PARIS – Oxford Hills Middle School is preparing for a wood pellet heating system, Superintendent Rick Colpitts told the SAD 17 board of directors Monday night.

The oil boiler at the school on Pine Street is being taken out, he said.

In June, SAD 17 received a $1.5 million allocation for a Qualified Energy Conservation Bond and directors recommended the project go forward.

It involves replacing three oil burners at the Middle School and the oil burner at Paris Elementary School with the wood pellet boilers. Propane will be used as a backup system. Old steam heating units in the middle school gymnasium also will be removed.

School officials have said the project will cost the district about $22,000 a year for 20 years but will reduce energy costs and fuel consumption and address some environmental issues.

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.

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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 2012, a biomass boiler was installed at the high school. 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.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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