Family farms, local jobs


umpqua ice cream carton on a conveyor belt

A third-generation family business, Umpqua Dairy has been producing and distributing premium dairy products for more than 85 years. Using milk from family farms in Southern Oregon, Umpqua takes pride in setting high product standards and staying ahead of industry changes. The Roseburg manufacturer of milk, ice cream, butter and other products has embraced that same approach to improving energy efficiency in its operations—working with Energy Trust on more than 15 projects since 2003.

One of Umpqua’s first energy upgrades involved overhauling its ammonia refrigeration system, which could not keep up with expanding demand. Energy Trust helped replace two small compressors with a large energy-efficient model and install a new control system to ensure optimal production temperatures.

When it was time to replace production ice cream freezers, Umpqua turned to Energy Trust for help installing three new high-efficiency freezers that scooped 350,000 kilowatt hours from its annual energy use. Umpqua recently built a new ice cream mixing room that tripled capacity and uses the latest in energy-efficient equipment and LED lighting.

“Thanks to Energy Trust, our energy use per unit has dropped steadily and significantly,” said Andy Couch, director of engineering. “We reinvest that savings in new, modern equipment that helps expand our business.”

Altogether, Umpqua achieved annual energy cost savings of $105,000 and received almost $184,000 in Energy Trust cash incentives. According to Couch: “The more we save, the more we can produce, which translates into more jobs and higher wages.”