Manufacturer Reports

Honeywell to Fuel Energy Conservation Program With Wood Chips

MINNEAPOLIS - Honeywell has announced a $3.9 million contract with the city of Battle Creek, Mich., for an energy conservation program that will use a combination of renewable energy technology and infrastructure upgrades to reduce the city’s energy costs, improve its buildings, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The performance contract, which is expected to save the city more than $190,000 in annual energy and operational costs, includes the installation of a wood chip-heated boiler that will cover up to 90 percent of the heating load for City Hall, as well as the police department facilities. As a result, more than 40 percent of the energy consumed by the buildings will come from a renewable energy source. This will help Battle Creek meet its recently adopted Climate Protection Policy goal of using 15 percent renewable energy sources in all city facilities by 2015.

“Looking ahead three to five years, we knew numerous maintenance issues could impact the viability of our buildings,” said John Godfrey, mayor of Battle Creek. “The energy performance contract with Honeywell helps us improve our city infrastructure, create more comfortable, efficient facilities, and surpass our renewable energy goals at the same time.”

In cooperation with Rebuild Michigan, a state Department of Labor and Economic Growth initiative that promotes energy efficiency, Battle Creek conducted an initial energy audit to identify improvements that would decrease energy consumption. The city then brought Honeywell in to add to the audit and build a comprehensive program.

At the heart of the program is a boiler that will be fueled each year by more than 22 tons of wood chips, which will come from recycled shipping pallets. This happens through a process called biomass gasification where the wood chips are heated in an airtight, oxygen-deprived chamber until they break down to create a synthetic gas that burns similar to natural gas. The gas is combusted to fire the boiler, giving the city a carbon-neutral means to heat both City Hall and the police department buildings.

Along with the biomass boiler, Honeywell will install two natural gas boilers to provide a second stage of heating during the coldest winter months.

Additional building infrastructure improvements will include HVAC upgrades, water conservation improvements, lighting retrofits, and humidity controls in City Hall to improve air quality.

The savings that result from the infrastructure improvements, which are guaranteed by Honeywell for 15 years, are expected to pay for a significant portion of the work.

The program also will generate substantial environmental benefits, reducing energy costs in the impacted facilities by more than 30 percent. The decrease in energy consumption is expected to curb more than 2.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Honeywell expects to complete the improvements by March 2008. In addition, the company will provide ongoing measurement and verification of energy savings as part of the contract.

“Everyone knows that leveraging a renewable energy source can reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Joe Puishys, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “But it can have a significant economic driver as well if the right technology is selected. Working with Battle Creek, we were able to develop a solution that’s good for the environment and the city’s bottom line.”

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Publication date: 10/22/2007

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