How These Québec-Based Businesses Cut Their Energy Costs
The demand for electricity in Québec is expected to rise by 14 per cent by 2032 due to economic expansion and the electrification of the economy. Faced with this ever-increasing demand and a desire to address it in a cost-effective way, Hydro-Québec is urging companies to optimize their energy consumption. It is indeed vital for businesses to start adopting energy-efficient practices and become agents of change.
Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program, which provides financial assistance for businesses ready to lead the way in energy efficiency, adopting these practices pays off from the outset. Participants receive guidance and funding to conduct energy-efficiency analyses and implement solutions—from simple measures to complex, innovative projects. The program is open to small, midsize and large companies as well as public organizations in Québec.
Here are two businesses have taken advantage of Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program.
As a grower and processor of organic cranberries and wild blueberries, Fruit d’Or prioritizes sustainable practices in its operations because its products are directly affected by the environment. Agri-food production often requires switching between hot and cold conditions, leading to significant energy consumption and heat loss. Fruit d’Or President and Founder Martin Le Moine turned to Hydro-Québec for help in assessing his company’s energy use.
Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program gave Fruit d’Or nearly $300,000 to install heat pumps. Instead of wasting heat by venting it outside, the pumps circulate the heat generated from commercial dryers to warm their washing water in a closed-loop system for a practical and more energy-efficient solution. Fruit d’Or was also eager to replace a chlorofluorocarbon (Freon) refrigeration system with a carbon dioxide system to further reduce its energy use.
In the first year of operation, the new heat pumps alone saved Fruit d’Or more than $23,000 in energy costs while also reducing their carbon emissions by 350 tonnes a year.
However, adopting energy-efficient practices isn’t just about the bottom line. “Moving toward sustainable practices attracts job seekers, who are increasingly sensitive to the actions companies take,” Le Moine explains.
Improving the organization’s energy efficiency wasn’t easy at first. “It’s very wide-ranging and the technologies evolve quickly,” Le Moine says. “Hydro-Québec’s experts helped us prioritize the projects that will yield the fastest returns.”
Kruger’s operations in pulp, paper, cardboard and packaging sectors are energy intensive. A significant portion of the company’s production costs stem from its energy use, with aging equipment being a notable culprit. The company applied to Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program and received $900,000 to maintain production levels while reducing energy use, but without completely replacing functional machinery.
Kruger upgraded old paper production machines by replacing ventilation shutters with variable-frequency drives, thereby reducing the amount of energy the machines consumed. Other energy-efficient measures were also implemented, such as installing efficient lighting and optimizing screening, refining, pumping and air-compression processes. With these solutions in place, Kruger expects its annual energy savings to reach $153,000.
Thanks to Hydro-Québec’s financial assistance, Kruger has been able to implement energy-efficient solutions more quickly, leading to immediate results and putting the company on a path to reducing its carbon footprint.
While saving money is a top priority, Maxime Cossette, corporate vice-president of fibre, biomaterials and sustainability at Kruger, says that adopting energy-efficient practices at his workplace is also about values. “For me, it’s important that the company I work for respects and reflects my values. When I go to work in the morning, I feel like I’m contributing.”
To learn more about how your business can benefit from Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program, click here.