Garn, founder of ViewCraft LLC, is a whole system consultant
working with businesses to imbed the concept of sustainability
into the context of their business. He is the developer of
the Sonoma Green Business program and a co-author of the Code
of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices workbook and the California
Wine Community Sustainability Report. John is currently working
as a consultant for the California Sustainable Winegrowing
energy usage is one of the most difficult aspects of winery operations.
It is vital to know what you dont know. The investment of
time and money to find and organize all of your energy information
may not seem worth it, but ignorance of how you use energy could
be costing your winery dearly. To reduce that risk, have a professional
do an energy audit at your winery every two years and maintain an
ongoing program of self-assessment. In the meantime, lets
find out what you dont know by asking a few simple questions.
much total energy
does your winery consume?
For the moment, let us ignore the energy use of any given motor,
drive, and pump. Instead, we want to look at the big picture
before we try to target the bulls-eye of specific efficiency
measures. We want to develop an awareness of total energy coming
into the winery.
For most operational people, energy equals electricity. But energy
is often more than that. At the highest birds eye level, it
includes vehicle trips (gasoline), air travel (jet fuel), natural
gas, propane, and diesel. This is the total energy consumed by your
winery in the production of wine.
For many senior managers, the big picture is a dollar
amount; they just want to know the total cost of energy usage at
their winery. However, we are not talking just dollars here
we are talking kilowatts and BTUs. We have to know those energy
numbers before we can determine how much it costs in dollars to
produce each case of wine per year.
This is where the energy baseline for the entire winery demonstrates
its value. By knowing where we are with current energy use, we can
determine where we can go with future energy efficiency measures.
This also provides the opportunity to demonstrate cost savings over
An often-overlooked aspect of an energy efficiency program is the
inclusion of a strategy for reinvesting a percentage of the savings
generated from initial efficiency actions. If there isnt any
strategy for using a percentage of the captured savings for implementation
of future efficiency measures, the money often disappears into the
general fund, and any additional requests for capital improvements
are harder to justify on a cost/benefit basis.
Once you know the total kilowatts and BTUs per year, and the total
number of cases or gallons produced in the same year, you will have
the formula to calculate the total kilowatts and BTUs, or energy
intensity, per case or gallon of wine. The selection of gallon
or case will depend on your winery operations.
With many wineries outsourcing bottling, having a metric of gallons
is more useful. If your facility also bottles, then a case metric
might have more meaning. This calculation begins to establish the
metric needed to gauge investments for future efficiencies and allows
you to ask the next question.
What are tools for
benchmarking energy use?
The baseline number of total energy use (your most important tool)
can be computed by your accountant or bookkeeper. They usually have
access to the energy bills, but they probably have only been recording
the amounts due, and are not tracking the kilowatts or BTUs.
If the operation or facility manager takes on the task of tracking
energy use, they can contact the accountant to get the energy bills
and then enter the use information into a database. Keeping track
of energy usage requires an investment of time and a willingness
on the part of the accountant or bookkeeper, along with direction
from the owner.
A more efficient tool can be the utility itself. Most, like Pacific
Gas & Electric (PG&E), have online services that allow
the energy user to obtain up to three years of historical data for
their operation. A simple registration form needs to be completed
online for this service.
There are several other energy services on the PG&E
website. You can request net year-to-date information, usage
over comparative years, per-meter usage, and complete account information.
This is the easiest and most cost-effective way to understand total
energy use of your winery.
Another tool that is just becoming available for wineries is interactive
software developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (Berkeley,
CA) and Fetzer Vineyards (Hopland, CA). The Benchmarking and Energy
and Water Savings Tool (BEST) winery software is free and is being
distributed at workshops in California. It was developed because
the wine industry is the second largest user of electricity in the
California food industry.
BEST: new free software helps wineries increase efficiency
How it works and where to obtain
California wineries now can obtain BEST Winery,
an easy-to-use, computer-based tool and handbook to help
reduce energy and water costs, thanks to researchers at
the Department of Energys Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory, who worked with Fetzer Vineyards.
BEST (Benchmarking and Energy and Water Savings Tool) Winery
incorporates information about how energy and water is used
in each step of wine production, based on key characteristics
entered by a user. Winery personnel can enter data such
as location, climate of vineyards, tons of grapes and juice
received, and amount of wine produced, stored, and/or bottled.
The BEST reference winery is based on a very efficient winery
model with the same characteristics as the user winery.
But the reference winery uses state-of-the art, commercially
available energy- and water-efficient technologies.
BEST Winery provides an interactive menu of over 100 opportunities
for improvement. BEST Winery contains efficiency opportunities
for water, refrigeration, pumps, compressed air, motors,
lighting, hot water production, cogeneration, and other
applications. Best of all, the free software is built for
use by small to medium-size wineries.
With support from Pacific Gas & Electric, three free
training sessions were held in May 2005 to introduce the
tool, and train winery staff to use the BEST Winery software.
After June 1, 2005, to obtain a copy of the software, email
Barbara Adams at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory: bjadams@LBL.gov.
How does your total energy number compare
with other wineries?
Once you have the big numbers on energy use, you need to gain additional
perspective on just what those numbers mean. Many wineries believe
that they are very energy-efficient, but not many know their energy-intensity
per case or gallon. It is not easy to compare with other facilities
to see whether your operation is as energy-efficient as you perceive,
or if you are spending three times more on energy per case or gallon
than other wineries.
The new BEST software will provide the ability to compare your operation
with a very energy-efficient reference winery. This
will give you a benchmark against the best winery in energy- and
Another way to gain a broader perspective is to talk to the PG&E
specialist who does energy-efficiency walk-throughs. He will have
heard from all of the wineries he is working with about their total
energy use per case or gallon of wine. He will have a good idea
of a general industry average even though no official
metric exists. In addition, perhaps your own contacts at other wineries
can give you an accurate metric for their energy use.
A comparison of your total energy-intensity is available through
a sustainable practices assessment that is free to any California
winery that participates. The statewide program, the Code of Sustainable
Winegrowing Practices, is a workbook that includes a chapter on
energy efficiency (with a criteria list, see Table I) that has 11
practices to be assessed by any participating winery or vineyard.
Simply submit your assessment, and then receive a customized report
showing your scores in relation to other wineries in your county,
and to all participating California wineries. To date, more than
100 wineries are in the assessment data set. For a listing of upcoming
workshops go to: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/c_works.html.
are the biggest users of energy at your winery?
A detailed energy audit will complement your benchmark by adding
detail to what you already know about overall energy use at your
winery, and acting as a test of your perception of your winerys
energy efficiency. An energy audit is useful to identify the aspects
of winery operations, or pieces of equipment, that are using the
largest amounts of energy, or using energy most inefficiently.
These energy hogs are also known as the low-hanging fruit.
This fruit is often associated with boilers, refrigeration,
compressors, and lighting, and it can be dropped in numerous ways.
An often overlooked area to consider when looking for low-hanging
fruit is the water system. Water can be a big energy user, and each
gallon of water has a specific unit of energy associated with it.
Pumps are required to extract water out of the ground to make it
available for the winery, and to irrigate vines and landscaping.
Large amounts of energy are used to heat it, deliver it to the appropriate
area, treat it, and dispose of it.
An especially large energy user is the aerators in wastewater ponds,
which often run around the clock. Reducing the amount of water used
in the winery can play a significant role in overall energy-efficiency
plans for any facility.
It is best to leverage experience when possible, and the BEST software
tool comes with a PG&E specialist who can visit your facility
for a walk-through. You can initiate this process by
contacting PG&E via phone or email. A walk-through will provide
several options for pursuing energy efficiency:
- Equipment review and rebate availability. This is the simplest
walk-through. It focuses on major equipment, with rebate information
- No-cost measures. This visit expands the audit to include lights
being left on and air compressors left running. These simple behavioral
changes can promote immediate efficiencies and savings, but they
do require persistence and commitment on the part of management
if the changes are to become permanent.
- Low-cost measures. These measures include actions that have
a 12-month payback or less. They might include changing high-bay
mercury lights to T5 fluorescents or installing motion detectors.
- Investments. These measures require an investment that has a
longer payback but can save large amounts of money over time.
They include actions such as variable speed drives and tank insulation.
With a walk-through by a PG&E specialist, you will be able
to select the level of information and detail that you want for
your winery. The specialists are trained to help you understand
the energy use of all equipment, help you identify the low-hanging
fruit to drop, and suggest the best approach to dropping it.
They can help you develop an energy conservation plan, to leverage
early savings for the next set of improvements.
For a complete set of PG&Es business tools go to: www.pge.com/biz/biztools.html.
PG&E also offers energy efficiency workshops specifically for
the agriculture sector. For a listing of upcoming workshops in your
area, go to www.pge.com/pec.
In addition, PG&E offers several rebate programs to help you
with the cost of new lighting, compressors, pumps, and motors (see
Rebates for energy-efficient wineries,
PWV, September/October 2004). To get the overall picture of
available services and rebates available from PG&E, contact
Jim Salomone at 707/579-6437.
Another useful resource for audits can be universities. Many universities
have classes that are researching energy efficiency, with students
in search of an interesting project. Students at Sonoma State University
(SSU, Rohnert Park, CA) and San Francisco State University (SFSU)
have conducted detailed energy audits for wineries.
