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Biomass Heats New Hampshire EPA Office

The New Hampshire environmental protection and public health agencies just finished installing a multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art biomass heating plant at its facility in Concord.
By Anna Simet | October 24, 2016

Late last week, our friend Charlie Niebling at Innovative Natural Resources Solutions and the New Hampshire Wood Energy Council, let us know about a great story. The state’s environmental protection and public health agencies just finished installing a multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art biomass heating plant at its facility in Concord, New Hampshire. A grand opening was held on Oct. 19, National Bioenergy Day.

Interesting, indeed. The broader EPA can’t seem to come to a consensus on biomass and biogenic emissions, but yet, in some cases, it is choosing it in lieu of other renewable heating/energy sources, and/or natural gas. And one would assume the organization charged with keeping our environment and air clean would practice what it preaches and choose the best option. Perhaps it did.

A little more about the project at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Department of Health and Human Services facility:

It was completed through an innovative financing mechanism in partnership with ConEdison Solutions, and is part of a comprehensive $12.7 million energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrade for facilities in the Meldrim Thomson State Office Park East in Concord.  The heat system features a 2.5-MW Messersmith wood chip boiler with a state-of-the-art electrostatic precipitator to control air emissions. 

And, resounding benefits, which most comparable modern wood heating systems offer, one being supporting local forest landowners and loggers and sustainable forestry practices.

It’s estimated the NHDES/Health and Human Services Building will experience a 33 percent drop in total energy consumption and a greater than 80 percent drop in fossil fuel usage, resulting in an approximate $950,000 energy savings annually. So nearly $1 million per year, which just sounds crazy. That’s a lot of cash.

According to a project news release, other components of the overall energy project include a 57-kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles, nonducted exhaust hoods in state laboratories, and modifications to HVAC systems and their controls.

And just in time for winter.

On that note, as the cool weather begins to move in, the biomass heating industry is hoping for a better season than the past two. Fingers crossed—bring on the Polar Vortex.