The PaperWorks Baldwinsville plant has been continually active over the past 5 years identifying and implementing energy-saving initiatives. It started with a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY). In attendance were a number of energy management groups including National Grid, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and CHA Consulting Group to provide support and guidance. From this meeting, PaperWorks Team Members in Baldwinsville, NY developed contacts to assist us in identifying energy-saving opportunities, available incentives and grants, and subsidized consulting resources available.
The first project identified with National Grid was to upgrade all our lighting to LED in both the office and manufacturing spaces. By leveraging National Grid’s rebate program, we were able to convert the entire Baldwinsville facility to LED at about 50% of the cost and reap the benefits of reduced energy costs and lamp replacements. In fact, lighting usage was reduced from 25% of the total energy bill to 11%.
The team then focused on energy improvements with upgrades to our compressed air systems. Our existing compressors were over 20 years old and in need of major repair. We were able to combine a new compressor system with a full air leak study with the assistance of CHA Consulting Group and major incentives offered by NSERDA.
We then turned our attention to a full energy study of all the equipment in the plant including hourly loading and costs. Data loggers were set up at the key equipment, and we were able to monitor electrical usage in real-time on each asset. From that analysis, we were able to identify where the bulk of our energy costs were coming from and at what times during the day. The study component of this consulting project was fully funded through CHA Consulting Group and NYSERDA. The results from the study led to the implementation of variable frequency drives and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) upgrades on our baler trim fans that were utilizing 22% of our entire plant’s energy consumption. We were successful in cutting our energy costs by 50% on those trim fans. National Grid funded 50% of the equipment upgrades.
The next step in the journey is considering whether solar or battery-powered systems would reduce overall energy costs in the facility. This project is funded by CHA Consulting Group and NYSERDA from a consulting perspective. National Grid and New York State are offering significant incentives to businesses exploring green energy options.
Energy savings initiatives are an ongoing journey for PaperWorks. To date, our Baldwinsville plant has decreased its energy intensity by 23.7% over the past 5 years. As energy costs continue to rise and the requirement for greener options continues to increase, we will need to continue to take advantage of our strategic partners to achieve ongoing continuous improvement opportunities.