From a media release issued by Focus on Energy:

Madison, Wis. (January 20, 2009) — Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, awarded Wausau Paper Corporation $343,274 in 2008 to launch energy saving efforts at its Wisconsin mills.

The cash incentives were used at the Brokaw, Mosinee and Rhinelander locations and will help save more than 3,683,717 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 973,313 therms of natural gas annually – saving enough energy to power 1,370 homes for a year. Wausau Paper will also benefit from a $1,097,000 savings on its utility bills each year.

“We have a measurable reduction in energy use,” said Tim Hasbargen, manager of engineering and utilities at Wausau Paper’s Rhinelander mill. “Our meters tell us that every month.”

A large portion of the funding was used to investigate new technologies and find ways to save energy throughout the company. For example, the Rhinelander mill downsized a pump and motor, then controlled the motor with a variable speed drive. Replacing oversized equipment is an effective way to save energy and money.

“Wausau Paper and Focus on Energy have a long history of working together,” said Ken Williams, director for Focus on Energy’s Business Programs. “The company is committed to saving energy any way it can, as fast as it can. It is one of the outstanding leaders in the paper industry.”

With the help of Focus on Energy, the paper manufacturer is researching additional ways to save energy and improve its bottom line. It has completed a number of feasibility studies on air ventilation, tank agitators, compressed air, dryer improvements, heat recovery, vacuum and hydro improvements to determine which measures would deliver the best return on investment.