The enormous price increases on fossil fuels in the 1970s and the consequent higher unit costs of industrial products have sharpened awareness of the importance of minimizing energy consumption in the industrial sector. Many developed countries accord high priority to energy conservation and management, and apply a variety of measures to achieve economies.
The recent fall in crude oil prices can at best be taken as a short-term advantage. This opportunity facilitates the adoption of energy conservation measures aimed at realistic long-term solutions to future price rises resulting from expected shortages.
Energy conservation has played an important role in improving energy efficiency in forest industries of industrialized countries. Forest industries in the developing countries which depend on imported fuel can also benefit from energy conservation to improve their efficiency and reduce their dependence on foreign currency.
This document deals with small- and medium-scale sawmilling, plywood and particleboard manufacturing industries, but several comments and recommendations are also applicable to larger and more sophisticated units, also found in developed countries.
The aim of this paper is to make government departments, industry planners and investors aware of the importance of energy conservation in the mechanical wood industries in the developing countries. Thus, it provides the reader with an overview of what is available to the industry and places the role of energy in proper perspective.