The Grammar School installs wood pellet heating system

PUTNEY — The Grammar School is excited to announce the installation of a new biomass wood pellet heating system for the main building to replace its 16-year-old wood chip/oil boiler.

Building manager Chris Harlow and business manager Deb Gray researched many pellet systems before choosing Froling Energy of Peterborough, N.H. to design and install the system for TGS.

Froling Energy estimates that in 10 years the entire system will be paid for from the savings in fuel costs. The company said that, during the past several years, the school has used an average of 4,400 gallons of fuel oil during the heating season, which will be replaced by an average of 44 tons of pellets, a cost savings of $5000 per year.

“The school ends up with a system that is more reliable [than the old one], with less maintenance and zero fossil fuel use,” Froling's Jim Van Balkenburgh said.

The two new 60-fuel biomass boilers will have a total maximum output of 400,000 BTUs per hour, burning at 83 percent efficiency on average and netting 13,500 BTUs per ton of pellets. They are housed in the old chip house, and there reportedly is little noticeable difference from the outside.

From the basement, however, instead of the chip hopper there are now two new shiny red boilers. As Gray says, “It looks like the boiler room of the Titanic down there.”

The biomass system furthers The Grammar School's commitment to use more sustainable and local sources of energy. The school's solar panel array, installed and funded by the local solar company Soveren in 2012, generates enough power to cover most of the school's electrical needs.

Soveren owner Peter Thurell noted that when the panels are purchased by TGS, that cost will be balanced by the power produced. He says that when TGS has paid off the purchase price, “The system should meet the school's electricity requirements for another 35 years or so for free, except for maintenance and occasional inverter repairs.”

TGS wrote that it is proud of these initiatives that support its educational philosophy.

Students in the Upper School will monitor energy output and usage throughout the year, as the school continues to pursue green and sustainable sources of energy.

Founded in 1960, The Grammar School is an independent school located in Putney, serving preschool through eighth grade.

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