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Success Story

Boise Cascade Kinzua Lumber, Pilot Rock

Cutting costs, growing business

In the 14 years that Boise Cascade Kinzua Lumber has worked with Energy Trust, the sawmill slashed 4.7 million kilowatt hours from its annual electricity use.

“We’ve cut energy costs by about $10,000 a month, which keeps us viable in a region where many sawmills have closed,” said Dave Minkler, maintenance supervisor.

What’s most impressive about Boise Cascade’s efforts is that 47 percent of the savings resulted from simple behavioral changes and no- or low-cost operations and maintenance improvements. Participating in Energy Trust’s Strategic Energy Management initiative, the sawmill received technical support and cash incentives that helped employees uncover hidden savings and develop strategies to ensure the savings persist.

“In our first year of SEM, we set a goal to save 14 percent through simple changes like turning off equipment during lunch,” said Minkler. “We developed an energy policy and energy team and got employees very involved. They know the equipment and schedule and have the best ideas.”

When Energy Trust expanded to offer a multiyear Continuous SEM option that helps graduates of first-year SEM further reduce energy waste, Boise Cascade was quick to sign up. “We’re in our second year of Continuous SEM and are seeing positive results,” said Minkler.

According to Minkler: “We’re a big employer in the local economy. The more we save on utility bills, the better. Energy savings help keep us resilient.”