Wood burner benefits dissuade fossil fuel use
By Mary Witsey
One Southland school is leading the way in using wood energy to heat its classrooms, benefiting students and the environment.
Donovan Primary invested about $340,000 in its new computerised Austrian wood burner 18 months ago, and principal Peter Hopwood said they had never looked back.
There was minimal smoke, one small ash tin to empty once a month and, unlike traditional boilers, a high tech computerised system which included frost detection so burst pipes were a thing of the past
"Long term it's the way to go - electricity and diesel are too dear and we don't have a guaranteed supply of coal so this is a really good solution for supply and for the environment, " he said
While the burner was a major investment, it would pay for itself over the next 15 years, with the woodchip fuel cheaper to buy and the clean-burning mechanism much more eco-friendly, he said.
Donovan Primary was being held up as an example of how wood energy had potential in Southland.
A three-year $1.5 million government-funded pilot project being launched today aims to encourage large users of fossil fuels, such as schools, to switch to wood.
Project co-ordinator Cathy Jordan said it was about knowing how wood energy could contribute to carbon reduction and economic gains.
The Wood Energy South programme runs over the day at SIT Centre Stage in Invercargill.
Story courtesy of The Southland Times/The Eye