A concentrated focus on options for environmentally sustainable and reliable heating is front of mind for many in the industry with the Climate Change Commission report released in early February recommending a rapid phasing out of fossil fuel boilers in all buildings. This is particularly important in schools where the choice of heating system can:
- Help to deliver quality learning environments (QLE) for every classroom and learning space
- Reduce toxic local air pollution breathed by tamariki by removing fossil fuel boilers, especially sulphur dioxide from coal and nitrous oxide from diesel
- Provide automatic, reliable systems that allow school property managers to concentrate on other important tasks
- Help reduce the schools' contribution to carbon emissions
- Lessen anxiety about the climate crisis among tamariki as the perilous state of the environment becomes increasingly clear.
The Ministry of Education is strongly encouraging and funding the roll-out of wood pellet boilers to provide all these services. This month alone, three schools will replace their coal and diesel boilers with OkoFEN wood pellet boilers. Edgecumbe College, Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake, Murupara and Bayswater School, Auckland will all be enjoying reliable, low maintenance and sustainable central heating systems this winter.
Once the boilers are installed the pellet fuel is delivered by blower truck to a store next to the boilers. The boilers automatically suck the pellets from this store for burning, plus clean the ash out ready for sprinkling on the school's maraa kai. One school property manager has complained that compared to the coal boiler the OkoFEN pellet boilers are "boring... in a good way, there's nothing to do!"
"The new boiler system is great. Our classrooms are beautiful and warm every morning with a consistent heat," says Brook Hill, Principal, Netherton School, Paeroa. "The boiler system will keep working until the outside sensor reaches 18 degrees. We have found the environment to be much cleaner and obviously economical. I showed the whole school at assembly the journey of the wood pellets and how it works — they thought this was really interesting."
"The new boiler system fits perfectly within our Enviroschools kaupapa," adds Brook. "Sustainability is always our overarching theme and we feel very fortunate to be able to do our bit for the planet and teach the children about sustainable practices. We have found the correspondence and support from all agencies involved with us getting the new boiler system extremely helpful."
Get in touch with pellet boiler lead designer Marcus Baker to discuss how your school project can benefit from funding available by utilising this technology. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 312 3382.