Ketchikan Federal Building Switching to Sustainable Biomass Boiler
December 22, 2010
A $4.5 million investment of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will allow GSA to replace the outdated, inefficient boiler which has been has served the building since it was constructed in 1951. The old boiler has reached the end of its useful life and GSA will install a new sustainable biomass boiler.
Biomass boilers produce heat with wood pellets or chips instead of oil, reducing heating costs and a building’s carbon footprint. GSA estimates that it will save 4,000 gallons of heating oil by switching to the biomass boiler.
The Ketchikan project is General Services Administration’s first pilot of a commercial biomass boiler, and the agency will study the project closely to learn about other federal applications. As is standard policy in GSA-owned and operated buildings, the Ketchikan boiler will be paired with a secondary oil boiler, to ensure a back-up heating source in the event of unexpected maintenance or repair problems.
“Anytime we can create jobs, improve energy efficiency, and save taxpayer money by bringing down fuel costs, it’s all good news,” said Sen. Mark Begich. “I am pleased to see GSA using an alternative energy source for the Ketchikan federal building. This and similar projects will increase the demand for wood pellets and the likelihood the pellets will be manufactured in Southeast Alaska.”
Across Alaska, the GSA is investing more than $18 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to modernize outdated and energy inefficient systems in federal buildings in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, and at the Alcan Land Port of Entry near Tok. The agency seeks to be a green proving-ground for energy efficient products and services that will save money for the taxpayer, reduce the government’s carbon footprint, and support jobs in the clean energy economy.
The U. S. General Services Administration joins a growing list of Southeast Alaska companies and agencies exploring this innovative technology. In 2009, Sealaska Corporation announced plans to install a biomass boiler system in their Juneau, Alaska headquarters, and the United States Coast Guard has also announced plans to research a biomass heating system for their Sitka, Alaska operations.
The GSA will begin construction in Spring 2011 at the historic federal building. Designs for the new project will ensure preservation of historic aspects of the building, whose salmon-pink paint scheme has made the property a landmark in downtown Ketchikan.
The $4.5 million contract was awarded to Southwest Construction, a small, woman-owned business with operations in Anchorage.
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