Fuels for Schools
Fuels for Schools programs are taking off in other states: Vermont, Pennsylvania, Montana and Missouri, to name a few. What are Fuels for Schools and why not Virginia? Fuels for Schools is a program to assist public schools realize substantial cost savings from switching from expensive electricity, propane and fuel oil to low cost solid wood fuels for generating hot water and heating buildings. Using locally grown and sustainably sourced wood fuels keeps energy dollars circulating in the local economy, supporting jobs in land management and the fuel harvesting, hauling, processing and delivery. While fuel oil and propane prices have fluctuated, sometimes wildly, over the last twenty years wood fuels have remained consistently stable, providing consumers peace of mind in long-term budgeting.
Locations with solid fuel wood boilers can also take advantage of low-cost or no-cost “opportunity fuels” from wildfire mitigation, disease outbreak and pest control programs, invasive species removal, native species restoration and storm debris clean-up, improving the health of our forests. Healthy forests provide homes for wildlife and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and other Commonwealth water bodies. By creating additional value from traditional harvest operations, markets for wood fuels increase landowner returns from their forest, encouraging replanting.
Throughout Virginia there are over 400 schools currently being heated with fuel oil or propane boilers. As these boilers reach the end of their serviceable life the Virginia Community Wood Energy Program can assist in evaluating the potential cost savings and pay back period from fuel switching to wood fuels, direct decision makers to knowledgeable sources of information and qualified engineering services.
So what is Fuels for Schools? It’s a program to help our budget-constrained public schools save money, create jobs and maintain our cherished rural livelihood, and increase the acreage of healthy forests. So why not Virginia?
For more information please contact Brian Becker, Virginia Community Wood Energy Program Manager at: