Of all the impressive machinery at Boise Cascade’s Kinzua Lumber sawmill in Pilot Rock, a simple dry-erase board is what really stood out to J.P. Batmale.

Written on the board is a seemingly routine reminder for workers in the planer to shut off their chipper and sawdust blower when finished. But Batmale, industrial program manager with the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon, sees it as evidence of a larger change in a culture emphasizing efficiency. “That’s what this whole thing is about for us,” Batmale said during a tour of the mill Wednesday.

It takes a lot of energy to run the saws, belts and edgers that make Kinzua Lumber hum to the tune 50 million board feet per year. The mill formed its own employee-led energy team last year to cut waste and find savings, with help from the Energy Trust’s Strategic Energy Management initiative.

By putting new procedures in place, the team shaved 14 percent off the mill’s annual energy use by March 2013 — more than 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity, or enough to power about 160 homes for the year.

The Trust pays 2 cents per kilowatt hour in cash incentives for companies that participate in the strategic management program. Batmale presented Kinzua Lumber with a check for $36,075 Wednesday, adding to the mill’s trimming of $99,000 off its annual energy bill.

From Oregon Public Broadcasting: http://www.opb.org/news/article/mill-cuts-down-the-kilowatts/