Case Study

Improved Sustainability Efforts Led to Massive Cost Savings


Humboldt Creamery Humboldt Creamery is proud of its sustainable, zero-waste initiatives to reduce the footprint of its manufacturing process. The Creamery is always looking to explore ways to bring its customers organic dairy products made in the most responsible way.

The creamery employs about 100 people and manufactures fluid and powdered milk, as well as ice cream. Humboldt Creamery was looking to increase the plant’s sustainability efforts, as well as increase performance and energy savings from their refrigeration system.


Humboldt Creamery Humboldt Creamery started working with VaCom Technologies three years ago at the encouragement of the local utility who had seen firsthand Va-Com’s effective and impressive work. Their first project started as an upgrade to their refrigeration on their controls system. VaCom assisted the facility in applying for a utility incentive program which helped cover a significant amount of project costs, as well as drive energy savings.

Following implementation, two years of performance monitoring was per-formed using VaCom’s EnergyDashboard service. During this time, energy and refrigeration engineers from VaCom fine-tuned the system to achieve and maintain the expected savings.


According to the Mike Callihan, Humboldt Creamery’s Plant Manager, “Va-Com is a very capable company. Their Energy Dashboard is helpful at identifying issues with the system. The team is responsive and available.” They have saved about 1,100,000 kWh per year since implementation (Normalized to 2017 Production). That equates to roughly $150,000 per year, or $450,000 over the past three years.

Their sustainability and energy efficiency efforts have totaled over 250 Metric tons of CO2 emissions reduction. This collective effort lead to the facility being awarded a persistence utility incentive after the two years of improved performance. The facility has continued to participate in performance monitoring, leading to maintained energy savings and identification of future projects to improve the plant’s performance.


Cold Storage Facility Improves Bottom Line Through VaCom’s Refrigeration Performance Monitoring


A multi-national food and agricultural products company operating a 50,000+ sq. ft. protein storage warehouse in California noticed gradually rising utility costs, which had a significant effect


upon the operating cost of the facility. It was noted that the largest user of energy was the refrigeration system, which had been declining in performance and efficiency over time, partly due to the facility’s inability to retain onsite refrigeration or energy engineering personnel. Com-pounding the rising energy costs, the facility was not able to dedicate resources toward mitigating growing and changing demand charges on their utility bills.

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The warehouse operator reached out to VaCom’s Performance Monitoring Service Team, whose Refrigeration and Energy Engineers accessed the facility’s refrigeration control system via a secure connection with VaCom’s EnergyDashboard tool. System performance data was continuously measured, trended, and analyzed. Multiple energy-saving and performance improvements opportunities were identified. Opportunities ranged from equipment failures, behavioral changes, to set point changes. Each opportunity was furthermore analyzed financially and ranked according to its payback and criticality to operations.

During periodic review meetings, all stakeholders, including the facility operator, their refrigeration contractor, and the VaCom Engineers, each opportunity was assessed and the team formed a planned approach to address each opportunity for improvement. EnergyDashboard continued to measure the system’s performance and the results of their work was manifested in the data.


Clear results measured a 39% reduction in total facility daily energy usage (see graph below), and an annual savings of 800,000 kWh, equating to $120,000 per year energy cost reduction. The energy savings equate to 182 Metric-tons of CO2 GHG emissions per year. Overall, the engagement with VaCom’s Performance Monitoring Service has provided a Return on Investment (ROI) of greater than 700%. The facility is dedicated to maintaining the savings through a continuous improvement program and team approach involving all stakeholders.


Second VaCom Customer Receives $900K in Grants to Combat Greenhouse Gas Emissions in California

One of the world’s largest wineries located in California was operating their multi-system refrigeration plant with refrigeration equipment and controls which utilized less efficient means of capacity adjustment than today’s equipment offerings. With eight large refrigeration systems in place, this left the possibility of significant energy savings, and by extension an opportunity to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

The challenge was to first identify which equipment should be prioritized for replacement based on historical refrigeration loads and operational efficiencies. The second step was to develop a plan with the customer that allowed for implementation over multiple years to best fit within their capital investment plan.

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VaCom has been assisting this customer for over a decade by implementing energy efficiency measures through controls upgrades and subsequent performance monitoring using their web based software EnergyDashboard®. This performance data was leveraged to get a clear picture of historical loads and energy usage for all eight independent refrigeration systems operating at the facility. This was then used to develop an hourly simulation model to quantify the energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions associated with updating equipment and controls, including implementation of VFD capacity controls.

VaCom has an accomplished history of successfully working with California’s electric utilities and California’s food & beverage plant owners in identifying, implementing, and measuring & validating energy efficiency opportunities. It is due to these credentials that VaCom recognized the Food Production Investment Program within the California Energy Commission as an ideal opportunity to accomplish the goals of this customer.

VaCom was hired by the customer to develop a turnkey FPIP grant application on their behalf. Through the analysis of real data coupled with detailed energy modeling, VaCom identified specific opportunities with the biggest impact on energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction. The scope and benefits of the project were documented in a concise and effectively written grant application to the California Energy Commission.

The application was reviewed by the CEC, and accepted. 100% of the more than $900,000 applied for grant was awarded by the California Energy Commission to the customer to aid in completing the project. The estimated annual electricity savings is approximately 1 million kWh and eliminating the equivalent of 200 Metric Tons of CO2 emissions.

Upon completion of the project, the customer will have further modernized their wine production operation, reduced their GHG emissions, and taken another step along the path to continuous improvement.

VaCom Technologies Partners with Customer to Win $1.5 Million from the California Energy Commission to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

La Verne (California), April 25, 2019. VaCom Technologies, the leader in industrial refrigeration controls analysis, systems and monitoring, partnered with a large frozen food factory to win the California Energy Commission’s Food Production Investment Program (FPIP) grant for more than $1.5 million. The grant will result in a projected 94% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG).

VaCom developed a turnkey FPIP grant application on behalf of the large frozen food company. Through sizing and modeling multiple refrigeration system design options, VaCom identified the most cost-effective option that would result in the largest amount of GHG emission reduction.

VaCom Technologies Partners with Customer to Win $1.5 Million from the California Energy Commission to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The California Energy Commission awarded 100% of the requested funding to the customer towards completing the project. Upon completion of the project, the customer will have near zero direct GHG emissions from their refrigeration system, as well as a more sustainable and reliable operation going forward.

VaCom has an accomplished history of successfully working with California’s electric utilities and California’s food & beverage plant owners in identifying, implementing, and measuring & validating energy efficiency opportunities. The company’s well-established name and impressive experience is at the core of its strong partnerships with the leading food and beverage companies in the United States.

About VaCom Technologies

VaCom Technologies focuses on refrigeration controls solutions and is headquartered in the USA. The company is the leader in controls integration, providing analysis, controls and monitoring solutions for the most energy-efficient and cost-effective refrigeration technology management in the industry. More information:

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