Recipe for Success
One part senior leadership commitment
It all starts at the top. Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm’s CE-Yo, studied climate change in college, had a job building windmills in his pre-yogurt days, and has always been committed to responsible use of our precious energy resources. His commitment has driven and supported our energy work over the years and continues to do so today.
Two parts knowledge
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. One of the most important and valuable things we’ve done is install a plant-wide energy monitoring system that helps us understand how, when, and where we’re using energy at any moment of the day or night. This has been incredibly valuable in helping us identify ways to reduce our energy use.
Two parts conservation
Often the words “conservation” and “efficiency” are used interchangeably, but actually they are two distinct and important aspects of an energy management program. Conservation means using less energy. For us, that means making sure that equipment or lights are turned off when they’ not needed. It also means making sure that we turn the room temperature down in the winter (wear a sweater!) and up in the summer (short sleeves, please!). It’s also an important consideration in green-building practices.
Five parts energy efficiency
Efficiency is about doing more with less. Often this means technology—e.g., high-efficiency lighting, premium-efficiency motors, finely tuned control systems—that let us do more, but with less energy. We measure our energy efficiency as the amount of energy we use for each unit of yogurt produced. It’s easily measured and a great way to tell how we’re progressing.
Three parts innovation
Innovation means doing things differently and better. This isn’t always easy, as it means looking at a working system and questioning how it could work better. But it’s innovation that promises the greatest rewards! Thinking differently about how we use energy, how we control our systems, and trying new technology are all ways to make giant leaps forward.
Two parts renewable energy
Using clean, renewable energy is an essential part of a sustainable future. At Stonyfield, we’ve started our renewable journey with a few components that contribute to our overall energy use. We have one of New Hampshire’s largest solar electric (or “photovoltaic”) system on our rooftop, a solar hot-water system that heats water for our plant office, and an anaerobic digester that treats our wastewater and generates a biogas that we use to heat the digester. And we’re planning more renewables for our future.
Ten parts employee engagement
One of the most important aspects of a successful energy program is employees who are inspired, engaged, and empowered to make a difference. We do this through our Mission Action Program and through consistent messaging that reducing our energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a very high priority for Stonyfield. Read more about how we support and inspire our people.
Sprinkle with offsets
To take responsibility for the GHG impacts we know our energy use makes, we’ve been offsetting our carbon emissions from facility energy use for over 10 years now. We feel it’s important to take responsibility for our impacts, but it’s most important to reduce first! So we think of this as the sugar on top of our energy pie!
A pinch of promotion
We know that success breeds success, so we’re not shy about talking about our efforts, sharing our knowledge, and certainly learning from others! We’re proud of the recognition and awards we’ve received for our energy efforts, including the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership’s Business Leader Award 2008 and the EPA’s Green Power Partner Award in 2006.
Mix with urgency and bake for several years
We are working with great urgency to address our impact on global climate change. We’re driven to make great strides in a short period of time. But we also know that it takes some patience—which is hard when the urgency is so great! Innovation takes study, planning, and investment. That doesn’t happen overnight. So we push ourselves to move forward intelligently and quickly!