November 27, 2005
Cashing in their chips
Now this is cool ... er, warm: Mt. Wachusett Community College has reduced its heating costs and CO2 output by switching to wood chips and other biomass fuels:
Instead of shelling out nearly a half million dollars for electric heat, the college paid a mere $31,000 for the woodchips. The savings is so great that school officials say the $2 million heating system conversion cost will pay for itself within 10 years.
At the same time, Mount Wachusett has so far reduced its greenhouse gas emissions -- a polluted mix mostly containing carbon dioxide -- by nearly 19 percent.
Now, it's been said that a university is "an aggregation of sovereignties connected by a common heating plant". Doubtless in some of our local universities, some duchies and principalities are chafing under that oppressive servitude. Perhaps they might declare their allegiance to the lowly wood chip?
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Does anybody know how a woodchip system works? I'm curious because, well, I'm really allergic to burning wood. If I'm driving along the highway in a rural part of MA/VT/NH and somebody is using a woodburning stove, my throat knows it long before anyone else in the car does.
I don't know what triggers it, but I get a nasty dry cough that simply will not go away until I am far away from wood burning.
I'm not suggesting that they shouldn't persue this avenue of green and cheap energy, I'm really just curious about how it works.
Posted by: stomv | Nov 28, 2005 9:36:24 AM
stomv - I've never heard of a wood burning allergy. That's a really good point you brought up. I have no idea how this system works.
As a student at the Mount, I was very proud to hear that they were looking at heating alternatives. Plus, I'm sure it helps to keep fees down as well.
Posted by: Mariposa | Nov 28, 2005 10:27:57 AM
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