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Bright Wood Has Saved 9.6 Million kWhs of Electricity Since 2011

[June 17, 2022] Bright Wood’s Madras and Redmond sites have saved over 9.6 million kWh of electricity since 2011. Doing more with less is good for the planet, and it is good for Bright Wood.

Energy is Bright Wood’s third-largest cost behind materials and labor. The Energy Trust of Oregon estimates that Bright Wood saved $695,000 over ten years by using less electricity.


Bright Wood first partnered with the Energy Trust in 2011. At that time, the Madras site consumed 25 million kWh of electricity annually, while the Redmond site used 5 million kWh. Our first Strategic Energy Management (SEM) goal was to cut consumption by 5 percent in 12 months.

Bright Wood exceeded the goal, saving 5.2 million kWh, the equivalent of what 470 homes use in a year. We actually saved even more, but the big-ticket projects (like Madras Central’s new compressed air system and a companywide lighting upgrade) that qualified for Energy Trust incentives did not count towards the goal.

Bright Wood people reduced energy consumption by:

  • Changing habits, so equipment and lights are turned off during breaks and at shift end. We also expanded shutdown procedures to include more equipment.
  • Adding motion detectors to lights and switches to blowers, air compressors, and other equipment so they turn off when not needed or adjust to demand.
  • Upgrading lighting from T12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts to T8 versions.
  • Reducing compress air usage by repairing leaks, installing engineered nozzles on blowoffs, adding shut-off valves to air lines, replacing air-operated pumps with electric versions, and switching to electric leaf blowers for cleanup.

2017 - 2022

With electricity costs rising, Bright Wood decided it was time for another SEM go-around in 2017. This time we signed up for a five-year partnership with the Energy Trust.

“Every year, we have set a companywide goal of saving 5 percent over the previous year, which has been tough to attain,” Wendy Smith, Bright Wood’s Energy Champion for the Madras site, said.

Madras has saved almost 8 million kWh in five years while Redmond conserved over 1.6 million kWh – the combined equivalent of what 770 average homes would use in a year.

Madras now uses 34.5 million kWh annually despite adding two large plants and several new machine centers. Redmond, which is also a larger site than in 2011, uses 5.4 million kWh per year.

Bright Wood people used many of the same strategies that worked so well in 2011. One project replaced 400-watt metal halide fixtures and T8 lights with LEDs.

“We have proven that compressed air projects greatly impact our electric power consumption,” Wendy said. “One new refrigerated air dryer at Plant 8 replaced four drying towers. We installed the new Quick Fix Leak Repair stations, so everyone in every plant can repair air leaks.”

“The new high-speed doors reduce natural gas consumption while keeping the plants at a comfortable working temperature,” Wendy said. “The new doors also helped the fingerjoint plants maintain the correct temperature for glue bonding.”


The latest round of SEM was supposed to end last year, but the Energy Trust gave Bright Wood a one-year extension due to the size of our operations. “Bright Wood is using the extra time to revisit where we started in 2016 and apply everything we’ve learned since then,” Wendy said.

There is more to learn, and Bright Wood is investigating new technologies. “One example is the infrared equipment for the Madras Plant 2 paint drying system that is on order,” Wendy said. “Our people in Support Services and R&D are helping us bring good projects like this to light.”

SEM & Continuous Improvement

Our SEM partnership with Energy Trust ends next year, but our commitment to getting the job done using less energy goes on. Each of us can make a difference just by turning off unneeded lights and equipment and looking for energy waste.

House with lights on
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Strategic Energy Management