Foodservice and food retailing equipment manufacturer, Fri-Jado, has used the relocation of its head office and production facility as an opportunity to establish premises, which lead the way in sustainable business practice. The company has moved to Oud Gastel in the south west Netherlands, some 25 miles south of Rotterdam, where it has set new standards in environmentally responsible manufacturing. The new building has been certified as “very good” under the BREEAM standard, which is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for infrastructure and building projects.
The new, purpose designed facility incorporates state-of-the-art technology and automated features to deliver manufacturing and office environments, which are comfortable for staff, whilst having a minimal carbon footprint and ultra-low energy consumption. The 17,924 sq m building’s roof features 6,500 solar panels, generating enough electricity to serve the needs of 400 – 500 households per year.
The climate control system (heating and cooling) is powered exclusively by electricity, in keeping with Dutch energy policy, and is driven by three latest generation heat pumps for energy efficiency. The building is protected by the highest levels of insulation to further reduce energy consumption. Both the interior and exterior of the plant benefit from energy efficient LED lighting, which is sensor controlled to avoid lights being left on unnecessarily.
The theme of sustainability has been carried through to the company’s manufacturing processes, with all operations except the powder coating line being powered by electricity, rather than gas. Fri-Jado has also invested in new machine tool technology to further reduce its impact on the environment. It has replaced two, notoriously power thirsty, laser cutting machines with new models, which consume up to 60% less energy than the previous models.
The company has also addressed the issue of the planet’s precious resources in the manufacture of foodservice equipment, ensuring that 99% of the raw materials used will be recyclable at the end of the product’s serviceable life. Fri-Jado’s commitment to sustainability is far reaching; it has introduced hybrid company cars and will continue with its policy away from petrol and diesel powered vehicles for the future replacement of its existing fleet. Fri-Jado has provided a free charging point for electric cars at its premises, as an incentive to employees to adopt greener transport.
Fri-Jado UK’s Director of National Accounts, Gary Thacker, claims that the investment made at the company’s new headquarters highlights its holistic approach to sustainability:
“For over a decade, Fri-Jado has been leading the way in the design and manufacture of environmentally sensitive kitchen equipment. The design of our chilled counters features a unique OmniCold refrigeration system, which together with low velocity air circulation, helps to reduce energy consumption to some 43% below the ECA Energy Efficiency Index threshold.
“We have also developed heated merchandisers, which feature an innovative and patented hot blanket holding system, air curtain technology and hot air recycling, which deliver energy savings of some 20%. In addition, these features combined with precise humidity control, ensure that food is maintained at perfect quality and appearance, over extended periods, reducing the amount of merchandise that may be price discounted or thrown away, due to product deterioration.”
He added: “The issues of energy efficiency and food waste remain high on the agendas of grocery retailers and foodservice operators. Public opinion and the activity of climate change lobby groups will increase pressure on OEMs and suppliers to make further progress in delivering more environmentally sensitive equipment. Whilst many manufacturers are merely paying lip service to green initiatives, Fri-Jado has demonstrated a root and branch approach to sustainability.”
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