West Fraser is a North American manufacturer that produces a variety of wood products, including lumber, plywood, MDF, LVL and pulp in Western Canada and the Southern US. It is best known as North America’s largest lumber manufacturer. A continuing and crucial challenge for the company is achieving operational efficiencies, and cost-effective production approaches so that its products are competitively priced in global markets.
West Fraser has started several initiatives to reduce waste and energy consumption and lighten its carbon footprint. The company has invested significant capital in bioenergy generation and energy conservation projects that support the move towards accomplishing these goals in sustainability.
Where does Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Custom Energy Solution Program fit in? Through Custom Energy Solutions, the company has been able to dedicate two full-time resources to identify energy conservation projects. Across Alberta, West Fraser has targeted six sawmills, four-panel mills, and a pulp and paper mill as the focus for these initiatives.
In each of these facilities, West Fraser works with skilled professionals from Custom Energy Solutions’ team to identify energy challenges, from lighting to heavy-duty equipment. Switching out inefficient equipment such as old compressors for new, energy-efficient systems is not the only improvement. One of the other benefits of working through the Custom Energy Solutions program is West Fraser simultaneously discovers new opportunities to improve the efficiency and reliability of the equipment. It’s a win-win of energy savings and equipment reliability enhancements.
It’s early in the process to discuss the economic impact of energy savings and emission reduction. However, West Fraser’s experience from similar energy conservation projects suggests that a program like Custom Energy Solutions helps generate compelling business cases. With time, effort, and the right resources, energy reductions as high as 15 per cent can be achieved.
Any businesses aiming to reduce their emissions and promote sustainability should consider participating in the Custom Energy Solutions program – not just to reduce their GHG emissions – but to take advantage of the chance to also discover performance enhancements in their operations at the same time.