WASHINGTON DC — With sustainability top of mind across various industries, including commercial baking, ENERGY STAR certification is one way bakeries can identify and celebrate their efforts at integrating these practices.

At the Bakers Fly-In and Policy Summit, held June 11-13 in Washington DC, attendees learned about the certification and the process to earn the recognition during the “ENERGY STAR Commitment to Baking” policy session.

ENERGY STAR certification, a program developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recognizes manufacturing plants that are in the top 25% for energy efficiency in their respective sectors. Year after year, this has included bakeries including Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU), Flowers Foods, Crown Bakeries and Klosterman Baking Co.

Elizabeth Dutrow, manager of ENERGY STAR industrial partnerships at the EPA, and Chris Wolfe, senior director of environmental and sustainability for BBU, presented on the industry’s long-standing voluntary partnership with the EPA, which originated in 2008.


Dutrow shared that the primary goals of the partnership are to help bakers improve energy management and performance and save money. To do so, the EPA created Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs) to help bakers measure and improve their performance.

“The EPI is a plant energy performance benchmarking tool that you put your plant data in from the privacy of your office, and you can figure out how well your plant is doing compared to the rest of the industry,” she explained.

The first benchmarking tool came out in 2010 for cookies and crackers. A second tool for commercial bread and rolls launched in 2016. There is also an energy guide to support bakeries looking for ways to improve energy efficiency.

For commercial bakeries interested in earning ENERGY STAR certification, the best way to begin is by filling out the benchmark tools — one for commercial bread and roll bakers along with another for cookie and cracker bakeries — available on the ENERGY STAR website.

As of this year, 55 unique bread and roll bakeries and 25 unique cookie and cracker facilities have been ENERGY STAR certified since 2016.


Dutrow shared that by inputting a facility’s data, bakers will receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score as a reflection of how the plant is performing. Those with a score of 75 are higher are eligible for the certification.

“If you have a 75 or higher, the decision then is, ‘Do I want certification?’” she continued. “I always tell people to look at their compliance with environmental regulations … If your compliance is fine, let us know that you want to be certified, and we will go about doing a screening ourselves.”

Wolfe also noted that bakers need to have their facility’s production information readily available. This includes how many pounds of product baked, including foodways, and energy usage such as kilowatt hours and natural gas.

“It’s information I guarantee you already have,” he shared. “You run it through the program, they’ll give you a score and you can either use it to look at means to get to 75 or if you’re above 75, make the decision to do it and then reach out to a PE [professional engineer] for verification.”


As of this year, 55 unique bread and roll bakeries and 25 unique cookie and cracker facilities have been certified since 2016.

To help bakeries celebrate their ENERGY STAR accomplishments, the EPA created the plant certification and banners and flags featuring the ENERGY STAR logo, which provides a visual recognition that a facility meets EPA’s strict energy performance levels.

“When you associate with the label, you associate with a label that is trustworthy and something people think of and regard as good for the environment,” Dutrow noted.

In addition to highlighting a facility’s energy use, the label can also attract employees.

“It’s very important to consumers, but we use it to recruit our future leaders because the new associates value the work we’re doing in sustainability, and they recognize that logo,” Wolfe said.