GARDINER, Maine — For the second time in two years, Gardiner has chosen locally produced wood pellets to heat its municipal buildings.

The city will host an open house from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, at City Hall. The public is invited to attend and help celebrate Gardiner’s continued success with renewable energy, enjoy light refreshments, see the new boiler installation firsthand and learn about the benefits of heating with a local and sustainable fuel, the city said in a press release.

Gardiner recently replaced its aging oil boiler at City Hall with two Maine Energy Systems OkoFEN wood pellet boilers built into a modular structure known as an Energy Box. The Energy Box, produced in Bethel by Maine Energy Systems and installed by Lewiston-based Heutz Premium Pellets, is the first of its kind to heat a municipal building in Maine and will reduce the city’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 60 tons over its life, the press release said.

Gardiner began making strides toward reducing heating costs in 2009, when the outdated boiler at its public works garage was replaced with a wood pellet boiler. At current fuel prices, the city estimates that the most recent installation will save its residents about $195,000 in fuel costs over the next 25 years.

Mayor Andrew MacLean cited this as another example of Gardiner making sound long-term investments on behalf of its taxpayers.

“This council is committed to finding ways to help reduce our energy costs and thereby help keep our taxes down,” he said. “The installation of our second pellet boiler is a testament to that commitment. Gardiner is proud to be at the forefront of the alternative energy revolution and we expect many other communities to follow in our footsteps in the years to come as rising energy costs put more and more strain on municipal budgets.”

Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective...