A community wood heating project in Abbey St Bathans has been nominated for a Scottish Green Energy Award.
Willie Dobie successfully trialled a small district heating scheme on an outlying farm and now 20 homes in the village are getting low carbon, affordable heating. Ten households on low incomes were upgraded with modern central heating and now have affordable heating, lifting them out of fuel poverty.
The project comprises three biomass wood chip boilers, a 50kW log boiler supplying heat, and a wood chip drier providing high quality fuel for the boilers.
All homes were previously heated with oil or coal backed up with electricity.
Willie Dobie said: “I’ve wanted district heating at Abbey St Bathans ever since I went to Finland over 20 years ago and discovered heating a group of buildings from a central boiler was commonplace.
“The new market for wood fuel is transforming our forestry and sawmilling business. There is now a profitable outlet for all grades of timber.”
During construction the project employed up to 20 local tradesmen, some who live in the village and now benefit from the new heating system, including Tommy Conlan who said: “It was great to be part of the team that installed the biomass system. It’s really good for the village and my house has never been warmer!”
Peter De La Haye of Duns based de la Haye engineering added: “As the designers and installers of the Abbey Heat Scheme we found that its bespoke elements made it a satisfying project. It’s great to see such a varied engagement with biomass at the community level.”