PARIS — The SAD 17 board of directors has authorized a $1.5 million energy conservation contract for wood pellet boilers at Paris Elementary School and Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris.

The unanimous vote allows Superintendent Rick Colpitts to enter into a loan agreement with Androscoggin Bank. The money will be issued as a Qualified Energy Conservation Bond at a low interest rate.

Operations Committee Chairman Nick DiConzo said the money will be used to replace three oil burners at Oxford Hills Middle School and the oil burner at Paris Elementary School. Propane will be used as a backup system.

Old steam heating units in the middle school gymnasium also will be removed.

School board members said the project, which was endorsed by both the Operations Committee and the Finance Committee, will cost the district about $22,000 a year for 20 years but will reduce energy costs and fuel consumption and also will address some environmental issues.

The board recently was notified the district’s application for the $1.5 million Qualified Energy Conservation Bond was approved.

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School officials began investigating alternative energy projects in 2007, when they hired Siemens Building Technologies to install lighting and other devices in the schools. Under terms of the contracts, the company must guarantee savings 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.

By 2012, the high school had a biomass boiler installed. Officials decided the savings was enough to investigate using pellet boilers at other schools.

Earlier this year, wood pellet boilers were installed in the Guy E. Rowe Elementary and Oxford Elementary schools in Norway and Oxford, respectively.

Board members said that if the middle school is replaced, the new system could be retrofitted into another school building.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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