Energy efficiency and sustainability are a growing concern for energy conscious businesses including wineries. From running a winery for day-to-day operation to producing wine and storing wine, a large amount of energy is consumed in all of the processes. This leaves winery businesses with significant areas of improvement through which wineries can become energy efficient and reduce energy costs while also reducing impact on the carbon footprint. Wineries utilize several energy and water intensive methods that can significantly gain from conservation strategies. Unveiling these savings can not only help boost your bottom line but also aid in your winery becoming more environmentally responsible. In this article we delve at some of the energy consuming areas in wineries and ways to improve energy efficiency of wineries and reduce energy costs.
Energy Consumption in Wineries
Electricity is the major source of energy at wineries. However, wineries also use other sources of energy like gas for water heaters, boilers, and engines. Consumption of these fluctuates contingent on the amount of hot water or steam required. It can be said approximately half of the electricity consumed at wineries are spent towards refrigeration at various stages of the winemaking process, including fermentation cooling, cold stabilization, and cold storage. Others are spent for lighting, air-conditioning, air-compressors and so on.
Since refrigeration consumes 50% of energy in wineries, it befits winemaking businesses to improve efficiency of refrigeration system, such as optimizing or upgrading compressors. For instance, an easy to improve energy efficiency of wineries is insulating tanks for fermenting wine. This can reduce energy consumption by 25%. In addition, focusing on actual consumption can also help reduce energy costs for wineries. For instance, tanks that do not need frequent refrigeration should not be kept overly cold and should be turned off when they are not in use. Powering the refrigeration system at a marginally higher temperature can also save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, from your energy bill.
Energy management experts agree that refrigeration is the major source of energy saving when it comes to wineries. However, regulating temperature in various stages of wine production can also have a significant effect on reducing energy consumption of wineries. For example, adjusting temperature during fermenting the wine not only impacts on quality of ferment produced but can also significantly give you energy savings. Colder temperatures increase the ability of wines to absorb oxygen which results in premature aging, so using a slightly higher temperature can both improve the quality and reduce your energy bill.
Proper and efficient use of compressors and pumps
Compressors consume a lot of energy and also provide ample scope of savings if utilized efficiently. For instance, when wine production is halted, turning off compressors can result in significant energy savings. In addition, in multiple compressor usage, lead and lag time variation can also play an important role in improving energy efficiency of wineries so that there is no work overload on any one of the compressors.
Also, in many large wineries, using multiple pumps can be a cost-effective and efficient way to handle varying loads. This step can result in 10% – 50% energy savings used for pumping.
Another method for energy saving in wineries can be to utilize variable speed drives on compressors. Although its initial cost can be high, it surely offers long term benefits. Approximately 20-30% reduction in energy use can be achieved by installing variable speed drives whereas larger-scale wineries could yield even better results in terms of savings.
Switching to LED Lighting
Although lighting is not a major energy consumer as other factors when it comes to energy efficiency of wineries, this does not mean that it should be completely overlooked. In fact, it has been seen from studying several wineries that on average, it takes up around five per cent of total energy consumed. So it definitely offers scope of reducing costs by adopting more efficient options such as switching to LED lighting. Even though the price per unit of LED bulbs is expensive, they are undoubtedly a sustainable option for many winemakers and the break-even period is also short for wineries that require heavy use of lighting.
Optimizing HVAC system
HVAC system also contributes to significant energy consumption in wineries and can be optimized for increased efficiency. For example, automated HVAC controls depending on outside temperature or season can result in better energy savings. Similarly, it is imperative to ensure that your HVAC system is regularly checked and serviced by professional HVAC contractor such as A-TECH Engineering to help prevent costly heating and cooling bills.
Investing in building automation system
To maximize energy efficiency of wineries, investing in an automated system can make the winery run smoothly, eliminate the factor of human error and result in a higher bottom line. Efficient building automation system can help you operate the winery prudently throughout the year and will potentially save thousands of dollars through smart energy use. For example, with building automation, you will not need to rely on a person to turn on refrigeration at 12:00 am and turn it off at 6:00 am during off-production hours.
Many wineries- whether big or small producers are shifting to sustainable practices for operating wineries efficiently. It not only produces better produce and results in savings but also creates a good impression as the world is increasingly becoming aware of our impact on the environment. Connect with an A-TECH Engineering – a leading energy company in Toronto – today to unlock the potential of your winery and maximize efficiency.