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We know doing more with less improves margins and profitability, but it can also earn the opportunity to do more with more. That’s certainly the case in the Gulf South region, where several projects promise to transform already-productive lumber mills into top performers for years to come.
To meet standards and improve profitability, we've installed direct-fired continuous-drying kilns, replacing boilers and steam-batch kilns in three of our mills there. It adds up to a win-win for the environment and our bottom line.
To comply with the EPA’s more-stringent boiler-emission standards, effective in January 2016, we considered retrofitting existing boilers, which provide heat for drying wood, until we realized it wasn’t cost-effective in some operations with older equipment. We would have spent millions without an economic return.
The math is different, however, with continuous-drying kilns. They not only comply with the EPA’s air-emission requirements but also offer a variety of operational efficiencies. For example, they’re more energy-efficient and less costly to maintain, and they process more lumber faster. What’s more, they contribute to improved lumber quality, which fetches a higher price in the marketplace.
And, as an added bonus, they also burn green sawdust to produce the heat for drying wood, making the old fuel of bark and sawdust available for other uses in the marketplace. In the end, doing more with more can improve air emissions while improving profitability.