By JIMMY LAWTON
LOUISVILLE -- Two new pellet boilers recently installed at Louisville Municipal Building are expected to save the town more than $10,000 annually while putting money back into the local economy.
Councilman Dan O'Keefe said the board was having heating issues at the building, which was less than seven years old, when he was elected to the council.
"When I first got on the board the building was fairly new over there and they were having trouble with heating it."
O'Keefe said to fuel oil furnaces were heating the building through a boiler system, but the frequent coming and going of highway trucks in a garage with heated flooring was forcing the furnaces two run nearly 24 hours a day.
"We were using over 5,000 gallons a year in fuel, which is about 23 tons in wood pellets," he said.
O'Keefe said the high price of fuel compared to the significantly lower cost in wood pellets translates into a saving of $10,000 to $11,000 annually.
"We started looking a different means of heating the place and pellets seemed like the best idea. We are saving quite a bit of money."
O'Keefe said the switch to pellets also has local economic benefits as Curran Renewable Energy manufactures pellets locally.
"We were spending $20,000 a year on oil and that was going out of the area. Now we are paying $10,000 and that is staying in county, so it's really a win-win," he said.
O'Keefe said the project cost $114,000 with $90,000 obtained through the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency's community improvement grant. He said the town's share was approximately $24,000 and should be returned in savings in less than three years.
O'Keefe said the town is retaining one of the fuel oil boilers as back-up and plans to bid out the second oil boiler to recover costs.
Since Louisville implemented the pellet boiler, O'Keefe said the fire department has shown interest in switching to pellet fuel.
"They are in a similar situation to what we were in and I think it would work well for them," he said. "It's just a great way for us to save money for our town and reduces use of petrolleum and keep money local."
O'Keefe said he and his fellow council members were grateful to Curran Renewable, as the company offered the town a three year contract with reduced rates, as well as the River Agency, for the grant.
"They were both great to work with." he said.