The Wild Center saw a huge cut in its heating bill this year with a pioneering new heating system that uses renewables to heat the entire 54,000 square foot complex.
The system integrates a solar tube hot water system with a pellet furnace, seen above. The new boiler system is the first of its kind: a highly efficient, commercial-sized, gasification wood-pellet boiler manufactured and installed in New York State. (FAQs available here).
Clarkson University is evaluating the energy-efficiency and emissions performance of the entire heating system. This evaluation will provide scientific information useful to decision makers developing renewable energy strategies, while also serving as a model for others looking to evaluate ways to heat with renewable fuels in an efficient manner.
In the Adirondacks the most abundant and inexpensive renewable fuel is wood. However, traditional wood burning stoves, some common commercial wood boilers and outdoor wood boilers suffer from low efficiency and high levels of pollution from incomplete combustion. The planned project offers a very clean-burning, highly efficient alternative use of wood fuel.
The successful installation and use of the boiler system saves the Center money and reduces its need for oil heat. By harvesting the “waste” in logging and sawmill operations to create wood pellets and then selling that back to local institutions, the money that is currently sent abroad for the purchase of fossil fuels is instead kept in the Adirondacks.