Mohawk Fine Papers Inc.

Thousands of sensors monitor everything from office lighting to smokestack emissions.

Paul Stamas did everything he could to reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint of IT operations at Mohawk Fine Papers Inc.

Then he looked for ways to help the company's non-IT operations go green.

The Cohoes, N.Y.-based manufacturer of recycled, eco-friendly paper consumes more than 100 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year to power facilities that house six paper-manufacturing machines, each the size of a football field. "IT is less than 1% of that," says Stamas, vice president of information technology.

George Milner appreciates what Stamas has accomplished within IT. "Even a reduction of 100 watts is going in the right direction," says Milner, senior vice president of energy, environmental and governmental affairs. But it's how Stamas has applied technology outside of IT that has made the difference.

Last year, Stamas oversaw the implementation of the Infor Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system, designed to optimize the efficiency of manufacturing plants and equipment. The company has also installed thousands of sensors that monitor everything from office lighting to smokestack emissions. It consolidates the data into several systems, including OSIsoft Inc.'s PI System, for analysis. "It's a Web-based system that lets us track, monitor and trend energy consumption in real time," says Milner.

"These sensor models give you much more real-time information than we've ever had before," says Howard Rubin, CEO of Rubin Worldwide, which tracks global technology trends. "Through the sensor system, [Mohawk] has a massive ability to continuously optimize" for peak energy efficiency.

Certainly, IT has done its part internally. Stamas has nearly finished virtualizing the company's servers. By consolidating 20 virtual servers per physical machine, he has cut the number of machines by 75% and reduced data center power needs by 50%. Mohawk also virtualized shop floor PCs, replacing the 100-watt desktops with 10-watt thin-client hardware. And the company deployed webconferencing and Tandberg IP videoconferencing systems. Those systems were used to coordinate the deployment of Infor EAM across six locations last year. "We executed the whole project through Web and videoconferencing," Stamas says.

The investment last August in Infor EAM, which cost "millions of dollars," is already paying off, Stamas says. "As a result of a various initiatives enabled by IT, such as our Enterprise Asset Management implementation in 2008, we have reduced our energy consumption by almost 10%, which translates annually to hundreds of thousands of dollars and carbon-emission reductions in the millions of pounds."

Mohawk's approach to green IT goes beyond what most companies do, says Rubin. "Mohawk has leveraged information technology throughout the whole supply chain," he says.

For the energy Mohawk does use, it buys 110 million kWh of wind-power renewable-energy credits to offset the carbon emissions, Milner says.

There's no single solution from an IT perspective when it comes to managing a green strategy, says Stamas. "It's really about baselining and influencing all kinds of processes and procedures," he adds. "It needs to be pervasive."

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