These days, nearly all food and beverage processors strive to become more sustainable and energy efficient. Features such as LED lighting, variable frequency drives and high-efficiency refrigeration systems rank as top requests for many food processing plants and distribution centers.

But, design-build firms such as ESI Group USA, Hartland, Wis., have found that eliminating waste is a top priority for today’s food and beverage processors.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle has hit the profit stream,” says Timothy Gibbons, vice president of design/business development. “Companies are looking for ways to not only minimize waste, but also convert it to an asset. Think of it as a two profit front; the more that can be reclaimed and sold, the less that needs to be trucked off in a waste container.”

Most clients are now routinely reclaiming stretch wrap, corrugated material and pallets and designating areas for recyclables. In doing so, they’re turning these materials into a profit stream. ESI Design Services has even designed a waste cooking oil reclaim facility to convert it to fuel.

Another area of maximizing savings is to reduce utility costs. Companies are reviewing existing facilities and beginning efforts to not only extend the longevity of the building, but also maximize the efficiencies of the systems within. To help with that, ESI Group now offers building commissioning services to assure that all new and existing systems and components of a building or industrial plant are installed, tested and operated according to the requirements of the designing engineer. Commissioning programs can even go further and establish maintenance timelines and schedules to assure that all systems are operating as they are designed and are not errantly running, leading to wasted energy and resources.

“Designing the facility to be efficient is only part of the challenge to being sustainable, and therefore saving money,” adds Gibbons. “Maximizing opportunities to recycle and reclaim waste as well as verifying systems are installed, operating and maintained will lead your facility to sustainability and cost savings.”