Alta Forest Products Wins Energy Award

By Elissa Glassman

The production line at Alta Forest Products that makes cedar fence pickets.

Alta Forest Products of Naples is one of four 2020 Idaho award recipients for Excellence in Industrial Energy Efficiency.

Headquartered in Chehalis, Washington, Alta is the world’s largest producer of wood fence boards, specializing in western red cedar, and other premium species found in the Pacific and Inland Northwest forests.

In addition to producing fence boards and pallet stock lumber, Alta’s zero-wood waste sawmills produce byproducts such as wood chips, sawdust, mulch, and bio-fuel.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced the winners on August 12. This award acknowledges Idaho companies that exhibit leadership in their communities by implementing energy-efficiency measures at their local facilities and buildings.

The team responsible for installing the energy conservation project at Alta. Bottom row, from left, electricians Sterling Woomert and Dale Dryer. Top, from left, electrician Jacob Parker, Operations Manager Ryan Comer, and lead electrician Kelley Kimball.

Alta replaced a three-saw line with a nine-saw line with 10 variable-frequency drives to control the line motors. It also replaced a variety of lights with LEDs to save energy, improve safety, and provide a better working environment for employees.

The project was managed by Ryan Comer, Alta Forest Products LLC Operations Manager in Naples.

The Naples sawmill excels in producing cedar fencing slats called pickets from trees harvested in the region. That involves sawing post-like boards called flitches using a series of nine 30-horsepower saws running continuously down a processing line.

The plant now uses much less energy thanks in part to Northern Lights’ energy-saving industrial rebate program through the Bonneville Power Administration