Bioenergy

National Forest First to Answer the Renewable Energy Call

The headquarters of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest of Springerville, Arizona, raised the bar for federal agencies across the country by partnering with Forest Energy Systems (FES) to install two TARM/Baxi Multi-Heat 136,500 Btu/hour pellet boilers that will soon heat the 20,000 square foot office building. It is the first U.S. Forest Service facility to commit to heating with wood pellets sourced from the byproducts of forest restoration.

The treatments take place on the Forest in conjunction with the 150,000-acre, 10-year White Mountain Stewardship Contract. “We are especially excited about the pellet boilers because the forest thinnings are near communities that can see both fuel hazards being reduced and productive uses for the resource,” said Elaine Zieroth, Apache-Sitgreaves Forest Supervisor. The office building will consume residues from 10 to15 acres of forest thinning annually. “This is a big step for us as a government agency toward getting away from fossil fuel dependence and encouraging more businesses locally to do the same,” said Zieroth. The pellet boilers provide optimum building comfort at efficiency rates of 90 percent or higher. The associated 14-ton storage silo located within the building will enable the agency to buy whole tree pellets in bulk form and store them onsite. FES’ parent company, Forest Energy Corporation, produces the whole tree pellets from small diameter trees — the bark, needles, and white wood — sourced from forest restoration projects leaving no waste or fire hazard fuels in the forest.