School encouraged to use wood chips for energy

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(Host) A group of state and local officials are hoping to increase funding levels for a program that encourages schools to install wood-chip heating systems. Currently, 24 schools have put systems into place and another three schools have plans to install them.

John Sturges is the program director for the project for the Vermont Superintendents’ Association. Sturges says Vermont schools using the wood chip technology saved more than $720,000 gallons of heating oil last year and were able to purchase the wood chips for about half of the cost of the oil.

Sturges says the state has become a national leader in this area:

(Sturges) “It utilizes a renewable energy resource, keeps dollars in the local economy and saves real dollars for real taxpayers. One of the reasons that wood chip heating is so successful in Vermont is that not only are many schools concerned about the environmental impact of the decisions that they make, as well as the economic impact of the decisions that they make, but also that there are partnerships and networks throughout the state which help to promote the concept of wood chips.”

(Host) In the past, the state has paid 50 percent of the cost of installing a renewable heating system. But this year’s Capital Construction bill increases the state’s share to 90 percent to encourage more schools to consider the program.

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