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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Sept/Oct 2002 : Special Section

Special Section

A Wise Energy Strategy

Energy conservation has come a long way from simply turning out the lights when you leave a room, or setting the thermostat to
69°F in the winter. These very basic principles actually embody the cornerstone of energy conservation that International Paper has incorporated into its business strategies. There is a growing awareness that even seemingly small changes can add up to something big. IP looks for opportunities to put good engineering principles to work for environmental benefit and cost savings, by implementing combined heat and power projects (cogeneration), for example. These projects capture the steam generated for its manufacturing processes and use it to generate electric power. In fact, in 2001 International Paper generated over 11 million MWh of cogenerated power at its paper mills. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of power needed to light the city of Memphis, TN, for one year.

Not all major projects the company undertakes at its mills are energy driven, but by considering the energy consequences of the projects it develops, International Paper can do two things. First, it can create opportunities to use less energy to make the same product. That type of conservation is effectively the same as setting its thermostat at 69°F in the winter. In 2001, it took approximately 32.5 million BTUs of energy to produce one ton of unfinished paper at IP’s U.S. pulp and paper mills. In one year, it has made a 4.4 percent improvement. Second, it can capture advantages and opportunities to switch from fossil fuels to biofuels—from fuels that emit greenhouse gasses to carbon neutral fuels. Approximately half of International Paper electricity production is cogenerated by boilers that use carbon neutral fuels such as spent wood pulping liquor, bark and wood residuals. More than 63 percent of the total energy consumption at its U.S. pulp and paper mills comes from self-generated and bio-renewable, carbon-neutral fuels.

Energy projects create value for International Paper in several ways, from improved environmental performance to lower production costs and the wise use of resources. Wise energy use is just one leadership strategy International Paper uses toward creating a truly sustainable enterprise.

Next: - Decathlon Generates Energy Solutions

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