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Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

Students, speakers, and honored guests cut the ribbon at Southern Reynolds County R-II School Districts wood chip fired heating plant. USFS photo.

Students, speakers, and honored guests cut the ribbon at Southern Reynolds County R-II School Districts wood chip fired heating plant. USFS photo.

The Missouri “Fuels for Schools” projects, funded by Forest Service Recovery Act dollars, are converting aging heating machinery in six schools with woody biomass systems in and around the Ozarks.

By burning small-diameter wood from the overstocked forests right beyond their schoolyard, the schools will be saving up to $41,000 in heating costs while also improving wildlife habitat and reducing wildfire risk.

These new renewable energy heating plants boast state of the art control technologies in systems that can be monitored remotely through the web or by smart phone. Data gathered will help plant operators understand the economy of system performance. The heating plants even have ESP—literally—electrostatic precipitators that reduce particulate emissions 10 to 1. That’s important in dispelling myths, as these are high-efficiency plants, not the “smokers” often associated with outdoor wood boilers.

John Tuttle of the Missouri Department of Conservation (left) explains the workings of Reynolds County School District's new green-energy heating system. Tuttle was the key player in bringing Recovery Act funding to Missouri and establishing six Fuels for Schools successes throughout the state. USFS photo.

John Tuttle of the Missouri Department of Conservation (left) explains the workings of Reynolds County School District's new green-energy heating system. Tuttle was the key player in bringing Recovery Act funding to Missouri and establishing six Fuels for Schools successes throughout the state. USFS photo.

These Recovery Act projects have helped local small businesses. Anthony Heating & Air completed the smallest project at the smallest school of the six, but got it 100% right. “This project put good wages in the pockets of good workers,” said Anthony. “It put bread on peoples’ tables.”

Schools include:

  • Gainesville R-V School District
  • Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty High School
  • Eminence R-I Elementary School
  • Southern Reynolds County R-II School District
  • Steelville R-III School District
  • Perry County 32 School District

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