What is energy costing you?
Energy costs are a huge burden to Michigan's communities. Most of the fuels used in the state are imported — 100% of the coal, 96% of the oil, and 75% of the natural gas — at a cost of $18 billion each year to our local economy. Nationally, energy costs are now the second highest budgeting expense for many school districts, higher even than the cost of books and supplies.
Using wood as a biomass energy fuel source, especially where wood chips are plentiful and cheap, can be one answer for larger public and private institutions. In Vermont and several Western states, where the Fuels for Schools program is active, many schools use local wood wastes to fuel their facilities, lowering their fuel costs by as much as 50% while boosting the local economy in the process. Why can't Michigan do the same?
The Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council, working with CTA Architects and Engineers, has created the Wood Energy Calculator to educate potential biomass users, allowing you to create a simple estimate of the costs and benefits of switching to wood fuel. In addition, you'll find other resources to allow you to learn more about biomass energy, see successful examples, identify sources of technical assistance, and find funding opportunities. Be sure to review CTA's report, Exploring Woody Biomass Retrofit Opportunities in Michigan Boiler Operations, for a comprehensive guide to potential statewide projects.
Michigan's abundant wood resources are a smart choice for affordable, renewable, and sustainable energy. Could it be the right choice for you?