News release

Public Buildings Converting to Wood Heat

Replacing imported fossil fuels with a locally sourced renewable resource will create a new market for lower grade forest fibre and reduce the carbon footprint of public buildings.

That is why six public buildings have been chosen as the first ones to convert from older, fossil fuel heating systems to new, efficient wood chip heating systems. A tender has been issued to five pre-qualified vendors for the design, construction and operation of modern biomass boilers that use wood chips from private woodlots.

The sites are:

  • Hants East Rural High School, Milford, Hants Co.
  • Perennia Park Atlantic Centre for Agri-Innovation, Bible Hill
  • Bridgewater Provincial Court, Bridgewater
  • Centre of Geographic Sciences, Lawrencetown, Annapolis Co.
  • Memorial High School, Sydney Mines
  • Riverview High School, Sydney

"This initiative will help develop new, long-term markets for lower grade wood by replacing imported oil with locally sourced wood chips," said Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin. "Creating a new market for lower grade wood will improve the economics of sustainable forest management, leading to healthier forests and a stable market for woodlot owners. "

A task team made up of 11 provincial departments and public sector agencies selected the sites, which make up the first phase of a long-term effort to develop a new market for modern wood heating and eventually district heat. These sites were chosen for high likelihood of success after geotechnical and environmental readiness evaluations were completed.

The tender closes March 5 and the wood heat systems should be operating by the end of November, in time for the next heating season.

Investigating efficiency of small-scale wood energy projects and converting some government buildings to wood heat energy was a recommendation from Prof. Bill Lahey’s Independent Review of Forest Practices. It also aligns with suggestions provided to the Forestry Transition Team, which is looking for new ways to market Nova Scotia’s wood chips following the closure of the Northern Pulp mill.

Quick Facts:

  • the tender provides long-term agreements to supply and operate the facilities
  • each wood heat system will be constructed in an exterior building positioned for future district heating expansions
  • the expected annual quantity of wood fuel chips is between 300 to 2,000 tonnes per building
  • jurisdictions in Canada and the United States have been using wood heat in public buildings for decades

Additional Resources:

Phase 1 Request for RFSQ:

Project FAQ on government’s ecological forestry website