Apricus NZ Eco Energy, designer and distributor of sustainable heating systems, has been asked by schools across the country to find practical ways to heat their classrooms without heating the planet through burning fossil fuels. The most appropriate systems are usually wood pellet boilers because they burn a 100% renewable fuel, made in NZ from waste sawdust and wood shavings. The next installation is at Netherton School, Waikato with funding from the Ministry of Education Sustainability Contestable Fund, the second round of which opened on 22nd June.
“Central heating systems with classroom radiators still exist in many schools, even if they are currently unused, so the change to a new heating source such as a Pellematic boiler immediately transforms the reliability and sustainability of the entire school,” says Marcus Baker, lead designer at Apricus NZ Eco Energy.
“Radiators are widely accepted as providing the most comfortable and healthy heat for a classroom, especially when doors are opened frequently and not always closed behind every student! In some ways we actually want to encourage this behaviour as plenty of air changes will maintain low carbon dioxide levels and improve concentration levels,” says Marcus Baker.
“The popularity of larger, flexible learning spaces and activities like Jump Jam really emphasises how a dynamic classroom environment gets the best learning outcomes, which ultimately is what is important. These spaces require a constant, radiant heat that warms all the surfaces, objects and students in the classroom, not just the air.”
The schools that are using Pellematic boilers are finding that many of the existing plant rooms are adequate for pellet boilers with only very minor modification. Alternatively, some schools are using the Pellematic Energy Box system with boiler/s and pellet storage in shipping containers. These systems arrive on site pre-fabricated and commissioned, ready for placement in a convenient location and for connection to the school heating system.
The Pellematic boilers for central heating can be complemented by classroom heat pumps to provide cooling in summer. The two systems work most efficiently at either end of the school heating/cooling year and therefore provide the best comfort for students all year round. In addition, if heat pumps are only used for a shorter cooling season their lifespan is extended and will only require replacement at end of life rather than the preventative replacement programme for heating as an essential service.
The Pellematic boiler systems provide the double benefit of highly efficient operation, at 95%, and of massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Burning wood pellets instead of coal, gas or diesel reduces the GHG emissions from the school boilers by over 98%. In addition, compared to burning coal local air quality improves significantly and the health and safety risks of coal dust or potentially explosive gas are eliminated.
The second and final round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund with $2.5 million available for schools is currently open, closing on 3rd August. Apricus encourages anyone working with schools to get in touch for design assistance for an application to install renewable heating systems. Email [email protected] or call 07 312 3382.