WILTON – Energy-efficiency measures, including installation of a wood pellet boiler and new windows, are under way at Academy Hill School.
One of two new pellet boilers manufactured by Viessmann of Austria is being installed at the school, said David Leavitt, director of support services for SAD 9. The other boiler, expected to be delivered in early July, is planned for Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon.
Employees from Thayer Corp. of Auburn worked Tuesday morning on the 9,700-pound boiler. A pellet silo was erected this past spring.
Leavitt expects to use 150,000 tons of pellets to heat the school and its water over the school year. The former boiler burned 20,000 gallons of oil.
Negotiations for wood pellets are being pursued with the pellet mill in Strong, he said.
“As I told the school board, buying pellets locally provides local jobs,” Leavitt said.
Pellet use is expected to save 50 percent of the cost of oil, while wood chips save 25 percent of oil cost. Although there isn’t room at Academy Hill to use chips, with a few changes in augers and mechanical pieces, the system could use either, Leavitt said.
Standing next to the boiler, waiting for installation, is a metal box about 2 feet wide and 4 feet high. It will hold the small amount of ash created by the boiler. Burning the 150,000 tons of pellets, the box should only be about half full of ash, he said.
It shows how pure and clean pellets burn, he said. Routine maintenance is minimal and includes brushing the unit once a year. It’s self-cleaning to some degree, he said. The ashes can be used for compost.
“You won’t even see smoke from the chimney,” Leavitt said.
This fall, he plans to propose a central heating concept for Cascade Brook School, Mt. Blue Middle School and the bus garage, all in Farmington. Thayer Corp. is working on a wood chip proposal for the three buildings. The proposed plans for Mt. Blue High School include using wood-chip and geothermal heat, he said.
Around the front of Academy Hill School on Tuesday, employees of Farmington Construction were installing energy-efficient windows. With the help of federal stimulus money, all windows in the school, except the gymnasium windows, will be replaced, Leavitt said.

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Thayer Corp. employees Mike Klick and Mike Dubois install a new pellet boiler at Academy Hill School in Wilton on Tuesday. The 9,700-pound boiler manufactured in Austria is expected to use 150,000 tons of pellets during the school year. The former boiler used 20,000 gallons of oil.

The pellet boiler installed at Academy Hill School in Wilton on Tuesday will burn 150,000 tons of pellets during the school year, said David Leavitt, director of support services for SAD 9.

David Leavitt, director of support services for SAD 9, talks Tuesday about a new pellet boiler being installed at Academy Hill School in Wilton.


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