'Green' bakery takes the cake

Monday, 25 February, 2008

Embracing technology to save energy

Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses, a family company and Melbourne institution for more than a century, has built one of the country's greenest, most environmentally sustainable bakeries at Keilor Park. The 500 m2 facility will produce more than 15,000 pastries, cakes and pies each day for delivery to Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses' 35 shops around Melbourne. "This factory is the result of 10 years of research, conducted both here in Australia and overseas, to build the most efficient, environmentally friendly, people friendly bakery," said Mr Plarre.

This bakehouse features a range of environmentally friendly initiatives including:

  • Use of the heat recovered from freshly-baked products (using exhaust fans and the heat taken from special cooling tunnels) to heat the main production area in winter, or when required.
  • Hot water generation for cake production (approximately 8000 L/day) generated by heat exchangers using a heat-recovery system from the refrigeration plant.
  • Rainwater toilet flushing for office and staff facilities.
  • Solar-heated hot water for staff and office.
  • High-efficiency air conditioning for offices, staff amenities and climate-controlled production areas involving 'outside air optimisation' to reduce power consumption.
  • Installation of a fully-integrated SCADA energy monitoring system providing real-time monitoring of all energy and water consumption, both individually and collectively, to allow full monitoring of all energy consumption of electricity and gas, water and CO2 emissions.
  • Installation of rainwater tanks for irrigation and vehicle washing (100,000 L).

In May 2008, the Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses' Greenfleet Forest initiative will see 7315 native Australian trees planted to offset the company's CO2 emissions.

Mr Plarre said his goal was to maximise the environmental technology in the bakery, ensuring the quality of the products.

"Firstly, we wanted to maintain and improve our traditional product service, quality and variety, without losing our personal touch," he said.

"We wanted to allow for future expansion through our traditional family franchise model."

"We wanted to create a great lifestyle-oriented working environment for our people, as they are the ones who helped get us here."

"We also wanted to embrace the latest technology, not only in baking equipment, but also information technology, transport and energy monitoring."

"And finally, we wanted to minimise our environmental footprint, using the most sustainable growth strategy possible."

The Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse at Keilor Park replaces its predecessor at Niddrie, which was built in 1966.

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