Middleton Building Supply

Middleton, New Hampshire

Wood Boiler Heating System — CHP
$461,000 Grant

Middleton Building Supply, Inc. (MBS) in New Hampshire faced growing energy costs that threatened the growth of its business as it tried to expand. In tough economic times and facing rising electricity costs, MBS decided to adapt to a tough economy by transitioning its plant to renewable energy, helping protect the jobs of the 61 manufacturing employees.

In 2005, the sawmill used 314,450 gallons of fuel and required 4,405,011 kWh of electricity. At a total cost of over $1.2 million, “energy as usual” stood out as a costly burden. With the help of a $461,000 REAP grant and additional assistance from local economic development organizations, MBS installed a high efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) woodfired boiler to supply the lumber manufacturing facility.

Utilizing 45 tons of mill chips, edgings and cuttings, the 600 HP boiler and 600 kW steam turbine system is designed to produce 5.1 million kWh annually.

The results prove out MBS’ decision, with the company seeing an annual net energy savings of over $1 million. Currently, the kilns produce electricity for 20% of current operations, a ceiling imposed by an agreement with the utility company. After that agreement expires at the end of 2009, MBS hopes the kilns will produce 60% of its electricity needs, with excess generation being sold back to the utility.

Combined heat and power systems are the most efficient way to tap the energy of a fuel such as wood. “Waste” heat is tapped for other uses, serving two tasks with the same amount of fuel. CHP technology off ers high efficiencies of 60% or more, which is helping MBS to realize a simple payback on their investment in less than four years.

Businesses like MBS illustrate the innovation and success that the Rural Energy for America Program promotes. MBS saved 61 jobs, created new jobs, and reduced imported fuel consumption by hundreds of thousands of gallons.