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Schools Going Green 

A biomass heating equipment company based in Sumner, Maine has pledged to help towns and schools save money and go green. Skanden Energy, Inc. is helping municipalities and schools convert to wood thermal energy. The company is currently working with local contractors to install state-of-the-art wood pellet boilers at Strong and Kingfield Elementary Schools under a $1.08 million USDA grant, and is offering to help others convert to green energy. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, $11.4 million has been awarded to the Maine Department of Conservation (DOC) to provide grants through its Wood-to-Energy Initiative. These grants, aimed at rural schools and public entities converting to wood heating, can be used to fund the purchase and installation of Skanden equipment. In addition to selling the most advanced biomass heating technology available, Skanden helps rural schools and public entities in other ways. First, Skanden helps them through the grant application process. Then, they guide them through installation, training local contractors and helping them develop expertise in the industry. This maximizes the economic and environmental benefit to the local community. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help Maine communities transform the inefficiencies and hazardous risks of oil heating systems into sustainable, environmentally-friendly biomass heating systems,” said Laura Colban, founder and president of Skanden Energy. “The people of Maine have a great appreciation for the benefits of biomass heating, and we look forward to bringing new job opportunities to the state to support that.” Skanden Energy is in the process of hiring sales engineers and signing up local heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors as distributors. Skanden Energy will provide training for qualified HVAC contractors. “We understand the desire to hire local contractors, who are familiar with their buildings and their needs,” said Colban. “We provide a local supervisor who will work with the contractors to ensure the best quality installation, and maximize the benefits to the local economy.” The company has already been working with MSAD 58 to install two wood biomass systems at Strong and Kingfield Elementary Schools. More than a dozen local contractors, including piping, roofers, engineers, electricians, and other specialists have worked on the two projects so far and more will be engaged soon. “Skanden Energy has demonstrated remarkable commitment to these projects and has far exceeded my expectations,” said MSAD 58 superintendent Quenten Clark. “Not only did they secure the grant funding for these installations, but they also increased the amount of the grant substantially. Their expertise and unique skill set enabled us to significantly improve upon many aspects of the installation. They are a reliable team and an excellent company to work with.” Skanden Energy points to environmental and economic advantages when heating with wood rather than fossil fuels as one reason for the substantial growth in wood-to-energy projects. When wood is burned in a Skanden system, at 2000 degrees, with automated cleaning of boiler tubes and ash removal, emissions are negligible and efficiency is more than 90 percent. Because it is all automated, maintenance is similar to that of an oil burner. For more information about the company, job opportunities, training, distributorships and more, please visit: www.skanden.com or call 207.512.5699.