Alaska Coast Guard Prepares For Switch To Pellets

The U.S. Coast Guard air station in Sitka is abandoning oil as a heat source. Work will start in the next week on a new heating system that uses wood pellets instead of oil. It’s part of an effort to make the Coast Guard more energy efficient. For years, the Coast Guard has used oil […]

The U.S. Coast Guard air station in Sitka is abandoning oil as a heat source. Work will start in the next week on a new heating system that uses wood pellets instead of oil. It’s part of an effort to make the Coast Guard more energy efficient.

For years, the Coast Guard has used oil heat. They say the technology is tried and true, easy to deal with and relatively easy to obtain. So why would the Coast Guard switch to wood pellets?

“Simple answer: money,” says Bob Deering, the environmental and engineering manager for the Coast Guard’s civil engineering unit in Juneau.

“The Air Station burns about 85,000 gallons of heating oil each year, so you can calculate the cost based on that,” he said. “We’re paying in excess of $4 a gallon for heating oil.”

That equates to roughly $340,000 per year, just for heat at Air Station Sitka. Compare that to pellets, which Deering estimates will run about $300 per ton. “A ton of pellets is equal to about 115 gallons of heating oil as far as the energy output,” he said.

By making the switch, the Coast Guard reduces its heating bill by more than a third.

From AlaskaPublic.org: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2012/06/11/coast-guard-prepares-for-switch-to-pellets/

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