These studies provide very useful information, give students hands-on
experience, and require no capital outlay from the winery. Maybe
most important of all, these audits get operation managers thinking
about how much energy their facilities are using and of ways to
be more energy-efficient.
Finally, companies wanting to help you with your energy efficiency
may provide auditing services as part of their bid for
services. There are two kinds of companies providing these services.
First are those specializing in energy efficiency. These are professional
engineers who do audits for a living. The second kind is equipment
suppliers, who will conduct an audit to identify inherent savings
available if you select their product(s).
For example, if you are thinking about insulating tanks, but you
dont know whether it makes economic sense, a company specializing
in tank insulation can come in, review your energy use and calculate
costs on tank insulation. The more equipment the company provides,
the more detailed an audit they will provide up front.
Another overlooked resource is other wineries. The network of wineries
that are very proactive about energy efficiency and are investing
in renewables is growing, with new solar installations (Rodney Strong
Vineyards, Healdsburg, CA), solar thermal (J Wine Company, Healdsburg,
CA), and methane digestors (Clos du Bois, Geyserville, CA) among
projects in recent years, plus solar installations at Evergreen
Valley Winery (Luthersburg, PA) and Stargazers Vineyard (Coatesville,
Other wineries are implementing energy efficiency measures that
are easily replicated, such as connecting dissolved oxygen monitors
to wastewater pond aerators (Beringer Blass Wine Estates, St. Helena,
CA); use of frequency-drives on pumps, crush operations, and bottling
lines (Jordan Winery, Geyserville, CA); and changing lighting from
T12s to T8s (Kunde Estate Winery, Kenwood, CA). Getting in touch
with the facility and operation managers of these wineries can provide
a wealth of information. Perhaps most beneficial of all, they might
share with you what, if anything, they would do differently if they
were to do the project over again. This kind of experience does
not have a price tag.
Winery self-audit checklists
Wineries can employ self-audits to begin to realize immediate energy
savings. Several examples of a self-audit checklist can be found
There is no energy audit checklist that is specific to wineries.
A general energy analysis can be helpful if you are just getting
underway with energy efficiency.
To complete an online Business Energy Analysis from PG&E go
This will help you reduce your energy bill, improve the productivity
and comfort of customers and employees, obtain information about
incentive programs, and improve your bottom line.
If you are going to prepare a self-audit, it is important to include
both behavioral and technical changes. There are many examples of
technology being purchased but not used effectively, so the estimated
savings just never materialize.
Behavioral changes are especially useful after developing the big
picture and performing a winery self-audit. Something as simple
as cleaning light fixtures as part of general maintenance can enhance
efficiency. This can be the easiest thing to recommend to staff
and the hardest thing for them to adopt.
Employees are the biggest factor, because when they fully
understand energy efficiency, the spark of innovation ignites and
all kinds of ideas get generated, says Matt Atkinson, ranch
manager of Benziger Family Winery (Glen Ellen, CA). Employees
are really the biggest factor in energy efficiency because they
are doing the work, so they have a better perspective on how to
improve things in their operation area.
One useful tool is an employee bulletin board where information
can be posted. This is a great way to obtain feedback from employees
about the total energy use of the winery. Asking for feedback can
bring energy use to the awareness of everyone, so that behavior
change gets reinforced and becomes part of the winery culture.
Technology changes can be very low-tech. They might include the
addition of window film to reduce solar heat gain, or making sure
that glycol lines and hot water pipes are insulated. They could
be easy-to-do measures, like installing motion detectors and using
natural lighting, which can begin to save money and provide energy
security with very little initial investment.
Efficiency changes can also involve more advanced technology, such
as the use of refrigeration jackets for white wine fermentation,
or equipping tanks with reset controls.
and the SBEA
The Small Business Energy Alliance (SBEA) is a limited resource
program sponsored by the California Public Utilities Commission
to assist small companies in California.
For businesses using under 500kW per meter per account,
the SBEA offers assessment of lighting systems, thermostats,
and small refrigeration units (though not winery-scale HVAC
and refrigeration systems). The program also has some funds
to help businesses upgrade or replace such systems with
more efficient ones.
In 2003 and 2004, the SBEA helped Cline Cellars (Sonoma,
CA), and the Valley Wine Warehouse (Napa, CA) replace metal
halide lighting with high-output T-5 lamps and motion sensors.
Sonoma County program manager Ken Moore says the SBEA would
love to work with more small wineries to increase efficiency.
can be found online or at the Program hotlines:
888/759-9800 (southern CA), and 800/881-SBEA (northern CA).
