Monadnock Paper Mills, Inc. in Bennington, NH, is the oldest continuously operating paper mill in the United States. Founded in 1819 (shortly after the War of 1812), Monadnock works with the world’s leading brands to craft and customize environmentally responsible performance papers for commercial printing, packaging, and technical applications. With nearly 200 employees, the mill is also one of the area’s largest employers.
Monadnock is committed to responsible environmental stewardship. The company is Forest Stewardship Council-certified (ensuring responsible use of forest resources) and all its papers are manufactured carbon neutral, with 100 percent renewable electricity.
It’s no surprise that a company this dedicated to the environment has been consistently at the forefront of energy efficiency for more than 40 years. Helping Monadnock for at least 15 years has been Eversource, partnering on 22 energy efficiency projects, including installation of more efficient motors, LED lighting throughout the plant, HVAC upgrades, production line equipment improvements, and compressed air system improvements. Specifics include:
installation of LED lighting throughout the production facility, as well as the iconic neon Monadnock sign
replacing three surface aerators for their waste water lagoon system with high efficiency systems
eliminating two load levelers in the treatment plant
replacing eight roof-top air conditioners with high efficiency models
making the paper machines more energy-efficient with an upgraded Honeywell temperature controller and insulated high-temperature condensate return lines
installing a "low-fire" boiler fuel gun and controls to run coating equipment in "non-heating" seasons, thus reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions from thermal energy generation
In total, these projects have garnered impressive results, including savings of nearly 1.6 million kWh, with a cost savings of more than $191,000 each year.
Monadnock also has an impressive record of reducing water use. The company used to use 1.2 million gallons per day. Today, it uses half that amountpercent to produce the same amount of paper. Through rigorous filtration, the water leaving the factory is actually cleaner than the water in the Contoocook River, (where it’s discharged.)
This year, Monadnock is focusing heavily on reducing solid waste to landfill. s goal is to map the waste stream and determine the viability of zero manufacturing waste to landfill. The company also has a very active employee Green Team, which identifies opportunities for environmental impact reductions, and communicates the results across all levels of the company to promote transparency and awareness.
Monadnock’s pride in its energy efficiency success is evident in its efforts to help other businesses become more energy efficient. The company periodically hosts a Sustainability Fair that attracts numerous businesses with a purpose of “doing well by doing good.” Employees and local residents attending the fair learn more about sustainable solutions ranging from composting, alternative energy, ride-sharing and the many products that are made locally. Monadnock also participates in and supports various organizations, like the NH Businesses for Social Responsibility, to further share their practices and successes with others.
For Monadnock Chairman and CEO Richard Verney, environmental and community stewardship are essential components of his company’s success. To Verney, sustainability is more than good business. It’s also personal. “From my home I can see the steam coming up from the mill and it’s literally right in my backyard. All of us want to have a clean back yard. You have the responsibility to maintain a clean environment and support the community in which you are the major employer,” he said.
By making energy efficiency a mainstay of its culture and business practices, and by producing paper products that are environmentally friendly, Monadnock continues to thrive in an era when so many other paper mills have closed. It’s a company that is always willing to turn the page and discover even more ways to integrate efficiency into its future chapters.
Annual energy savings (kwh/yr): 1,595,014
Annual energy savings (therms/yr): 500
Total savings ($): 191,402
Total project cost ($): 587,229
Incentive dollars ($): 213,716
Customer cost ($): 373,513
Simple payback (yrs): 2.0