Pellet-fired heating system in use at hospital in New Brunswick

By Government of New Brunswick | July 24, 2014

The Grand Falls Hospital is one of the first public buildings in New Brunswick, Canada, to utilize a new energy-efficient, pellet-fired heating system.

“I am pleased to see the Grand Falls hospital utilizing a wood-pellet heating system to reduce its reliance on oil and take advantage of a more environmentally-friendly solution,” said Health Minister Hugh Flemming. “This project supports local wood industries and will allow for some significant savings for the hospital in the long term.”

Flemming said building on the potential of biomass and wood-fueled energy solutions was a government commitment, noting the results have been positive for the hospital’s new 850-kW, energy-efficient heating system during the first few months of operation.

The new pellet-fired boiler plant was built by Biomass Solutions Biomasse, a New Brunswick company, which responded through a public tender process to construct and operate the unit. Under a renewable energy agreement – public-private partnership – with the province, the company will turn the unit over to the hospital after 10 years.

“Biomass reduces long term energy cost for our provincial buildings and helps to create jobs in our province based on natural resources,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams. “This effort will reduce our exposure to the volatility of fossil fuel markets. Biomass is considered to be carbon neutral and reduces emissions as the boilers burn very clean. This fits in well with our Green Building Policy.”

The projected savings are $4 million over a 20-year period for the Grand Falls facility. The plant is projected to reduce annual fuel oil consumption by 300,000 liters while creating an annual locally-produced pellet fuel requirement of 650 metric tons.

“This is innovative infrastructure project and partnership with the private sector is one that the Grand Falls General Hospital is pleased to be a part of,” said the hospital’s facility director Nicole Labrie.

Other public buildings are also getting involved in pellet-fired systems including École Marie-Gaétane in Kedgwick. The school boiler was also developed through a renewable energy agreement with Design Built Mechanical Inc. of Charlo for a 15-year term.

By year’s end, two new schools and a new nursing home will use the same technology. Southern Carleton Elementary and Centennial Elementary School, currently under construction in the Woodstock area, and Les Résidences Jodin in Edmundston, will also rely on pellet-fired systems. Annual savings are expected to be in the vicinity of $50,000 per school and $82,000 for the nursing home.