New boilers supplement oil furnaces in Job Corps dorm

14 years ago

By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

LIMESTONE — Doing their part to reduce dependency on foreign oil while benefiting from the cost-savings available by utilizing northern Maine’s abundance of renewable resources, two new wood pellet boilers were recently installed at the Loring Job Corps Center’s Katahdin Hall. Katahdin Hall houses the female dormitory as well as many administrative offices.

bu-boiler-dcx-ar-46-clrContributed photo
The silo bin for the two new pellet heaters was put into place in late October.

The two new boilers will be used to supplement domestic hot water throughout the building similarly to smaller scale wood pellet boilers commonly used in homes throughout the county but on a much larger scale. An average home-sized wood pellet boiler is about 50,000 BTUs, while the two installed at the dormitory are both 140,000 BTUs.

The project, made possible at the Job Corps campus through stimulus funding, was designed and built by Frank Lill & Son Inc. out of Webster, N.Y.  

“We’re very pleased with the end result and hopefully it will provide a percentage of savings for the center,” said LJC facility manager Rick Cyr. The project will greatly reduce the building’s fuel oil consumption, though specific cost-saving figures will be determined as the year progresses.

“Obviously we are going to use less fuel oil but we’re not certain what the payback is going to be,” Cyr added.

The project was a design built by Frank Lill & Son Inc. which means that the project was uniquely constructed fit to the building’s needs and customized to obtain maximum energy benefits, though some benefits of the project have reached beyond the Job Corps Center. Many area professionals — subcontracted and direct hires — have had a hand in constructing the boilers and once the boilers are put into use, local wood pellet manufacturers may also benefit from the project.

As the boilers were tested and proved positively a beneficial addition to the Loring Job Corps Center, Project Manager Clyde Lynch couldn’t be more happy with the end result.

Lynch is a project manager for the New York-based company, and he has worked on similar large-scale projects throughout New England through his offices in Easton and Fort Fairfield. With 30 years of experience in the field, he feels that transitioning energy consumption from fuel oil to a semi-renewable source of energy — like wood chips or wood pellets — is a very good thing for Maine.

“Wood is something that we have plenty of in northern Maine and I’m glad to see that we’re utilizing it,” he said.

The Loring Job Corps Center is one of two Job Corps Centers in the country to have a boiler system like this in place.

“Loring is thrilled to be a part this program,” Cyr said, “It’s one way that we can help cut our dependence on foreign oil.”