NH Schools Add Biomass Plants to Cut Utility Bills
Two school districts in New Hampshire plan to cut their utility bills through two renewable energy and building retrofit programs, saving the schools more than $3.7 million over the next 15 years. The centerpiece of the programs is the installation of a central biomass plant to provide hot water for heating buildings.
Switching two schools in each district to a carbon-neutral fuel source is expected to cut fuel-oil consumption by more than 64,000 gallons and natural gas use by 120,000 therms, resulting in an annual reduction of almost 720 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions.
Honeywell has been awarded the energy projects by the Pembroke School District and Winnisquam Regional School District, which will finance the improvements in part through aid and funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the energy and operational savings generated by the upgrades.
In the Pembroke district, the biomass-fueled plant will heat Pembroke Academy and Three Rivers Middle School. The system will use nearly 1,000 tons of wood chips each year sourced from local suppliers. Honeywell will also upgrade heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls across all buildings in the district.
The Pembroke project builds on a first phase of retrofits by Honeywell completed in 2008 that is expected to save the district more than $1.6 million over 15 years. Together, the projects are expected to reduce the entire districts energy use by more than 45 percent compared to a 2007 baseline.
Honeywell also will install a similar biomass system at Winnisquam Regional School District that will be used to heat the Regional High School and Middle School. The plant will include classroom space to incorporate renewable energy lessons into its vocational programs.
Other improvements include replacing boilers, replacing lighting with more efficient fixtures, and sealing buildings to reduce heat loss, as well as upgrading temperature controls, fuel-oil heaters and steam traps to improve HVAC efficiency.
All upgrades are expected to be completed by November 2010.
Other school districts nationwide including Nashville have also been able to cut their energy costs and CO2 emissions significantly through energy-efficiency improvements.
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