OXFORD — A 6,000-pound wood pellet boiler was installed at the Oxford Elementary School on Wednesday morning, and another will be delivered to the Rowe Elementary School in Norway on Friday.

Both U.S.-made boilers are expected to be online as soon as the end of January, school officials said.

“We’re going to be burning fuel from Maine. That’s big money that stays in Maine,” SAD 17 Facilities Director David Marshall said. The district also is looking at grants to install wood pellet boilers in other district schools.

The new boilers are part of an energy savings project that includes about 200 exterior lights converted to LED fixtures and 400 interior lights at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris and Harrison, Waterford, Otisfield and Oxford elementary schools.

A $1,024,807 Qualified School Construction Bond is paying for the project. The SAD 17 Board of Directors contracted with Siemens Building Technologies Inc. last summer for two wood pellet boilers at a cost of $752,685.

Charles Roman, senior project manager for Siemens Building Technologies was on site for the delivery of the Oxford boiler. He said the units arrived from New York to Cote Crane & Rigging of Auburn on Monday.

The boiler will be the primary heating source for the school. It will be hooked up to an auger — a structure similar to a silo — where the pellets will be stored.

The school board recently approved a five-year bid for wood pellets from Maine Wood Pellet Co. of Athens. The bid ranged from $180 per ton the first year to $198 per ton for the fifth year. It was the lowest of five submitted.

School officials began investigating alternative energy projects in 2007, when they hired Siemens to install lighting and other energy-saving devices in the schools. Under the terms of the performance contracts, the company must guarantee savings for the school district each year. If the guarantee is not met, Siemens must reimburse the difference between the guaranteed amount and the actual savings.

In 2007, officials said the projects demonstrated a 17 to 30 percent reduction in annual energy consumption and an annual savings of $247,942.

In 2008, SAD 17 realized $327,000 in energy savings in one year.

By 2012, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School had a $2 million biomass furnace installed. Officials decided the savings was enough to investigate using pellet boilers at other schools.

“A wood chip boiler is way more expensive to buy than wood pellet,” Marshall said. “But the fuel is much less expensive. We’re seeing a significant savings above what we thought we could get,” he said.

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