Energy is one of the largest financial burdens in paper production, due to this, it is important to manage energy efficiently to remain competitive in this global industry. However, looking beyond financial benefits of efficiency, Fourstones also views sustainable paper manufacturing as one of our highest priorities. Given the nature of the paper industries reliance on energy, it is only right that we pursue greener alternatives to achieve sustainable paper manufacturing. With this sustainability approach, Fourstones invests in implementing and maintaining green energy alternatives where possible.
One such sustainable energy approach is our renewable source of hydro power at Fourstones Sapphire Paper Mill site in Fife, Scotland. Hydro is by far our greatest green energy provider on site. With careful control of the river Leven, in 2018 we generated a significant amount of electricity, which fed into our electrical network, reducing imported energy from external energy providers. To put this in perspective, Ofgem (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) claims the average annual energy consumption for a household is 3100KW/h, as a result, the sustainable energy generated by Fourstones is equivalent to powering a small village for a year.
The river Leven is such an integral part for the success of delivering this hydro power, that Fourstones helps oversee the management of the loch in which it originates from. Maintaining water levels to not only prevent flooding but also provide safe and habitable conditions for local wildlife, including the birds visiting the local RSPB bird sanctuary.
It is not only renewable energy sources we focus on to achieve sustainable paper manufacturing, but also energy efficient alternatives that lower Fourstones consumption and reduce our sites CO2 footprint. Currently across all Fourstones sites we are actively upgrading our lighting systems from old gas filled technology’s to L.E.D electronic lighting technologies. L.E.D lighting can provide the same Lumens output (brightness) whilst requiring a dramatically reduced amount of energy to run. Even small changes like this have significantly reduced our energy requirements, the equivalent of powering a small housing estate for a year) and helping Fourstones commit to becoming a more environmentally sustainable paper manufacturing business.
Fourstones has also committed to a more sustainable approach of production. One example of this is the continued implementation of variable speed drives which have significantly reduced our energy usage. Variable speed drives are capable of controlling Fourstones paper manufacturing process with greater efficiency. This works by controlling the speed of pumps and fans, automatically altering power when needed. Fourstones further investment in this technology during 2018 reduced our energy consumption, comparable once more to a small housing estate.
Fourstones Sapphire site has been overseen by Electrical Manager Jim Carr since opening in 2010. Mr Carr has overseen many projects on site, including the rebuilding of both paper machines. When asked for a comment on Fourstones sustainable initiatives he said;
“Fourstones is committed to energy saving philosophies. We have shown we understand methods that contribute to an improved electrical efficiency. With solid investment plans and monitoring the evolution of changing technologies, we can adapt and select a number of ways to create a leaner electrical infrastructure. Continuous improvement as technologies become available is key to any modern green site. Going forward and as technologies improve and become more viable, Fourstones are in a position to embrace all relevant applications to meet our targets both in manufactured goods and our continued determination in reducing our carbon footprint.”
As the paper industry continues to grow, so does the need for sustainability. Fourstones plans to embrace these changes, offering excellent products at a lower environmental cost.