Wood pellet system mulled for town hall

WILTON – Town Hall needs a new heating system, and selectmen are rec­ommending a change to wood pellets.

An article for $117,900 will be placed on the warrant for Town Meeting in March. The purchase of the new sys­tem is contingent on receiving a rebate from the New Hampshire Public Utili­ties Commission. Such rebates are usu­ally about $25,000. The rebate will be ap­plied for in February.

Selectmen discussed the project sev­eral meetings ago, and met Monday, Dec. 28, with Doug Waitt, of Design Day Me­chanical, to get information and final fig­ures. Two members of the town’s Energy Committee, Alison Meltzer and John Shepardson, were also present. Both support the new system.

Shepardson said the current system is "about 10 years old, but it looks 50, with some rust. It’s in lousy shape."

Selectman Kermit Williams said there have been "problems with heat control," some rooms hotter than others, and asked, "What would we gain with this new system?"

Waitt said the pellet system is rated at about "80 percent efficiency" and would provide better control, adding the town could realize a 25 percent increase in efficiency and yearly savings of between $1,100 and $1,400. He said those were "conservative numbers."

Waitt also pointed out the environ­mental impacts: The pellets are locally grown and produced using local labor (which can’t be said for oil); trees are a renewable resource; the pellet industry is well-regulated and promotes sustain­able forestry.

"The carbon produced (by the system) is reabsorbed by the trees that produce it," he said.

In his study, Waitt used the winter of 2011-12: how much oil was used, its cost and how many BTUs were produced. "I can see a 25 percent improvement," he said.

Selectmen said the purchase would add about 30 cents to the tax rate.