From Green Right Now Reports
Frito-Lay North America says it has completed its most ambitious environmental sustainability project to-date, announcing that its Casa Grande, Ariz., facility has reached “near net zero.” The company said its goal was to transform an existing facility so that it would be as far “off the grid” as possible and run primarily on renewable energy sources and recycled water, while producing nearly zero landfill waste.
Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption and 13 percent of water consumption, making environmental sustainability initiatives for new and existing buildings a significant opportunity. Improved building efficiency could meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy.
Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay said it invested in and implemented a combination of technologies to enable the Casa Grande plant to significantly reduce the use of key natural resources and reduce the site’s overall environmental footprint. Using innovative technologies, the Casa Grande facility is generating 2/3 of all energy used from renewable sources and is working toward significant reductions:
- 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gases
- 75 percent of water is recycled
- 80 percent reduction of natural gas usage
The facility’s improvements included:
Water reduction: The Casa Grande facility installed a water recovery and reuse system that combines Membrane Bio Reactor and Low-Pressure Reverse Osmosis technologies to recycle from 50 percent to 75 percent of water. The recycled process water meets Environmental Protection Agency primary and secondary drinking water standards.
Electricity reduction: Five separate and distinct solar photovoltaic systems, installed throughout the property, produce nearly 10 million kilowatt-hours (KWHs) of electrical power. Two solar fields of single axis tracking PV systems with more than 18,000 solar panels were installed on 36 acres of the facility’s agriculture property. The three additional PV fields installed by the plant include a dual axis tracking system, a single axis covered parking lot and 10 sterling engine dual axis tracking systems.
Natural gas reduction: The newly installed 60,000 pounds per hour (lb/hr) biomass boiler, which uses wood and agricultural waste as its combustion energy source, will produce all the steam needed for the manufacturing plant and will reduce natural gas usage by more than 80 percent.
Zero landfill: As of 2010, the Casa Grande facility sends less than 1 percent of its overall waste to landfill through extensive recycling and using food waste for cattle feed.
LEED: During the course of implementation, the Casa Grande facility became the first existing food manufacturing site to achieve LEED® Existing Building Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009.
Moving forward, Frito-Lay said it will leverage key learnings from the Casa Grande plant and apply them to other facilities where appropriate. The company said every Frito-Lay plant is identifying projects and approaches to get closer to “near net zero” and to significantly reduce its environmental footprint.