Case Study: 730 kW converted wood boiler for Mairehau High School, Christchurch, NZ

At Mairehau High School, wellbeing comes first – and that includes providing a healthy and comfortable environment. Now, with clean efficient wood energy delivering heat where it is needed, Mairehau students can learn at their best all year round.

Time for a change - Mairehau High School in North Christchurch has weathered many cold winters in its 50 year history. But by 2008, their heating just was not up to the job. The school had been relying on two coal boilers – one of which was ancient, run down to the point where it was belching smoky emissions. The other, more modern boiler was adequate but the controls were not working properly.

The heat distribution system relied on underground pipes that were regularly exposed to ground water when it rained. As a result the pipe insulation had rotted away which meant much of the heat generated was being wasted.  All this meant heat was not reaching some of the classrooms, making them almost unusable – and certainly uncomfortable. Meanwhile local clean air legislation had been introduced which meant consents for burning coal were being phased out because of the high particulate emissions produced.

It was time for a change. And with 500 students and 75 staff to look after, Mairehau High School needed to do it once and do it right – by choosing a future-proof system that would last for decades.  The first step was to find an alternative to coal. 

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