PARIS — Work is under way to prepare the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School boiler room for the arrival of a $2 million biomass boiler in the fall.

Facilities Director David Marshall said Friday that workers have begun to dismantle the equipment in the boiler room, removing one boiler and moving two others about 3 feet to make room for the necessary augers for the biomass heater.

The work will be done by the time students and staff return to school in late August, Marshall said.

The Oxford Hills School District project will include a wood chip storage unit inside the existing boiler room and an extension of the boiler room to accommodate the new unit. The plan is to install the system by the next heating system.

The conversion project from oil to wood chips at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School was planned to address escalating fuel costs and to reduce dependence on foreign oil sources, school officials have said.

Marshall said the biomass boiler has been ordered from Austria and is expected to arrive in November.

Marshall said the units are built in Austria and Germany where the technology is more advanced than in the United States because of Europe’s longtime dependence on alternative fuel sources due the high costs of energy.

The Oxford Hills School District was awarded a $750,000 by the state Department of Conservation for the project. With voter approval in May, officials were able to complete the paperwork for a zero interest loan to pay for the remainder of the project. The bond will save about $600,000 over the financing period, officials said.

Repayment of the bond will be covered by the energy savings in addition to yielding significant long-term savings, officials said. In the first year the project is expected to begin saving the district as much as $120,000 a year in fuel savings.

Officials have also said the project will reduce the consumption of fossil fuel by 88,593 gallons or 90 percent of current usage. It will also reduce production of greenhouse gases by 1,232,436 pounds per year including 1,214,264 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Marshall said he is particularly pleased that the contractor, Siemens Energy, has brought in local workers from Bancroft Contracting of Paris to do some of the work.

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