Serving Up 'Green' Technology in the Food and Beverage Industry
Across the country, food and beverage manufacturers and retailers are cooking up ways to be environmentally responsible. A study for the Grocery Manufacturers Association found that 85 percent of consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers have sustainability programs in place. Notable green initiatives include Coca-Cola’s investment of more than $60 million on recycling, Kraft Foods’ 25 percent decrease in energy consumption and Anheuser-Busch’s reuse of more than 99 percent of the solid waste from their U.S. brewing and packaging processes.
Many of these initiatives are designed to promote green building and energy efficient technologies. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for 70 percent of the electricity, 12 percent of potable water, 40 percent of raw material consumption, 30 percent of waste output and 39 percent of greenhouse gases.
In January, the nation’s first Green Building Standards Code took effect for all new construction in California, which is recognized for having the most energy-efficient building standards in the nation. Although voluntary until 2010, California’s Green Building Standards require that new buildings reduce energy usage by 15 percent and water use by 20 percent. The code also includes provisions for the use of flooring and coatings with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs found in coatings include solvents, nonreactive diluents, hardeners and additives that escape into the atmosphere during the curing process.
Low-VOC interior coating systems have been used in the Golden State for years. Nearly 100 wineries in the state have applied Tnemec’s StrataShield flooring systems that meet the state’s requirement for VOCs. At Chappellet Winery in Napa Valley, for example, a StrataShield coating system was selected to renovate the estate’s barrel room floor. “Low-VOC content and low-odor were very important,” according to Tnemec coating consultant Sherry Amos. “The winery was concerned about having anything with a smell that might contaminate the wood barrels or other furnishings in the area. People were also working in the building, so they didn’t want any odor affecting the occupied areas.”
The wine-colored coating system used at Chappellet included a basecoat of Power-Tread, a modified polyamine epoxy with 30 grams/liter VOC content, followed by a grout coat of Tneme-Glaze, a 100 percent solids modified polyamine epoxy that resists pressurized hot water and detergent cleaning, to seal the epoxy mortar. EverThane, an extremely hard moisture-cured urethane topcoat that provides excellent gloss and color retention, was applied as the topcoat. Unlike standard epoxy and urethane finishes that produce odor issues when used in confined areas, EverThane’s low-odor chemistry allowed winery employees to continue working without disruption. And with less than 100 g/l VOC content, EverThane is compliant with regulatory requirements in California and throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Chappellet has a tradition of environmentally conscious farming practices that spans more than four decades and includes a comprehensive program of sustainable techniques to eliminate the use of synthetic chemicals. In 2008, Chappellet initiated an ambitious solar project capable of producing 280,000 kilowatt hours per year and reducing greenhouse gases by 4.5 million pounds over a 30-year period.
In addition to the state’s Green Building Standards Code, California requires all new state buildings and renovation projects to attain certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. StrataShield floor coating systems used for the food and beverage industry, as well as industrial applications such as airplane hangars and service maintenance areas qualify under LEED NC 2.2.