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School turns to green heat

A prep school has taken advantage of a little-known funding initiative to replace its old oil boilers with a biomass system

Posted by Dave Higgitt | May 14, 2015 | Sustainability

The Croft prep school in Stratford-upon-Avon has received 100 percent funding for a biomass boiler system under the Biomass ESCO scheme. Officially opened by the mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, cllr Ian Fradgley, the new biomass system replaces the school’s old oil boilers and will reduce its annual CO2 emissions by up to 20,000 kg a year.

“This is a marvelous addition,” said The Croft School’s director of project development Barney Thornton, “as it has given us the chance to massively reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use. As a forward-thinking school, it’s important for us to set a positive example to pupils about the benefits of using sustainable energy and it’s great that we can do this without huge financial risk.

“Outsourcing the operational risk of our boilers and simply buying heat as we need it is transformational. The Forest Fuels Biomass ESCO has made it possible for us to have a brand new boiler system without any capital investment, which was particularly attractive to us with aging fossil fuel boilers. What made it most appealing though was the fact that all future maintenance and repairs are taken care of, so we’ll have no unknown costs or resources. Our site staff will save a lot of the time they previously spent looking after our old boilers.”

The  Forest Fuels Biomass ESCO scheme is open to all schools that require replacement boilers for their heat and hot water. For The Croft School it provided all the upfront costs of the new biomass system, including the boiler itself, the system design, its installation and all planning and development costs.

“We now have a brand new heating system that is operated by Forest Fuels, who take all the responsibility for maintenance, servicing and fuel supply,” added Barney. “And, as energy costs are a huge consideration for us, it’s reassuring to know that we’ll be using local fuel, rather than having to buy oil or gas from big energy companies that respond to unpredictable world energy prices.”

The Croft School’s biomass boiler generates 700,000 kwh of heat every year – enough to heat around 30 average houses.

“The Biomass ESCO scheme is a great solution for The Croft School and indeed any school that is looking to replace their old heating systems,” said Peter Solly from Forest Fuels, “because they can do this without worrying about any future issues. Schools don’t pay a single penny upfront, but receive a modern new boiler, designed precisely for their requirements – the only thing they have to pay for is the cost of the heat they use.”

Regional Energy carried out the school’s biomass installation for Forest Fuels.

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