Irving to Transform Mill With Efficient Lighting, Compressed Air

Thanks to a grant from Efficiency Maine, J.D. Irving will install energy-efficient lighting and air compressors as part of its redevelopment of the saw mill and lumber finishing operation in Nashville Plantation.   The upgrades will save the company an estimated $82,000 per year in energy costs.

With incentives from Efficiency Maine’s Large Customer Program, Irving will replace existing linear fluorescent lights and metal halide fixtures with more energy-efficient high-performance lights and LED lights. Irving will also undertake a new compressed air project including installation of a new cycling refrigerated air dryer and compressor controls.

The total cost of the project is estimated at about $440,000, with annual savings projected to be nearly 909,000 kilowatt hours per year, or roughly the amount of energy used to power 140 Maine homes. In addition to the annual savings, the efficiency measures will reduce the need for energy during peak demand by 141.5 kilowatts.

“Irving Forest Products is committed to a major investment in northern Maine and with this incentive from Efficiency Maine, we are able to expand in the most efficient way possible,” says  Guy Gingras, Electrical Engineer, at Irving. “Without these incentives, the company would not have been able to include these projects in the upgrade and would have been forced to proceed with the existing lighting and a less than optimal air compressor system.”

The project qualifies for an Efficiency Maine incentive in the amount of $181,761, which improves the project’s expected net payback to just over three years.

J.D. Irving has made significant investments in energy-efficient equipment over the years, including two other projects with Efficiency Maine at its Dixfield mill: a back-pressure turbine installation and a kiln optimization project.

Efficiency Maine’s Large Customer Program provides an opportunity for Maine businesses, institutions and governments to compete for funding for large electrical energy efficiency and distributed generation projects.  Funding levels range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $750,000 per facility, up to 50% of the total project costs.

These grants are targeted at many of the biggest energy consumers in the state, those using more than 400 kW. The grants from this program help reduce the up-front capital cost of large energy upgrade projects, often helping projects meet corporate Return on Investment requirements and gain approval.

Efficiency Maine’s Large Customer Program helps the customer pay for the incremental cost – that is, the cost differential between installing an efficient piece of equipment and the cost of a baseline, less efficient piece of equipment.

“Irving has been moving forward with a very aggressive construction plan on the new facility and we are delighted that we were able to offer them assistance at the right time in the process for them to include the very best equipment from the beginning ,” says Ian Burnes, Large Customer Program manager. “We’ve had numerous program participants tell us that if it weren’t for these incentives, either the company would have purchased cheaper, less efficient equipment, or continued with business as usual.”