AKD Softwoods is a privately owned timber processor of plantation-grown radiata pine. The company owns and maintains an 8000ha plantation estate, operates two sawmills with a log capacity of almost 600,000m3 per annum, kiln drying and downstream processing facilities, as well as a trucking fleet to deliver finished products to market.
In operation for the past 59 years and with an annual turnover of $100m plus, AKD Softwoods is one of 35 Geelong-based businesses who took part in GreenLight, a holistic 12-month materials and resource efficiency program. The program took a collaborative industry network approach, and was delivered by ECO2Sys in partnership with Geelong Manufacturing Council, City of Greater Geelong and Barwon Waste during 2013–14 and funded through the Beyond Waste Fund.
The GreenLight program guided participating businesses as they worked through best practice strategies to avoid and reduce operational waste, including:
Participation in the program gave AKD Softwoods the impetus and motivation to test current business practices. To see where energy and input costs could be reduced, mitigate against risk and increase the sustainability of their day-to-day operations.
Through their participation AKD discovered energy saving projects which include:
The company estimates the total cost for each energy saving project to be:
These are significant costs, but the savings to their energy spend that would follow are also significant and include:
The total dollar benefit the company could expect, should all of their energy saving projects go ahead, adds up to $2.8m pa.
Among the lessons AKD Softwoods say they learned from focusing on ways to reduce their energy and input costs, were the importance of planning and review, spending the time up front to plan (before jumping in) and seeking expert advice. Long-term strategies now being considered by the company include the feasibility of a continuous drying kiln that would use biomass to generate electricity for use, not just on site but also for resale.
I would encourage everyone to investigate resource efficiency. It leads to a more efficient business and has the added benefit of saving considerable money.
David McGinness – Risk Manager, AKD Softwoods
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