders program and intended to honor exceptional energy efficiency efforts by Washington state industries.
Over the past two years, Stemilt reduced energy consumption at its largest fruit packing facility, Olds Station, by 30%. Energy use at the facility is dominated by industrial refrigeration and controlled atmosphere equipment that is used to keep the fruit fresh until it can be processed and shipped. Stemilt made efficiency improvements by reducing the speed of their industrial refrigeration fans and installing CO2 scrubbers to control the atmosphere in storage rooms at Olds Station.
Controls on refrigeration fans can slow the speed of the fans by as much as 50%, thereby improving efficiency. Fan speeds are adjusted regularly based on the demand for refrigeration in each storage room.
The improvements help Stemilt realize energy savings of 8,770,190 kWh per year, which equates to $167,000 in utility costs annually and is enough energy to power approximately 400 all-electric homes in Chelan County, say company officials.
These conservation projects were made possible with help from Chelan County PUD and its Resource$mart Program. “This kind of project helps everyone,” said Jim White, senior energy conservation engineer for the PUD, who oversees the program. “The customers save money, local jobs are created installing the equipment, and Chelan County PUD has more clean, renewable hydropower that it can sell to others. We hope Stemilt’s success will encourage other local businesses to take advantage of the services we offer to help find energy savings.”
“It’s a great honor for Stemilt to be recognized as an energy leader in Washington, a state with a great ‘green’ reputation. These energy savings projects and this award were made possible by our work with Chelan County PUD and the foresight of people like Jim White and Monty Leavitt to realize changes in our operations that would conserve energy for years to come,” said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director.