Cargill installs energy-efficient lighting in Albert Lea facility

Published 2:39 pm Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cargill, owner of the Albert Lea facility where Schweigert makes its meats products, recently invested approximately $300,000 to install energy efficient lighting throughout the plant.

In addition to improving workplace safety, the reliability of the lighting system has improved because of new fixtures and bulbs, maintenance has been reduced and more than 765,000 kilowatts of electric energy is being saved annually. That is enough power to supply the needs of 67 average American homes for a year, based on December 2011 U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Cargill collaborated with Alliant Energy Corp. to ensure the economic viability of the project.

“An investment in new lighting equipment demonstrates Cargill’s commitment to this facility, as well as to the more than 300 people who work here and the community Schweigert calls home,” stated Maria Wedel, facility general manager. “We’re always looking for ways we can improve our environmental footprint through changes as simple as installing new lighting technology including fixtures and bulbs. As energy costs continue to increase over time, we believe investments such as this are right for the environment, right for our efforts to ensure abundant, safe, nutritious and affordable food to Americans, especially Minnesotans who enjoy Schweigert products, and right for Cargill.”

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Since acquiring the Albert Lea facility in 2008, Cargill has invested nearly $15 million in the plant, including food safety technology, ovens, freezers and other capital improvements. The plant has reduced energy use by 11 percent during that period, as well as reducing landfill waste by initiating a cardboard and paper recycling program.

“We currently have only one planet to live on and the population is growing from 7 billion reached last fall to a United Nations’ estimate of between 9.5 billion to 10 billion people by 2050,” said Wedel. “We want to do our part to ensure the resources are available to nourish earth’s growing population, as well as meet the food needs of Americans in the 21st century. Each action we take to improve resource use will help, and we believe Cargill can lead the way.”