This carbon-neutral bakery produces 100% carbs and 0% carbon

Pile of different types of freshly baked bread
Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance (Getty Images)

You can’t spell “carbon” without “carb,” but Hudson Valley bakery Bread Alone is damned well gonna try. Founded in 1983, Bread Alone is renovating its Boiceville, New York, location to become what the brand says is the first carbon-neutral bakery in the country, local news outlet the Times Union reports.

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To attain total carbon neutrality, the bakery first tackled its overall energy usage. Per the Times Union, Bread Alone’s new heating and cooling systems will rely on air source heat pumps, which use zero fossil fuels. Unlike most commercial kitchens, Bread Alone won’t run propane gas lines: instead it will use a mix of solar-powered electricity and wood-fired ovens to bake the loaves.

To do this, Bread Alone worked with an oven manufacturer to design a propane and natural gas-free system that runs on electricity—all of which will come from solar panels surrounding the bakery. Finally, the bakery will also continue to use its trusty Parisian wood-fired ovens, fueled with scrap wood from furniture makers in the area to avoid cutting down more trees. (Quick note here: while some people argue that burning wood isn’t carbon neutral, the Times Union mentions that the Environmental Protection Agency declared the burning of wood to be carbon neutral in 2018. Bread Alone is using pre-harvested wood, which avoids cutting down additional trees.) The brand expects the carbon-neutral operation to be fully functional later this summer.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

northbx
burner'down

Even though burning wood may be carbon-neutral (presumably because wood is a renewable resource), it generates particulate pollution that is directly linked to poorer local air quality. And if they’re burning scrap wood from furniture manufacturing, are they burning the glues, stains and varnishes that may be used in that process? Those are not nice compounds to be pumping into the air, either.