How these Quebec-based companies invested in energy efficiency

Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program helps companies optimize their energy use and become forces for change.

Electricity demand in Québec is expected to grow by 14% by 2032 due to economic expansion and the electrification of the economy. Faced with this ever-increasing demand and the desire to address it in a cost-effective manner, Hydro-Québec is urging companies to optimize their energy use. Indeed, it is vital for companies to adopt energy efficiency practices and become agents of change.

With Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program providing financial support to companies ready to take the lead in energy efficiency, it pays to adopt these practices from the start. Participants receive guidance and funding to perform energy efficiency analyzes and implement solutions – from simple measures to complex, innovative projects. The program is open to small, medium and large businesses and public organizations in Québec.

Here’s how two companies benefited from Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program.

Fruit d’Or

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 impacted by the environment. Agri-food production often involves switching between hot and cold conditions, resulting in significant energy consumption and heat loss. Martin Le Moine, president and founder of Fruit d’Or, turned to Hydro-Québec for help 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 to the outside, the pumps circulate the heat generated by commercial dryers to heat up their wash water in a closed 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 energy consumption.

In their first year of operation, the new Fruit d’Or heat pumps alone saved more than $23,000 in energy costs, while also reducing their CO2 emissions by 350 tons per year.

However, adopting energy efficient practices is not just about the bottom line. “The transition to sustainable practices is attracting job seekers, who are increasingly sensitive to the actions companies are taking,” explains Le Moine.

Improving the energy efficiency of the organization was not easy at first. “It’s very broad and the technologies are evolving rapidly,” says Le Moine. “Hydro-Québec’s experts helped us prioritize the fastest-paying projects.”

Kruger

Kruger’s activities in the pulp, paper, board and packaging sectors are energy intensive. A significant portion of the company’s production costs stem from energy consumption, with aging equipment being a major culprit. The company signed up for Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program and received $900,000 to maintain production at existing levels while reducing energy use, but without completely replacing existing machinery.

Kruger upgraded old papermaking machines by replacing ventilation shutters with variable frequency drives, reducing the amount of energy the machines consumed. Other energy-saving measures have also been implemented, such as installing efficient lighting and optimizing screening, refining, pumping and air compression processes. With these solutions, Kruger expects annual energy savings to be $153,000.

Thanks to Hydro-Québec’s financial assistance, Kruger has been able to implement energy-efficient solutions faster, 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 fibres, biomaterials and sustainability at Kruger, says adopting energy-efficient practices in his workplace is also about values. “It is important to me 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.” Click here to learn more about how your business can benefit from Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program.

Leave a Comment