Wisconsin Lumber Company Makes Energy Upgrades, Saves Thousands

Arbor Vitae, Wis.

Arbor Vitae, Wis. – Years of additions and alterations had left Pukall Lumber with a costly problem: a shavings collection system that was very inefficient at moving the shavings, via blowers, from one end of their facility to the other.

Enter FOCUS ON ENERGY®, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resource program, and an Energy Advisor with the Program.

“Energy Advisor Kelly Kavanagh listened to what we wanted to do [and] took time to evaluate the project, including calculating the energy savings for us,” said Pukall Lumber President Rick Wilson.

The final project involved removing or consolidating the existing blower motors used in the shavings collection process, going from five to two, and shortening the distance to the shavings collection trailers. For making this investment in energy efficiency, Focus on Energy gave Pukall Lumber a financial incentive check for $15,770.

“The cost of the project was significant and we would not have completed the project without technical and financial assistance from Focus on Energy,” Wilson noted. “The project has enabled us to work more efficiently and saved us thousands of dollars in electricity costs.”

In fact, estimated energy savings from this upgrade are more than $22,600 and, combined with the financial incentive, mean the investment in this project should pay for itself in two years. The kilowatt-hour energy savings over the life of the new equipment is enough to meet the electricity needs of 430 homes for a full year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.

In recent years, Wilson and Pukall Lumber have worked with Focus on Energy on several additional energy efficiency projects. The business upgraded to LED lighting, added variable frequency drives to control the energy use of its kilns and replaced its pneumatic sawmill carriage with a hydraulic unit that uses much less energy.

Pukall Lumber was eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives Focus on Energy offers because it is a ratepayer of WPS, one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that partner in the Program.

A third-party evaluation noted Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation. It also found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates more than $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced pollution and reduced energy costs.

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