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Thu, Jul 16, 2020 09:03
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Saving energy

Saving energy was a topic Jim Thompson discussed a few weeks back. With fuel prices at record lows, it seems a weird time to discuss saving energy. But back in the day, when Union Camp was an entity in the 70s and 80s, the company leadership were geniuses at forecasting the paper industry fortunes six months to a year in advance. It seemed when everyone else was doing one thing we were doing another. And some time later, our approach was usually proven the best.

It's like the fabled photograph of Babe Ruth saying his last goodbye to the crowd in 1948, but from the back side. The story of that picture was that the first base line was crowded with photographers and players, so Nat Fein walked behind Babe and took the shot. Mr. Fein was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for it, the first sports photographer to win one.

Being good energy stewards is hard. It's hard because it is an individual's state of mind. So as a leader in an organization, you have to instill this mind set into everyone that they need to think about saving energy all the time. Prime example: Last one out of a room turn off the lights. Ok ok, modern day LED lighting costs pennies to run. But if everyone did the light thing, hundreds times hundreds adds up over time. And a $1,100 electricity bill becomes $950. And for your information, $1,100 is about the monthly electricity cost for our main school building when school is in session.

Saving energy is a lot like air pollution, major events are not that important. It's the day-to-day waste or usage that adds up to big numbers. The Mount St. Helen eruption was a drop in the bucket in the overall scheme of things compared to the human and agriculture affects on our atmosphere, every hour of every day.

As you walk around your organization, look for signs of energy waste in the little things. Think of ways to make saving energy easier, like using motion sensors to turn off lights in unoccupied areas where it is safe to do so.

Energy savings take many forms, like steam and heat. But that's for another day. For now, think of energy as number 2 ... number 1 of course being personnel safety.

Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.



 


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