Unity College has been awarded $43,738 in federal stimulus funds to install a wood pellet heating system in the campus library. The proposal was awarded through Efficiency Maine‘s Demonstration Projects program, intended to install and showcase renewable energy applications throughout the state. The college has partnered with ReVision Heat to submit the application and implement the project. The Maine-based company is the sister organization of ReVision Energy, the state’s leading contractor for solar hot water and solar PV installation.
According to the application (you can read the full text here (pdf)):
We have spent an average of $14,205 annually to heat the library over the last five years. Switching to wood pellets would displace an average of 5,745 gallons of fuel oil annually.
We expect the switch from fuel oil to Maine-made hardwood pellets could cut annual heating costs in the library by more than half. The 13,000 square-foot library — which serves the college and five surrounding communities — is the fourth largest fuel oil consumer on campus. According to a heat loss calculation study conducted last year, the current 1968-model oil boiler, though reliable, is grossly oversized and inefficient; it will be removed following the spring semester to make way for a new OkoFEN automatic pellet system (pictured right).