December 14, 2017

D-R High School is Getting New State-of-the-Art Boiler System

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With winter right around the corner the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District is getting prepared, with a new state-of-the-art boiler system at the high school. The district is installing a new biomass wood-burning boiler from Viessmann that is expected to save the school department thousands of dollars in energy costs. “We are embarking on something pretty significant. There are not too many districts in the area with this kind of system,” David Nappi, director of buildings, grounds and operations, said.

The new system takes wood chips, sends them to a burner and runs hot water through it. The hot water is stored in a tank to be used for heating. The high school has forced hot water heat in the classrooms. The system also has variable frequency devices (VFD’s) attached to the pumps that tell the pumps to go fast or slow depending on the temperature needs.  “It is very high tech,” Nappi said.

The district entered into a performance contract with Trane, Inc. a few years ago as part of a Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources program. Phase 1 of the project involved installing two new two high-efficiency oil boilers at the high school. In Phase 2, new boiler systems were put in at the elementary schools and middle school, which utilize natural gas. These upgrades are saving the district a significant amount in energy costs. “Over the last five years, 2012 through 2015, the fuel oil costs at the High School have been $200,000 per year. With the installation of the two new fuel oil boilers the fuel cost, in 2016, was $62,542. The Bio Mass Boiler will provide an additional reduction in oil fuel of $49,783 per year,” said Business Manager Catherine Antonellis in an email.

The new wood-burning boiler lowers the need for the oil burners at the high school, says Nappi. “The district does not have access to gas at the high school and the Bio Mass boiler provides an alternative energy source,” Antonellis said.

The cost of the boiler is included in the overall cost of the equipment upgrades that the district has entered into with TRANE. Through its agreement with Trane, the district has, with Phase 1 and 2 of the contract, provided more than $7.2 million of capital equipment upgrades. “We’re looking at what we can do to improve things without going to the towns for funding,” said Nappi.

There aren’t many districts that can say all their boilers are brand new, says Nappi. He says the upgrades will ensure that the district won’t have any problems for 25 years. “It’s a win-win for the district,” Nappi said. The district is also looking at other ways to save energy costs. “In addition the district is installing solar canopies in the parking areas of each campus. The solar canopies will provide 75% of the electrical usage for the district,” Antonellis said.

The new system is expected to be operational sometime this month.

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