RENEWABLE ENERGY

Dean Foods constantly explores new ways to reduce our use of energy derived from fossil fuels. We have already adopted many technologies to produce renewable energy for our operations, and we will continue to look for ways to increase our renewable energy rate. In most cases, we first focus on improving the energy efficiency of our facilities before investing in on-site renewable energy. This approach has led to increased energy efficiency and greater potential impact from renewable energy, and we believe it creates a solid foundation for reducing our environmental impact over the long run.


 Biogas: Do-It-Yourself Energy 

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Biogas installation in Franklin, Mass.

At our two Garelick Farms® plants in Franklin and Lynn, Massachusetts, we completed projects to capture methane emitted from our wastewater treatment operations. The water treatment facilities at these plants can hold approximately five million gallons of liquid waste. As the biological components of the wastewater decompose, methane gas, or biogas, is produced.

Using grants awarded to us by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, we built two biogas plants to convert the methane gas into electricity. To accomplish this, we installed 10 microturbine generators that burn methane, a potent GHG, and we use the energy produced for up to 8 percent of the plant’s electricity demand. This reduced the amount of electricity we purchase from the electric grid, and at peak use the system reduces our carbon footprint by 1,760 metric tons of CO2e every year. Our Alpro business also has been focused on similar biogas projects in Europe as part of its strategy to become carbon neutral by 2020.


Solar Power

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Solar installation in Rensselaer, N.Y.

On the roof of our Garelick Farms facility in Rensselaer, N.Y., we installed solar panels that produce more than 78,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, providing enough energy to power nearly 7 homes. The system reduces our carbon footprint by 24 metric tons of CO2e emissions each year.

At our facility in Lansdale, Penn., we installed 21 thermal-solar panels to preheat hot water for the plant. On average water runs through the panels seven hours a day and heats 10,000 gallons of well water from 60 to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, performing better on longer summer days. The panels harness 760 MMBtu of solar-thermal energy each year, reducing our carbon footprint by approximately 40 metric tons of C02e.


Anaerobic Digester Partnership

In 2012, Dean Foods won a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for our work partnering with AgPower Partners to build an innovative, state-of-the-art anaerobic digester at the Big Sky West Dairy farm near Gooding, Idaho. The anaerobic digester is designed to capture animal waste from the farm’s approximately 4,700 dairy cows, reducing both odors and emissions of methane gas into the atmosphere. The resulting captured methane is used to generate 1.2 megawatts of renewable energy, which is sold into the local power grid. That’s enough energy to power approximately 700 homes.

 

With the completed spin-off of our WhiteWave business and the sale of our Morningstar business in 2013, all sustainability metrics, going back to 2007, have been recalculated to reflect the current structure of Dean Foods.


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