Keith Epperson, vice president of manufacturing and training
AFIA Sustainability Initiative Update
Monday, September 8, 2014
by: Keith Epperson, vice president of manufacturing and training

Section: Fall 2014

The Production Compliance, Equipment Manufacturer and Integrator committees that started working to update the Energy Management Program completed their work earlier this year. The guide has six chapters that include government and state regulations, organizing and developing an energy management program, feed industry audits, calculating energy cost and methods for conserving energy.
Regardless if you are a professional athlete or operating a feed or ingredient facility the only way to improve your process or performance is to measure each aspect of your operation and develop a plan to make improvements based on those results. The Energy Management Program is designed to help facilities understand how to develop benchmarks in their facility and offers suggestions on ways to improve based on their findings.
One area that is sometimes confusing and can vary from one region of our country to another is the process of calculating energy bills and the use of electricity, natural gas or other energy sources utilized in a facility. The Energy Management Program offers details to help operators understand how electric bills are calculated and provides suggestions on how to reduce the usage in the facility. It also breaks down the various sections of the facility and offers ideas on specific pieces of equipment with regard to operating cost.
There is also an energy audit that looks at natural gas consumption, operating temperatures of the boiler, address peak demand usage, air pressure usage and electrical consumption. The Energy Management Program also offers suggestions to improve each of the areas if you find you are above the benchmark you set with your energy audit.  
One key area that was identified by the AFIA committees was the use of compressed air in the facility. As it was discussed many times it is easier to add additional air compressing capacity to the facility then to address the underlying need for additional compressed air. If no new equipment or process has been added then why should you now need additional capacity? The answer in many cases lies in the fact that there are leaks in the facility that need repairing. The committee developed a Compressed Air System Evaluation process that will help determine what an acceptable level of air pressure drop is over a given period of time.
The use of steam in a feedmill is a must if you are pelleting feed or flaking grains. If the boiler is not properly maintained, it can consume an excessive amount of energy. There is one chapter on how to evaluate the boiler, operating ranges of pressure for maximum efficiency, stack temperature ranges for safe operation of the boiler and suggested actions that could be followed to improve the boiler operation.
In all, the Energy Management Program is a great tool to help a manager start to understand how to develop a benchmarking levels for the facility and ways to make improvements where need. 
For more information on the guidance document, please contact Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training, at (703) 558-3568 or
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