Sustainability Options in Pulp and Paper Making: Costs of Conserved Energy and Carbon Reduction in the U.S.
Adoption of energy efficient technologies is considered a key sustainability strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in global industries. This article aims to assess costs of energy savings and carbon reduction from applying energy efficiency technologies in the US pulp and paper sector. Applicable efficiency measures were identified and their cost effectiveness was evaluated in two historical years – 1994 and 2006. Potential savings of final energy use resulting from applicable sustainability options were estimated as 707 PJ in 1994 and 1064 PJ in 2006, respectively, corresponding to approximately 32% of the sector's annual final energy use in 1994 and 62% in 2006. The associated carbon-emission reduction was 8.1 million ton of carbon (MtC) in 1994 and 11.8 MtC in 2006, corresponding to 26% and 45% of sector's total energy-related carbon emissions in 1994 and 2006, respectively. Using the concepts of cost of conserved energy and cost of carbon reduction, we estimated that cost effective sustainability options contributed to final energy savings in the range of 15–25% of the annual energy use, and carbon-emission reduction from 14% to 20% of annual carbon emissions from the sector.