Neenah Inc.’s Whiting Mill Gets 50001 Ready

“Attainment of 50001 Ready gives the mill the recognition it richly deserves for these efforts and will help the facility sustain and expand its energy savings over time.”

— Jay Wrobel, DOE

Does your mill need to improve its energy management system? The US Department of Energy (DOE) has established its 50001 Ready protocol to help mills create a structured energy program that can help facilities, including pulp and paper mills, reduce operational costs and improve risk management, among other benefits.

One such mill is Neenah Inc.’s Whiting paper mill in Stevens Point, WI. As reported on the DOE website, the energy management system at the Whiting mill recently attained 50001 Ready status. The mill’s energy team considers 50001 Ready a useful way to enhance its ongoing efforts to streamline daily operations at the mill, reduce its energy footprint, and capitalize on utility incentives to save energy. The mill uses electricity and natural gas to produce a range of fine papers for global markets and is committed to the responsible use of natural resources.

“Like many major energy users, Neenah Inc.’s Whiting mill has been working closely with a utility-funded program to improve its energy performance,” said Jay Wrobel, manager of technical assistance for the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. “Attainment of 50001 Ready gives the mill the recognition it richly deserves for these efforts and will help the facility sustain and expand its energy savings over time.”

Procedures prompted by 50001 Ready strengthen the procedures and systems that the mill implemented through its work with Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program. 50001 Ready confirms the ongoing value of the mill’s energy management system (EnMS) in generating continuous savings and has further elevated awareness of energy efficiency within Neenah’s workforce. The mill’s energy management activities have clarified standard operating procedures and work instructions, helping to improve safety and operational efficiency at the mill while also reducing maintenance and downtime.

“Implementing a structured energy management program as part of 50001 Ready helped the Neenah Inc. Whiting Mill discover the benefits of energy efficiency,” said Jon Waterman, process engineer at the Neenah Inc. Whiting mill and a member of TAPPI Young Professionals Division. “Projects that provide energy savings are facilitated by our relationship with Focus on Energy to ensure timely completion within budget.”

Neenah Inc. is a global manufacturer specializing in an innovative, solutions-based portfolio of fine paper and technical products, including filters for automotive and industrial applications. As a significant user of electricity and natural gas, the company emphasizes the responsible use of water, energy, and other resources.

Whiting’s Energy Team learned about 50001 Ready after joining Wisconsin’s utility-funded energy efficiency and renewable resource program, Focus on Energy. The mill’s manager and employees recognized 50001 Ready as a way to elevate the facility’s ongoing efforts to streamline daily operations, reduce the mill’s energy footprint, and take advantage of utility incentives to save energy.

Connecting monthly energy savings to specific energy activities or projects has enabled the Energy Team to incorporate its most successful measures into other parts of the mill. The 50001 Ready process strengthened existing energy management practices by adding useful measurement and evaluation steps and helped the facility obtain national recognition for its energy achievements. Many factors helped the mill achieve success:

•50001 Ready Implementation: The Whiting mill’s Energy Team found the action items in the 50001 Ready Navigator tool very useful. The team’s earlier work in connection with the Focus on Energy program had generated a policy, action plan, and performance metrics, so only a few additional (yet valuable) steps were needed to complete the 50001 Ready process.

•Energy Team: The mill’s existing six-person Energy Team is led by the mill’s environmental engineer; other members represent financial, mechanical, quality, and technical aspects of mill operations. The 50001 Ready procedures have helped the team work to ensure that energy savings will continue, even in the event of personnel changes at the mill. Team meetings include a Focus on Energy consultant who regularly supplies input and updates on utility incentive programs. To keep the entire mill workforce engaged, the team is now developing dashboards to display energy data in worker breakrooms and other locations.

•Energy Performance Modeling: Neenah’s Whiting mill used DOE’s Energy Performance Indicator (EnPI) Lite tool to quantify its natural gas and electricity savings, helping to verify previous calculations and obtain 50001 Ready status.

•Keys to Success: The Whiting Energy Team offers two key tips: (1) track your progress and maintain good documentation to avoid backtracking, and (2) share all energy management documents by placing them in an intranet/shared-drive folder to keep everyone on the same page. The team found it useful to work through the 50001 Ready Navigator in conjunction with the Strategic Energy Management manual provided by Focus on Energy.

Implementing an energy management system helped the mill increase its production efficiency, accelerate machine speeds, and save on raw materials. Energy efficiency measures implemented in 2016 and 2017 provided over 530,000 therms/year of natural gas savings and 1.6 million kWh/year of electricity savings. Achieving 50001 Ready recognition has confirmed the ongoing value of the mill’s energy management system (EnMS) in generating continuous savings, further elevating awareness of energy efficiency within the Whiting workforce. The mill’s energy management activities have strengthened standard operating procedures and work instructions, which have helped to improve both safety and operational efficiency at the mill, leading to reduced maintenance and downtime.

50001 Ready activities have reinforced the value of systematic energy management and support the Whiting mill’s efforts to encourage mill-wide awareness of opportunities for energy savings. Benefits of 50001 Ready beyond energy savings have heightened corporate interest in energy management and may encourage even greater investment in future energy management projects.

The DOE’s 50001 Ready program is a self-guided approach for facilities to establish an energy management system and self-attest to the structure of ISO 50001, a voluntary global standard for energy management systems in industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities.
Only three steps are needed to earn 50001 Ready recognition:
1. Complete the 25 tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator.
Follow the guidance and track your progress through the 50001 Ready Navigator, an online guide provided by DOE.

2. Self-attest to their completion.
Submit a simple self-attestation form to confirm the establishment of an energy management system.

3. Measure and improve energy performance over time.
For initial 50001 Ready recognition, organizations must report facility-level energy consumption for operations included in their 50001 Ready EnMS. In subsequent years, organizations must demonstrate continued performance improvement.

The 50001 Ready program is not a certification program, and does not require any third-party audits or verification. Instead, the program offers a no-cost way to receive recognition for establishing a business practice around energy.

No matter how large or small your organization, implementing a structured energy management system can be a key step to:
•Cutting operational costs
•Achieving continual operational improvement
•Improving risk management
•Staying competitive in the marketplace

To find out how the 50001 Ready program can benefit your company, and how to start instituting a culture of structured energy management at your facility, visit the DOE website. Or, learn more about the DOE’s Enpi Lite And Energy Performance Calculators.