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New Hormel Plant to Use 25% Less Water, Energy

Dubuque Plant 2The new Hormel Foods production facility in Dubuque, Iowa, is designed to use at least 25 percent less water and energy than the typical plant.

Officially opened March 30, the 348,000 square-foot facility is run by Progressive Processing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hormel.

Hormel’s first new production facility in more than 25 year, the plant was built using materials with more than 36 percent recycled content.

The facility has applied for LEED certification, and upon expected confirmation, will be one of few manufacturing plants – and the only refrigerated food processing facility – to be LEED certified at any level, Hormel said.

The facility is designed to use refrigerants such as non-ozone depleting ammonia and R-410A, which Hormel called a “low-impact refrigerant.”

The plant has a number of other energy efficient measures, such as using solar to gather energy for lighting of the company sign (see image).

Here are some other features:

– Stormwater retention measures, rain gardens and non-irrigated native vegetation to reduce water impact at the site.

– Preferred parking for car pools, high-efficiency vehicles and bikes.

– Energy recovery ventilators to provide fresh air indoors with minimal energy costs.

– Gray water is stored, filtered and used for flushing toilets and other purposes.

– Heat pumps extract heat energy from plant processes.

– Sensors identify room occupancy and adjust heating/cooling.

– Variable speed exhaust fans help reduce energy use.

– Reflective roof and parking surface reduce heat gain.

– Nonrefrigerated areas use skylights and multilevel lighting to reduce energy consumption.

– The boiler system heats feedwater with heat from refrigeration system and condensing economizer.

– A reverse-osmosis system in the boiler room reduces water and energy use.

The plant, which produces a line of microwaveable meals, cost $89 million to build, according to Business Week.

Last year, Hormel made numerous changes to its product packaging, trimming more than 5.36 million pounds in materials from the supply chain. That follows Hormel’s 5.2 million pound packaging reduction in 2008.

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