The Big Cheese
Berner Foods, based in Dakota, IL, is a leading manufacturer of shelf-stable dips, sauces, aerosol cheese, and milk-based ready-to-drink beverages. The 70-year-old family-owned business works with major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, and Aldi. Their state-of-the-art 290,000 square foot facility, which includes a recent 200,000 square foot production and warehouse addition, is a USDA approved level-3 facility. Additionally, it is HACCP certified, and meets the demanding standards of virtually every major retailer in North America. Because of stringent and rapidly changing industry requirements and parameters, Berner saw energy efficiency as the key to market competitiveness, optimal run rates, and low operating costs - all of which translate to lower consumer prices and overall growth of the business.
Upon the completion of a study of their steam boiler operations, Berner Foods realized an opportunity to achieve two goals - increase boiler efficiency and reduce operating costs. Boilersource, Enerstar, and Nicor energySMART, along with Berner Foods devised a well-executed energy-savings plan which called for the installation of a fully condensing HeatSponge economizer. In addition to dramatically increasing the potential heat recovery in the system, HeatSponge economizers are completely manufactured out of stainless steel to provide for the longest life in an aggressive condensing environment.
Milking the Savings
Tony Ranallo of Boilersource provided the on-site support to both properly size and guide the installation of the HeatSponge condensing economizer unit on a 400 HP firetube boiler, as well as coordinate with NICOR Gas to obtain an impressive rebate of $135,685. Berner Foods not only saw a dramatic and documented increase in efficiency of the boiler system, but the condensing economizer also provides an annual reduction in fuel use of 152,420 therms, which equates to an estimated savings of $83,830 per year. This was the first HeatSponge economizer that set the standard for 3 more units in the years to follow. With the help of Boilersource, Enerstar, and Nicor energySMART, Berner Foods has grown its business, created jobs, and taken steps toward its sustainability. Success sure tastes good!