Bennington, VT – In 2017, the 103 units at Applegate Apartments underwent some significant changes that have reduced heating costs by over 50%. The changes include new windows, insulation, new roofing, and siding. These were huge improvements, but the biggest change was conversion to a biomass-fired district heat distribution system that linked the complex’s 23 buildings to a new central boiler house. This change eliminated 23 separate oil boilers and the burning of over 50,000 gallons of oil each year for heat and hot water. Applegate’s savings come from both conservation steps and their new biomass fuel that costs less than half of the cost of oil.
The project team included Applegate Energy Rehab project Shires Housing, who manages the property; Naylor & Breen Construction the project GC; Goldstone Architecture; WV Engineering; Froling Energy; and others.
Froling Energy installed the new Viessmann Vitoflex 300-RF dry wood chip boiler and storage silo that is at the center of the new system. Froling also supplies the 25% moisture content screened wood chips into the silo with their blower truck, which pushes the chips into the 30-foot silo through a 5-inch diameter pipe. Their dry chips and their blower delivery method are innovations that greatly reduce initial investments with lower construction costs and by meeting emissions requirements without requiring expensive scrubbers or ESPs. With the Viessmann boiler design, future maintenance costs will be less than they paid for maintaining the 23 old oil boilers each year.
Funding for the project came from a variety of sources including Housing Vermont, Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Clean Energy Developmentt Fund, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, HUD and the Vermont Community Development Program.
Constructed in 1998, Applegate Apartments is among the largest affordable housing developments in Vermont. Heat has always been provided for all tenants and in recent years fuel costs had reached over $175,000 per year. This year they expect fuel costs to be less than $75,000.