For the last two years, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. has taken significant steps to focus on energy efficiency.
Already, the West Kelowna business is being recognized as a leader in that regard.
Gorman Bros. was presented with a Power Smart Leader Award last week—BC Hydro’s highest level of customer recognition, for best in-class approach to energy management.
Curt Kallen, energy manager for Gorman Bros., said the lumber company tries to spread energy management across all aspects of its business.
“We do a variety of projects that range from refrigerated compressed air drying systems to efficient LED lighting,” said Kallen.
“We also do compressed air studies to find out if we have leaks in the main sawmill and the other areas of the plant and identify the leaks and fix them to save energy.”
From 2011 to 2012, Gorman Bros. saved 4.1 gigawatt hours of electricity, or enough to power 372 homes for a year.
The company tracks energy-efficiency as a key performance indicator and has a comprehensive employee engagement program across their multiple sites, ensuring staff are fully on board with energy reduction efforts.
“BC Hydro has said they predict we will need double the power in 20 years in B.C. They’re looking for conservation as a very economically viable way of realizing the extra power that will be required in the future and obtaining that.
“We’re part of the solution.”
It was a slight challenge getting long-term employees to realize the importance of changing processes to promote energy efficiency, but those employees have shown that they get the message, said Kallen.
According to Kallen, Gorman Bros. has about 350 workers at the West Kelowna mill. The Revelstoke and Lumby operations were also recognized for being energy efficient.
The 2012 bi-annual Power Smart Excellence Awards recognized 27 winners in 11 categories.
Since 2008, Power Smart has saved 3,400 gigawatt hours a year of electricity—enough to power 309,000 B.C. homes.