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Auckland meat snacks manufacturer Jack Links has uncovered tens of thousands of dollars in energy savings, thanks to prompting from its international customers.
Technical manager Martin Beever said the company, which exports meat products worth $60 million a year, undertook an energy audit after completing the EMA Northern Region’s EcoSmart programme.
“More and more, our international customers are asking for environmental credentials or certification. It became something that we had to look at because the market was demanding it,” he said.
Of Jack Links New Zealand’s total production, 98% is exported into more than a dozen world markets, with the USA its biggest customer.
Energy auditors made 20 recommendations, which if fully implemented would wipe more than $200,000 off the company’s energy bills each year. 
Although some improvements have yet to be costed, more than $80,000 in annual savings come with a payback of less than two years. Around $10,000 could be saved immediately for no cost.
“We were surprised by some of the findings, particularly our gas use, which the audit showed wasn’t as well controlled as we thought,” said Mr Beever.
The company attained an ‘Eco Warranty’ through the EcoSmart programme – funded by Auckland Council and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority – and went for ISO14001 certification at the same time.
EECA also helped fund the later energy audit, carried out by consultants Energy NZ.
“It shows export customers that we’re serious about improving our footprint, but also we’ve found substantial cost savings, which all helps the bottom line,” Mr Beever said. 
The company’s engineering team is working through the report and implementing low-cost changes. These include insulating steam and condensate piping, and modifying chiller doors to close automatically, reducing heat load.
Next on the list is replacing metal halide lights with more efficient and safer alternatives – either LEDs or high induction fluorescents.
Beever said the EECA funding had been crucial to secure management buy-in and help get the project ‘over the line’. The company was considering taking up further funding towards investigating pumping and fan systems, he said.
To find out more about EECA funding for businesses see 
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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