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Sawmill improves efficiency with lighting upgrades and more

​Saving 2.4 million kilowatt hours

In the little town of Princeton, the Weyerhaeuser sawmill is a hub of activity. With enough raw logs to produce 294 million board feet of lumber every year, they process enough wood to frame 30,000 average size homes.

A lot of logs mean a lot of power needed for lumber production and support facilities; 23 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year to be exact. 

But when the US housing market slumped in 2008, the sawmill was in lean times and needed to reduce fixed costs. With support from site leadership, employees recognized that energy reduction would be an effective solution. 

 “With help from FortisBC PowerSense, in 2010 we did a full lighting relamp,” says John McLeod, electrical supervisor, Weyerhaeuser, Princeton. With the energy savings and rebates made available by PowerSense, the mill’s return on investment for the lighting upgrade took less than one year. “Plus the employees love the brighter LED lighting,” adds McLeod. “It makes it much easier for them to do their work.”     

Since the lighting upgrade Weyerhaeuser has installed additional energy timers to production equipment, installed a refridge air dryer to remove moisture from the compressed air system and replaced motors, pumps and compressors with new more efficient models.

The changes go beyond equipment upgrades however. “Weyerhaeuser energy champions and our corporate energy team are actively engaged to find opportunities to improve our energy efficiencies,” says McLeod. “And I really believe that engaging employees in energy efficiency and encouraging small changes to maximize savings brings home results. Changing one light to high efficiency may not make a big change, but change 100 and get 100 employees to turn them off when not needed and you’ve made a big impact.” 

That impact McLeod refers to can be verified. Since the upgrades the mill has saved 2.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity.  The Princeton mill has the highest energy efficiency of any of any of the company’s facilities with dry kilns. 

Make a difference in your company’s energy consumption. Talk to your local PowerSense technical advisor today.