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Eco-friendly heating alternative for Circular Head Community Wellbeing Centre

21 June 2018

The Circular Head Community Wellbeing Centre will use a wood chip (biomass) boiler heating system, to provide facility heating.

This will be supplemented by solar hot water fitted to the roof of the new building.

The contract for the boiler system was awarded to Heatwise Solutions Limited following a recent tender process.

Heatwise is a New Zealand company specialising in biomass boiler installation and maintenance and have previously installed biomass boilers for swimming pools in New Zealand and regional Victoria.

The Circular Head Progress Group initiated the conversation with Council about using a wood chip boiler for heating the centre in April 2017, having heard about the technology being used in New Zealand.

Around 9 months was spent investigating the feasibility and preparing the specifications for a system.

This investigation involved working closely with local business Britton Timbers around access to a woodchip supply.

Circular Head Community Wellbeing Centre Project Superintendent Graeme Edwards said on further investigation the wood chip boiler heating system was found to be much more cost-effective and have more environmental benefits than other energy sources.

“A wood chip system wasn’t originally considered because we were not aware of it being used for swimming pools,” Mr Edwards said.

“It’s a good environmental outcome as it will be less noisy and have a much smaller carbon foot print than any other system.

“In terms of cost-saving, our forecast is for it to be 50 per cent cheaper than an alternative energy source, with a payback period of less than five years.”

Mr Edwards said local business Britton Timbers would be an option for supplying the wood chips for the heating system.

“Circular Head is renowned for its timber resources, so it makes sense to use a local supplier.

“Brittons is one of the main businesses in Smithton and their wood chip production is high quality, so it’s a great outcome.”

The boiler is anticipated to arrive and be installed by early December, which keeps the centre on track to open before the end of the year.

The Circular Head Community Wellbeing Centre is a project being jointly funded with $3.8M from the Australian Government and $3.5M from the Tasmanian State Government with the Circular Head Council funding the remainder of the project.