Martin Hockaday explains how Costa Coffee generated enough spare capacity to increase production without building another site.
As things stand, there is no legislation compelling companies to demonstrate energy management processes. Despite this, organisations are increasingly looking to do so. At NQA, we recently certified our first client in the food industry to ISO 50001 (the international standard for energy management systems) - Costa Coffee. Costa is the UK’s largest coffee chain and a division of Whitbread. Its aim was to cut energy use, however the standard brought additional benefits, as Costa has expanded production and increased output.
Costa’s coffee bean roastery based in Lambeth, south London, is one of Whitbread’s most energy intensive sites. It was here that they wished to focus their efforts in energy reduction. Due to the limited amount of electricity available to the site, expansion would only be possible if they could create spare capacity.
To do this, close monitoring of how Costa the team used every piece of equipment and when equipment was used in the manufacturing process. Every aspect of the process was examined, from the coffee bean roasters down to the kettle in the staff room. Doing this gave Costa the knowledge to pinpoint where it needed to control its equipment and allowed staff to see peak energy use times.
Analysing the use of the site gave Costa the chance to instil energy saving practices in all aspects of their work. This included often overlooked daily behaviours (electric wall heaters are no longer left on if the windows are open, for example). The use of the equipment in the roasting process was then focused on and, consequently, Costa amended its processes. For example, it now delays switching on packaging equipment until coffee beans are roasted, instead of having it on from the start of the 12-hour operating period. Measures like this may seem simple with hindsight, but this could only be done after calculating that no manufacturing time would be lost as result of switching on later.
Costa has managed to cut its energy use at the site by 16% after putting such measures in place, as well as changing to energy efficient equipment. Lower energy consumption meant the coffee seller met its key target: to generate enough spare capacity to install a second roaster and expand their production capability without having to build a new site. Costa expects to see further cuts to energy in the future as it continues to evaluate and tweak the site’s performance.
The certification process allowed Costa to have a full reassurance that the system it had implemented and the actions it was taking were on the right track and would support the continual improvement of its energy performance.
ISO 50001 certification also gave Costa a sense of achievement with regard to energy saving, and was used extensively within its internal communications. The standard gives something over and above the usual ‘switch it off’ campaigns and allowed them to really engage staff with simple housekeeping issues that can make a lot of difference.
Martin Hockaday is environmental sector manager at NQA
This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of Greenbuild magazine. For a free subscription, click here.
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