Energy and Climate at Taylor Farms’ Abbott Street Plant

Meet Greener Fields Together National Farms Partner:

Taylor Farms California, Inc. processes fresh produce to make a variety of salads, vegetable and healthy snack products for consumers throughout North America. Operating in Salinas, California and Yuma, Arizona, Taylor Farms makes about one out of every three salads consumed in restaurants and foodservice outlets in the United States.Taylor Farms aligns itself with family farmers in California and Arizona who grow fruits and vegetables for its fresh products.

5P’s Verified Case Study:  Energy and Climate
As part of its “Green Projects” initiative, Taylor Fresh Foods is reducing energy use at its processing facilities throughout North America.  In early 2011, Taylor Farms California-an affiliate of Taylor Fresh Foods-made significant upgrades to its refrigeration and lighting systems at the Abbott Street processing plant in Salinas.  SureHarvest documented and verified the Abbott Street plant energy program using the 5P’s of Sustainability.™

Sustainability Highlights
Taylor Farms has a sophisticated, highly responsive protocol for evaluating success and challenges to its energy savings program.  With participation and buy in at every level within the company, Taylor Farms is well positioned to make sustainable, continual improvements for energy conservation at its Abbott Street plant.  In 2011, Taylor Farms realized annual energy savings of 1.74 million kWh, enough to power 151 US households per year.  These environmental returns on investment are expected to yield a 3½ year return on Taylor Farms’ financial investments in energy upgrades at the plant.

1. Sustainability Principles

Taylor Farms is dedicated to:

  • Adopting effective processing techniques that maximize value in production and use of natural resources.
  • Building a better sense of community among its members and developing goodwill with customers.
  • Making environmental management decisions that influence real and tangible factors that can affect us all.

2. Sustainability Processes
Dedicated to reducing the amount of energy used in its processing facilities, Taylor Farms took the initiative to make small, medium and large energy conservation improvements in its Abbott Street processing plant.  This facility was selected through company brainstorming sessions to identify which areas in the processing plant could benefit most from increased attention and capital spending to meet a variety of organizational goals such as cost reduction, corporate responsibility, and performance monitoring.

Energy Use and Loss Through Processing

3. Sustainability Practices
Fresh produce arrives at the plant from the farm fields and its cooled to 35-36F. The produce is maintained at this temperature throughout processing through refrigeration systems.  These systems consume between 55-65% of the total electrical energy use at the plant.  Improving refrigeration energy efficiency was a logical focal point.

An internal focus team for energy worked with VaCom Technologies, an industrial refrigeration company, target optimal points in the refrigeration system for improvement.  Upgrades to the refrigeration system included installation of state of the art refrigeration software and hardware technologies. Other key steps include installation of top of the line air compressors with modern insulation systems, automated doors to maintain low temperatures inside the plant, and improved lighting placement and fixtures.

Sustainability Equivalent

Energy saved in 2011 was enough to power 151 US households for an entire year. Each house equals five US households’ annual energy use.

 

4. Sustainability Performance
Taylor Farms utilizes a range of metrics to assess the energy use reductions achieved as a result of the equipment upgrades and practice improvements made at the Abbott Street plant. Total energy use is evaluated using Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) on-line tools that allow month-to-month and year-to-year comparisons of energy usage and resulting savings. Taylor also calculates energy use of each large refrigeration unit in real-time, which provides a baseline of system health and comparison data used to measure performance on a quarterly basis.  Additionally, energy use performance is tracked remotely by VaCom and reports are generated for Taylor Farm’s use on quarterly basis.

5. Sustainability Progress
Taylor Farms has a sophisticated, highly responsive protocol for evaluating success and challenges to their energy savings program that values full participation and buy-in at every level in the company, starting from the ground up. Through its process of continual improvement, Taylor Farms evaluates practice efficacy and future energy savings on a regular basis.

The energy focus group communicates regularly through email and group meetings. Weekly operation and maintenance meetings are conducted between the Engineering Department and refrigeration contractor. Taylor Farms carries out monthly internal energy use reviews and holds quarterly meetings to review usage and system performance with VaCom.

To keep its guiding principles current and evaluate company-wide performance, Taylor Farms holds an annual managers’ meeting. Prior to the annual meeting, each department holds smaller group meetings to generate ideas and evaluate high-level issues to optimize effectiveness at the managers meeting. Employee input is valued and suggestions help identify areas for improvement.

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