Tolko Industries Ltd.

Hitting 5 per cent target would save $48,000 a year

Tolko Industries is a Canadian-owned forest products company with marketing and manufacturing facilities throughout western Canada. Like every player in the industry, the company has been wrangling with the kind of economic pressures that call out for innovative thinking.

With sights set equally on environmental responsibility and on cutting unnecessary costs, the company has been active in energy conservation for years. The catch is, this activity was mostly limited to individual projects and they hadn’t yet formulated a plan to make saving energy an everyday part of their culture.

That’s why they approached Power Smart about taking part in our Employee Energy Awareness program. In the spring of 2008, with our support, Tolko began the launch of Power Challenge – an ambitious campaign to get employees in every corner of the company passionate about saving energy.

The solution

As a part of our Employee Energy Awareness program, Tolko was able to access a wide range of free and low-cost resources – including a customized planning workshop, support and resources for their kick-off event, and educational and awareness materials.

Step one for Tolko was a full-day planning workshop, which was attended by key staff from each division. The participants prepared a plan that included rollouts at each of their divisions. The Lavington division, just 20 km west of Vernon, was the first scheduled to launch.

With the goal of reducing their division’s energy consumption by 5% by 2009, the Lavington Power Challenge team got straight to work, engaging with employees and finding opportunities to save. It didn’t take long to start seeing results.

With the help of their fellow employees, the team quickly zeroed in on the pneumatic conveyance system as a good candidate for daily shutdown. With an estimated annual savings of 522 megawatt hours, or $17,500, each year, they realized that the daily shutdown effort was more than worth it.

The results

According to Power Challenge Team Leader Colin Rouck, fellow team member Jarret Pereboom spent a couple of weeks formalizing a list of further conservation opportunities.

“He also did a complete tour of all shifts and talked one-on-one with all employees to get their ideas and suggestions on the list,” says Rouck. “We now are able to post this list for the employees, along with our weekly consumption graph, so they can see what has been done so far and the results that have been produced from some of their suggestions.”

There’s definitely been no shortage of suggestions. Within just a couple of months, Tolko employees had generated four dozen unique cost-saving ideas.

Once their ideas have been put into action, the Power Challenge team at Lavington expects the mill to comfortably surpass their 5% reduction goal. That alone will mean savings upwards of $48,000 each and every year.

Even more importantly, their efforts have planted the seeds for a culture of conservation to take root in every corner of the company – which means that their savings will continue to grow, year after year.

The benefits

Remarkable savings. Tolko’s awareness initiatives have already saved tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs.

Future dividends. Now on the path to a true culture of conservation, Tolko will be uncovering more ways to save for years to come.

Smaller footprint. Tolko’s energy smarts have brought them one step closer to their own long-term environmental goals.