[NEWS] Vermont Hospital’s Heating Facility May Burn Woody Biomass
– by Edward Damon, November 4, 2016, Bennington Banner
A new boiler plant at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center cleared local permitting this week, but state regulators still need to sign off on the project.
Development Review Board members on Tuesday approved the site plan for a new central heating plant, a $3.75 million project that SVMC officials estimate would save $200,000 a year and lower the hospital’s carbon emissions. Oil-fired boilers would be replaced with more efficient units that burn natural gas, with the option to someday use biomass and wood, according to plans filed with the state.
SVMC has applied for a “certificate of need” from the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), the state’s health care regulatory board, which must approve major healthcare projects. The board held a public hearing in Montpelier on Oct. 27 that a handful of hospital officials attended, according to the board’s website.
According to documents filed with the GMCB, the hospital’s central utility plant now uses three oil-fired boilers that provide hot water, as well as steam to heat buildings and sterilize medical equipment. The boilers have a 20-year lifespan, but are all over 30-years-old. And the number 6 fuel oil they burn is “outdated, inefficient and polluting.”
The oil boilers would be decommissioned and replaced with three new, efficient models that would use compressed natural gas, or number 2 fuel oil as a backup. Two units would be 400 horsepower. One would be a 500 horsepower “convertible” boiler, which could be modified to burn biomass.