News & Press

Grant helps Sandri install wood-pellet boilers


Recorder Staff

GREENFIELD — With help from $3.2 million in federal stimulus funding, high-efficiency wood-pellet boilers will be installed at Greenfield Community College, the Greenfield Fire Station, Stoneleigh-Burnham School and five other locations around the region, giving the Sandri Companies a foothold to enter the wood-pellet distribution business.

The award to the 80-year-old Greenfield business, whose name has long been synonymous with oil heat, will also help it become a full-scale distributor of bulk and bagged wood pellets for customers, including residential ones.

The boilers, described as “ultra-low-emission boilers, range in size from 56 to 700 killowatts — providing 190 to 2.4 million BTUs of heat.

“This is very exciting,” said Tim Van Epps, company president, who added that Sandri will also install a wood-pellet boiler at Linden Hill School in Northfield. “We will leverage our 80 years of experience in the energy and fuel business to guarantee a seamless translation of our expertise into the successful distribution and service of renewable energy products and conservation services.”

The largest of the pellet boilers to be installed by Sandri will be at Happy Valley Organics in Whately, where it will heat 21,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

At GCC, four 56-kilowatt wood-pellet boilers installed in the East Building will meet an estimated 90 percent of the building's heating demand, greatly reducing fossil fuel usage.

The grant will also pay for three solar heating systems for the building as well as an energy audit and energy- efficiency upgrade.

GCC President Robert Pura said, "GCC is pleased to be a partner in this very collaborative grant. Our effort to become increasingly efficient and sustainable in our energy consumption and use is harmonious with what we teach in our classrooms. This provides the opportunity to assist in our learning as well as reduce our energy costs."

The college is undergoing a $31 million reconstruction of its core building that will integrate geothermal, passive solar and other renewable energy technologies.

Sandri will install a 56kilowatt wood-pellet boiler at its Chapman Street headquarters, at its own cost, and share costs for a similar boiler at its Fox Inn in Bernardston. There, it will also install a 10-panel solar water-heating system.

The grant awards were announced Friday by Gov. Deval Patrick's administration as part of a $16.25 million package for energy-saving projects around the state. Between now and June, these projects are expected to create about 485 jobs in the state.

"These 11 projects promise to deliver energy savings beyond what Massachusetts has seen before," Patrick said in making the announcement, "cutting long-term operating costs while providing models for other energyefficiency efforts across the commonwealth and the nation."

Among the grants is $650,000 to the Architectural Heritage Foundation, in partnership with Historic New England and the Trustees of Reservations, to complete energy retrofits of two buildings at the Trustees' 262-acre Bullitt Reservation in Conway and Ashfield, as well as two other historic properties in Ipswich and Waltham. Among the features is making the Bullitt property a certified "passive house" that uses little to no fossil fuel energy and will become home for the nonprofit Hilltown Land Trust and the Highland Communities Initiative. The work is scheduled to begin in April.

Sandri will also use the stimulus dollars to implement a residential weatherization and energy-efficiency program targeting its oilheat customers. The 50 kilowatt pellet boiler to be installed at the fire station will provide up to 90 percent of its heating requirements.

"It is great that Sandri was able to secure these funds for the town to use in the fire station," said Mayor William Martin. "This dovetails perfectly with our efforts to make Greenfield one of the first 'Green Communities' in the commonwealth and all the benefits that will come with that designation."

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