Stemilt earns kudos for energy savings
Doug Ohlemeier, 12/11/2012
Stemilt Growers LLC has been recognized for its energy conservation efforts.
The Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt received a governor’s award for leadership in energy performance from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire during a Dec. 5 state capitol awards ceremony in Olympia.
Stemilt was recognized for greatly reducing its energy use during the past two years and the award is part of the state’s industrial energy leaders program to honor exceptional energy efficiency efforts by Washington state industries, according to a news release.
Since 2011, Stemilt has reduced energy consumption at its largest fruit packing facility by 30%.
Industrial refrigeration and controlled atmosphere equipment dominate energy use and Stemilt made efficiency improvements by reducing the speed of its industrial refrigeration fans and installing CO2 scrubbers to control the atmosphere in storage rooms, according to the release.
Refrigeration fan controls slow the speed of the fans by up to 50% and can improve efficiencies by adjusting for refrigeration demand in each room, according to the release.
The tree fruit grower-shipper also installed CO2 scrubbers to help control the amount of CO2 inside fruit storage rooms and lower carbon dioxide levels in the rooms which significantly reduces Stemilt’s reliance on nitrogen, the traditional way CO2 was purged from the rooms, according to the release.
Through help from the Chelan County Public Utility District, the improvements saved Stemilt 8.7 million kilowatt hours per year, which equates to $167,000 in yearly utility costs and is enough energy to power approximately 400 of the county’s homes, according to the release.