Steamboat Springs school district installs new biomass heat system
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado ” A school district in this mountain region is taking a giant step toward renewable energy with a new heating system that relies on wood pellets for fuel.
The South Routt School District will spend the next few months replacing coal-fired boilers with the biomass system that will use wood pellets from plants in nearby Kremmling or Walden. It also will install a backup propane heating system.
The biomass boiler will heat Soroco Middle School and geothermal pipes will be added to heat Soroco High School and South Routt Elementary School in Yampa.
“It’s not just replacing boilers,” South Routt Superintendent Kelly Reed said Friday during a gathering at the Denver Art Museum.
“It’s going in and restructuring the entire heating system of the district so that everything will be more efficient,” Reed said.
The change is part of a $4.1 million project to improve energy efficiency in schools and buildings, and could save the district $10,000 a year, Reed said. The money involved compares with the district’s overall 2007-08 budget of $3.8 million.
“The size of the project is amazing for the size of the district,” Reed said. “Sometimes, the heavens look down on you.”
The project was financed by state grants and a $1.57 million bond issue approved in November.
The move follows similar measures at other schools around Colorado to take advantage of renewable energy sources. For example, the Wray School District on the Eastern Plains has built a wind turbine plant to help offset electricity costs.
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