Benziger Family Winery was audited by Sonoma State University in
1999 using the baseline of 1998 energy use. The Living Machine
(a wastewater technology) was in use at a brewery that is now the
site of the familys Imagery Estate Winery. Several students
volunteered to operate the Living Machine, and one student approached
ranch manager Atkinson about conducting an energy audit for the
winery. The audit was very detailed, looking at the wattage of everything
from the refrigeration system to the phone answering machine.
While the final report was overwhelming at first, Atkinson was able
to get the big picture of total energy use. The
report allowed us to focus on the low hanging fruit, which was the
lighting system, says Atkinson. Replacement with energy-efficient
fixtures was the first post-audit project.
In 2003, Benziger rebuilt the entire crush pad area. Efficiency
improvements included insulating tanks and putting foam insulation
in the barrel barn ceiling. The 2005 project is to incorporate 480
voltage throughout older buildings to allow more efficient use of
electricity and better operation of variable-speed drives.
Atkinson now tracks electrical and water use monthly, and uses the
energy report to refresh his memory about equipment use, as he gets
ready to replace worn-out equipment with more efficient equipment.
Benziger has been able to reduce energy use by over 20%.
Kunde Estate Winery was audited by San Francisco State University
students in summer 2004 when assistant winemaker Andy Willbanks
agreed to participate in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored
program offering energy efficiency services to wineries at no cost.
The DOE audits are a detailed look at all equipment and electronic
devices at a facility; they also include a comprehensive waste audit.
The audit was led by SFSU Engineering Department faculty with assistance
from graduate students, who provide the winery with a detailed report
identifying the best measures to save money and increase energy-efficiency.
The SFSU auditing team was also available to the winery after the
report is completed to answer questions and provide expertise during
future implementation of their recommendations. The report is thorough
enough to be used by engineering firms that wineries later retain
to implement large efficiency projects.
It seems that there is no downside to working with students. All
that is required is time to coordinate the project, provide energy
and waste bills for the benchmark period, and give a facility tour.
The total time investment is about six to 10 hours for the winery.
Willbanks completed implementation in 2004 of the first of six recommendations
air compressor modifications. A 50hp compressor was replaced
with a 15hp compressor (reducing run-time of the compressor) and
an additional holding tank installed (ensuring there is enough pressure
when needed) for bladder inflation on two membrane presses, for
air pumps in the cellar, and the bottling line.
Kunde Winery is replacing T12 lights with T8 lights. Willbanks uses
the report to help him plan the efficiency implementations, and
will continue with more recommendations. Three other recommendations
are: install energy-efficient motor when a burned out motor needs
replacement; augment or replace existing insulation on chiller lines;
and optimize refrigeration system compressor head pressures.
For more information about SFSU DOE winery audits, contact Ahmad
Ganji at 415/338-7736.
The goal of energy audits is to identify ways to increase energy
efficiency and to save money. But it is also to educate you and
your staff about the total energy use, get everyone thinking about
where energy is being wasted, and provide you with the opportunity
to identify the most valuable questions to ask energy experts. It
also makes you a smarter equipment shopper.
Remember, finding answers is not necessarily the most cost-effective
strategy. Knowing the most valuable questions to ask, and knowing
whom to ask, can often be worth a lot more.
Winery self-audit questions
In assessing your winery for eco-efficiency opportunities
to implement, keep in mind that this is not a one
size fits all program, and it is not necessary to
try and do them all. This self-audit is meant to promote
thinking and point you in the right direction.
It is encouraged that winery executives or operations managers
do self-audits with winery personnel who may have important
information to contribute. In addition to getting a better
picture of the winery, everyone will be on the same page
as you move forward.
What is total energy use per year?
What is total use of electricity? natural gas? propane?
What is total wine production (in gallons or cases)?
What is the energy-intensity per gallon or case?
Has the winery had an energy-audit in the past two years?
If yes, where is the information?
If not, why not?
Is there a regular maintenance cycle for heating, ventilation,
If so, what is regular maintenance cycle?
If not, what is efficiency of the HVAC?
Are HVAC thermostats set for proper temperature (such as
65†F in winter, 78†F in summer)?
Is there a policy to turn off lights and machinery when
not in use? If yes, is it being followed?
What kind of lighting is used in offices and winery? How
effective is natural lighting being used?
Are tanks insulated?
Are glycol lines insulated?
Are hot water pipes insulated?
When was the last time the compressed-air system was checked
Were any leaks found? If yes, were leaks repaired?
Is there enough air-holding capacity to reduce compressor-run
How old is the refrigeration equipment, air compressor(s),
Are the wastewater aerators operated around the clock, or
regulated by timers?
If not, what is frequency of operation?
Is office equipment Energy Star-certified for efficiency?