policy issues

Optimizing the Use of Energy and Natural Resources

Reducing Energy Use

Approximately one-third of the United States’ total energy consumption is used by industry. Finding ways to conserve energy, which would reduce the animal food industry’s environmental impact and costs for both facilities and consumers, is one of the greatest challenges facing operators of animal food manufacturing facilities today, and is the impetus for one of the American Feed Industry Association’s four pillars of sustainability.

One of AFIA’s recent successes in this area is the development of the Energy Management Guidance Document for members. AFIA’s Production Compliance and Equipment Manufacturers Committees worked together for several years to develop this comprehensive guide, which helps operators of animal food manufacturing facilities better understand how to develop energy use benchmarks at their facilities and provides them with recommendations for how to improve their operations in respect to their overall energy use. The guide also covers everything from how to organize and develop an energy management program to conducting energy audits, calculating energy costs and pursuing new methods for conserving energy.

Apart from this project, given the increased focus on reducing the industry’s energy consumption, AFIA has also added a section in its annual Feed Facility of the Year program that covers energy use. In particular, the industry benchmarking program asks applicants whether their facilities have an energy management program in place and whether they’ve conducted an energy audit within the past year. Applicants are also asked to provide their specific energy use metrics to help benchmark industry energy use in BTUs/ton. This information is helpful for AFIA to understand how facilities are incorporating energy reduction practices into their operations, so that AFIA may share best practices with its members across the animal food manufacturing industry.