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Two southeastern Idaho facilities recognized for energy conservation

Gov. Butch Otter honored J.R. Simplot’s Don Plant in Pocatello, ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston’s American Falls plant, and four other facilities statewide for their energy conservation efforts.

They were presented with the 2015 Idaho Awards for Leadership in Industrial Energy Efficiency. To receive the award, each facility has to show a commitment to energy-use reduction.

Scott Parker, an E&I engineer at the Don Plant, said it’s a prestigious award to get in the field, considering the work that goes into the kinds of projects and initiatives in energy use reduction.

“There’s a lot of different factors that have to be considered,” Parker said. “It’s a lot harder than just turning off a light switch.”

Parker was involved in installing a variable-frequency drive onto one of the plant’s well pumps. Before putting it in, the well would operate at full capacity 24/7. Now, after a year and a half worth of work, it runs at roughly 60 percent while being able to do as much work.

The American Falls Lamb Weston plant has been recognized for its energy-saving ways for the past three years. To earn the award this year, it added improvements to the cold storage warehouse. It also utilizes the natural climate to reduce energy intensity at the plant.

Jon Schutte, the plant’s manager, said there are more energy-saving plans on the way.

He said, “We have a goal to reduce our energy footprint by 20 percent by the year 2020. We are well along that journey and have reduced our water usage by over 30 percent and our emissions by 15 percent.”

The six facilities that received the award are estimated to have saved enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a year.

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