Quillayute Valley School District wants to make the Forks area greener — at least in terms of saving energy.
The district in October will put out to bid its biomass boiler, which would heat half of the middle school and the entire new high school once it is completed.
The biomass boiler — which would use chipped wood waste as fuel — is to be partially paid for through a $1 million grant approved by the state Legislature. The district is seeking an additional $500,000 through the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Construction should begin in November and the project should be completed in time to heat Forks Middle School by the end of 2010, Superintendent Diana Reaume said.
“This has been such a journey,” she said. “And we have had so much help from the community, and my staff has been fantastic.”
The design resembles a brick tower that harkens back to old-fashioned plants, Reaume said.
“The idea is to symbolically represent history while combining with the new green concepts and incorporating as much energy-saving concepts as possible,” she said.
“There will also be a learning theme throughout the building to teach about the wave of the future with green energy conservation resources, as well as some of the history of the area.”
The 50-foot tower will feature information on green energy to teach students and community members about the process and windows will give an outside glimpse of what the boiler looks like on the inside.
Reaume said that, as the first biomass boiler of such size at a school, it would be considered an “icon for the state,” as well as allowing the school to retire a diesel tank and one of its propane tanks.
“I cautiously estimate that we could save between $75,000 and $90,000 a year,” Reaume said.
“The reason I’m cautious is that the cost of the market for the chips fluctuates a great deal, and as this is the wave of the future for energy savings, it could drive the price up.”
The wood chips would be delivered to the school a couple times a week, Reaume said.
She said she hoped that local mills could supply it, but that the wood chips would have to be bid upon just as with any other district fuel.
“We are very hopeful that they will be able to, though,” she said.
The boiler will have a variety of emissions control devices, Reaume said.
“The emissions standards in Washington are much higher than almost any other state,” she said.
“We’ve been working very closely with [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] to make sure we will meet those requirements.”
Reaume said that Bill Henderson, “our director of maintenance, has worked very hard to make sure everything on this will be working well.”
Rod Fleck, city attorney and planner for Forks, was instrumental in helping the school district acquire the original grant for the boiler, she said.
Paige Dickerson, Peninsula Daily News – http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20090919/news/309199998