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Otago Polytechnic has begun a $1 million project to replace its "outdated" coal-burning boilers with two wood-chip boilers, which will heat three-quarters of the institution.
The polytechnic's chief operating officer, Philip Cullen, said the three 24-year-old Hamilton Heat Pack coal boilers used to heat the institution breached the Otago Regional Council's air pollution limits, putting out 77mcg/m3 of PM10 emissions. The legal limit is for PM10 emissions no greater than 50mcg/m3.
Mr Cullen said that the polytechnic had chosen to move to wood-chip boilers because of its commitment to environmental sustainability.
Moving to wood-chip boilers would reduce the polytechnic's particulate air pollution, with the two new boilers producing less than a third of the PM10 particulate emissions (25mcg/m3) than the old boilers emitted.
The tender for the project was awarded earlier this month to Living Energy, at a cost of $971,000, with an extra contingency sum of $100,000. The total budget for the boiler project is $1.28 million, which also allows for planning and concept costs.
Mr Cullen said ordering and planning was already under way for the new boilers and the project was expected to be completed by late February next year.