TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

Appliances tips

Oct 14 2011

“Near Net Zero” at Frito-Lay’s Casa Grande Facility in Arizona: How innovative technology helps business and the environment

Despite environmentalist’s love for salty snacks, many food manufacturers do not “go green.”

Frito-Lay’s Casa Grande facility plant in Arizona, PepsiCo’s North America division, is a different story. The firm launched an ambitious sustainability project, the “near net zero” effort that took a production facility “off the grid,” running primarily on renewable energy sources and recycled water, while producing nearly zero landfill waste.

Food manufacturers and other businesses rely on key natural resources — water, fuel and gas — whose scarcity will affect everyone. Frito-Lay developed strategies to ensure sustainable business practices, even in the Arizona desert, where there are severe constraints on these resources.

“We made significant investment in our renewable-energy technology. In the summer, we installed a large-scale biomass boiler, using wood waste and agricultural debris to generate all our steam. We installed about 5 megawatts of photovoltaics. In that investment, we’ve partnered with local utility Arizona Public Service, along with the third-party provider, but we also invested our own capital into the photovoltaic system that produces power from the single-axis trackers, as well as dual-axis trackers. Frito-Lay also invested in water recovery that allows us to recycle 75 percent of all the process water,” explained Al Halvorsen, senior director of environmental sustainability, Frito-Lay North America, who added that this effort is part of a commitment to a long-term vision to use renewable energy and to recycle water.

Frito-Lay has been using innovative technologies since the 1960s and ’70s, but in the late 1990s, the firm deepened its commitment. “In 1999, we created our own department of energy and that is when we fully engaged in resource conservation. We set some very aggressive goals to reduce the amount of water we use by 50 percent, the amount of gas by 30 percent and the amount of electricity by 25 percent. Utilizing the same runways we had in 1999 compared to what we are using today, we are saving about $80 million to the bottom line of the company. It’s yielding good results for us,” observed Halvorsen. Additionally, the company created an environmental strategy for its fleet to reduce fuel consumption 50 percent by 2020.

Halvorsen admits that investing in modern technology is also affecting the price of its products: “We can maintain the price; we invested a lot in this, but the history of our investment is reaping the reward through the future. We use Casa Grande as a learning laboratory and learning facility, with research and development opportunities.” Further on, all 36 plants in the U.S. and Canada developed their own ‘near net zero’ plan. Not all can achieve what the company was able to pull off in Casa Grande, but the learning process and implementing technologies where possible — that’s what counts.

“We challenge them and share the learning from this plant,” Halvorsen said. The Casa Grande plant serves as an “environmental learning lab.” Moving forward, Frito-Lay will leverage key learning from the Casa Grande plant and apply that learning to other facilities where appropriate, significantly reducing its environmental footprint.

“Our approach to significantly reducing the use of natural resources and the environmental impact of a manufacturing site has been cutting-edge. Today marks a major milestone for Frito-Lay and PepsiCo,” he added.

The Casa Grande Facility has been able to achieve:

  • 50 percent water reduction
  • 75 percent of water is recycled
  • 50 percent reduction of green house gases
  • 85 percent reduction in annual electricity load
  • 99 percent of waste kept out of landfills
  • 90 percent reduction in electricity usage
  • 80 percent reduction in natural gas usage, courtesy of a newly installed 60,000 pounds per hour (lb/hr) biomass boiler

Frito-Lay is facing the future with an outlook that emphasizes sustainability and eco-friendliness. Halvorsen concluded, “It involves performance with purpose. We as a company must maintain operational performance that is the best of all worlds. We’ve even reached out beyond our manufacturing, all the way to supply chain and agricultural operations and partnering with customers and suppliers. This is driving a bigger picture of sustainability. It’s a culture of a two-way open sharing. Sustainability is a continuous focus embedded in our culture.”

Read More From Simona Drevensek at GreenTech Media

Tagged , , , , , ,

Related Posts

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • "“As the Texas population continues to grow, so will our energy consumption needs. We must have tools that empower the consumer to choose their products and monitor their usage wisely. TexasIsHot.org is a great resource, which is exactly what Texans need in today’s deregulated market.”" - State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), Chairman of House State Affairs Committee
  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
Get Connected

Enter your email address and receive tips and helpful info from Texasishot.org