The Council School District in Idaho will soon install a new biomass heating system in time for next winter. The system will be fueled by wood chips, and is expected to cut heating bills in half.

A portion of the new heating system will be paid for through the U.S. Forest Service's "Fuels for Schools" program, which provided a $386,000 grant. The program was started by the Forest Service to raise awareness of the uses for small-diameter trees from National Forest thinning projects.

The biomass heating system has already been implemented at a school in Darby, Mont. According to the Darby superintendent, the system is an improvement over its previous three diesel-powered boilers. The school paid approximately $50,000 a year for diesel fuel, and expects that this will be cut by almost 60 percent under the new program.

- compiled by J.J. Siegel

Publication date: 03/08/2004