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Valio cited for its energy efficiency achievements

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Valio has been recognized for enhancing the efficiency of its energy consumption from 2008–2016. The Energy Efficiency Agreements 20th anniversary seminar held at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on 15 June 2017 noted that Valio saved one-and-a-half times more energy than the goals set.

The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of the Environment, the Energy Authority, and energy and materials specialist Motiva, recognized a total of 18 companies and municipalities for effective and exemplary work on energy efficiency from 2008–2016. The seminar noted Valio’s achievement as follows:

Valio has acted in an exemplary manner, effectively and in the long run within the food industry program of the Energy Efficiency Agreement for Industries from 2008–2016. The company has reached and exceeded its goal within the agreement saving one-and-a-half times more energy than envisaged by the end of 2016. Valio reported on more than 130 energy efficiency measures it has implemented to generate those savings. The biggest energy savings were achieved through investments in thermal pump technology. Valio is participating in the new agreement period and is committed to enhancing its energy consumption in the coming years.

The new Energy Efficiency Agreement for the food industry that launched this year targets 4% in energy savings by 2020 and 7.5% by 2025. The energy saving outcomes of the measures to be taken compared to a scenario where the measures hadn’t been implemented will be considered savings. This does not mean the total of a participating company’s energy consumption will necessarily decrease. The total energy Valio consumes depends for example on the volume of products it manufactures.

“Valio considers energy saving and increasing the use of renewable energy important elements of sustainable business operations, both for the sake of the environment and for economic benefit. The credit for exceeding the goals belongs to the personnel of our 12 production plants. Each plant has a member of staff responsible for energy efficiency issues who’s familiar with the production unit and has the ability to identify energy saving solutions. At Group level we focus on conveying valuable ideas, and supporting and encouraging the production plants in advancing their energy saving performance. Throwing money at the problem doesn’t necessarily help, although we have developed improvements in operating technology that save energy,” says Peter Fabritius, Energy Manager at Valio.

Valio consumes thermal energy in e.g. powder product drying, heat treatment for specific products, cleaning, and heating buildings. Electricity is mainly required to run process equipment and in product refrigeration.

“The greatest savings originate from the thermal pump projects that make up some of our largest investments in energy efficiency factors. The advantage of thermal pumps is that they deliver both heating and cooling. The biggest single energy efficiency project run during the agreement period was implemented at Valio’s Seinäjoki plant where two large thermal pumps were installed in 2012. Other major projects include a variety of heat recovery initiatives. For example, dairy products are heated to a high temperature in pasteurisation, and the recovery and re-use of the waste heat generated in the process is significant,” Mr Fabritius says.

Food industry companies participate in the adoption of energy saving measures alongside other industry sectors through voluntary agreements. These are an efficient way to satisfy the EU’s strict requirements on the more efficient use of energy and respond to the need to decelerate climate change.

The energy saving measures implemented by Finnish companies and municipalities from 2008–2016 enhanced energy consumption by nearly 16 terawatt hours by the end of 2016. This is more than the total thermal energy consumption of all residential apartment blocks in Finland. The savings have been generated by hundreds of companies and municipalities implementing in total more than 20 000 different measures, investing well over one billion euros in energy efficiency.