Case Studies

Turners Falls business has new wood chip boilers to heat warehouse 

River Bluff Realty, LLC a.k.a Atlantic Golf & Turf of Turners Falls, MA has two new wood chip boilers in two 40′ containerized boiler rooms that will heat 49,000 square feet of warehouse space – an existing 37,000 sq ft area as well as a new 12,000 sq ft section.

The semi-dry wood chip storage bin is integrated inside the containers.

The new wood chip boiler will be operational from Sept 15th through April 15th on a 24/7 basis to keep the building warehouse space at approximately 55%.

The system was installed by Caluwe Inc.  Marc Caluwe may be reached at 781-308-8583 for more information.   

Atlas Farm in Deerfield has new biomass district heating system 

Founded in 2004, Atlas Farm ( is a certified organic vegetable farm with 95 acres of field production and approximately 2/3 acre of heated greenhouses in Deerfield MA.  Atlas Farm has been a certified organic operation since day one and has had a long-standing commitment to addressing the energy needs at the farm with sustainable and renewable alternatives. 

In order to continue this path, Atlas Farm identified a need for an improved heating system for the farm several years ago.  A district heating model with biomass fuel source was identified as the best option. By converting their heating fuel to biomass, they accomplish multiple important goals, including reduced carbon emissions, use of a locally sourced renewable fuel, and lower heating costs. 

Atlas Farm had been eager to proceed with the conversion to biomass for several years but the large capital investment was an obstacle.  Funding from the Berkshire Gas settlement combined with the alternative energy credit program and MassCEC grant opportunities made financing possible to install the system.

Working with Caluwe Inc. ( the installed Biomass Heating System consists of a cascade system of three (3) Heizomat wood chip boilers with a total heating capacity of 600kW or 2,047,200 BTU/hr.  The total installed cost for the system is around $650,000, consisting of the new biomass heating system, fuel storage and handling, thermal storage, and heat distribution system updates to multiple buildings. The wood chip boilers will be operational from September 15th till April 15th, on a 24/7 basis to keep the different structures at the required temperature setpoints. The anticipated wood chip consumption will be between 300 and 350 tons per year, and is supplied from APS compliant dry wood chips sourced from a sawmill not 10 miles away.  This is about local wood resource, local chip drying, enabling local food on a  commercial scale farm.
For more information, contact Atlas Farm at 413-773-3596 or Caluwe Inc. at 781-308-8583.

Hawley new Modern Wood Heat installation at DPW building 

With funding from two state grants, the town of Hawley in Franklin County has installed a modern wood heat system to heat its 6,000 square foot town garage and West Hawley fire station.

The new system, which includes an Okofen/Maine Energy Systems PES-56 191,000 Btu/hour pellet boiler, with a Lochinvar propane boiler for a backup, was installed by Sandri Energy of Greenfield during the summer of 2019 and went online with the advent of cold weather this winter.

The system includes a 9.9 ton capacity Okofen spring bag pellet storage installed in a storage area in the building’s mezzanine which is filled from outside by bulk truck. The system also incorporates a 220-gallon thermal storage tank to improve efficiency. The new system heats the six-bay building via the existing radiant floor heating system.

Total cost of the new pellet system was $61,967, with 50 percent of the cost provided by a Mass Clean Energy Center rebate and the balance with funds from the town’s Green Communities grant funds
The pellet conversion is one of many projects done by Hawley with its Green Communities grants. Other projects include upgrading the lighting in the town garage, town offices, and East Hawley fire station with LED fixtures, replacing the propane heating system at the town office, improving insulation of the town garage and installing solar panels on its roof, and installing a ground mounted solar array on the East Hawley fire station property.

For more information contact Gary Mitchell, Hawley Public Works Superintendent (413) 339-5509,

Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District


Years of deferred maintenance due to a lack of available capital was taking a toll on Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District (DRRSD) facilities. In addition, energy cost increases coupled with aging equipment resulted in continually rising operational expenses. The district sought to improve the learning environment, gain control of and minimize operating costs—especially energy spend, and to employ renewable energy generation as part of the program.


DRRSD began researching solutions to address its district-wide challenges. The district became aware of an alternative procurement model in Massachusetts – M.G.L. CH25a, 11i – Performance Contracting, where a single provider develops, designs and implements facility improvements to be paid in whole, or in part through guaranteed energy savings. DRRSD learned of Trane’s offerings and extensive experience successfully delivering performance contracts to schools. “Trane’s Performance Contracting solution was attractive to us,” said Catherine Antonellis, business manager, DRRSD. “It allowed us to reduce energy costs and use guaranteed energy savings to pay for upgrades.”

DRRSD advertised a Request for Qualifications and selected Trane. “I talked with administrators in a nearby district,” added Dr. Anthony Azar, superintendent, DRRSD. “They provided a good recommendation. I felt we would be in good hands with Trane.”

Identifying and prioritizing opportunities

DRRSD and Trane initiated a detailed audit to pinpoint needs and the range of opportunities available. Trane developed a comprehensive menu of energy conservation measures and facility improvements, including firm installation costs and energy savings for each item. This enabled DRRSD to map out a plan to implement projects in phases, to align with operational, administrative and fiscal needs.

“The team worked well together,” said Dave Nappi, facilities manager, DRRSD. “I knew where the mechanical issues were, and had concrete ideas of what needed to be done. Trane pointed out some other things that could provide additional savings.”

Implementing a comprehensive upgrade with renewable energy solutions

The selected upgrades included high-efficiency oil and propane boilers, new HVAC equipment, including rooftop units and 128 classroom unit ventilators, a state-of-the-art digital building automation system, a biomass (woodchip) boiler, new windows and roofs for two schools and a 1.2 MW solar PV system comprised of twelve well-lit carport canopies in parking lots of five schools. The nearly $19M in improvements will reduce annual energy spend by at least 62 percent while measurably improving the learning environment throughout the district.

“Adding photovoltaic carports served two purposes,” said Azar. “Not only do they provide energy savings, but they also add lighting to our parking lots. We now feel much safer when leaving at night.”

“We spoke about solar for years,” said Antonellis. “The Performance Contracting process helped us realize solar energy was viable. Trane was a great partner and helped us to secure substantial state incentives for implementing solar solutions.”

Managing systems and energy use

A web-enabled Trane® Tracer® Ensemble™ building management system provides an enterprise-wide view of district buildings for daily operations, troubleshooting, and energy management. Facility managers access systems remotely using their mobile device to address comfort issues, make schedule changes, adjust set points, and manage alarms. Ensemble also enables DRRSD to collect data and monitor performance to identify areas for improvement. “Our schools used to all have different controls; now we can access and operate everything with the Tracer,” said Nappi. “We also can now measure and control CO2 in the classrooms and continuously exchange precise quantities of outside air to improve air quality.”


Under the Trane Performance Contract, DRRSD initiated a five-phase process to enhance comfort, reduce energy use, and lower operational costs. The upgrades have helped to reduce hot/cold calls and improve indoor air quality. Renewable energy will reduce environmental impact of the facilities, with solar expected to provide 75 percent of overall electricity for the district. Economic benefits are projected to include more than $16.62M in guaranteed energy savings, utility rebates, and renewable incentives from the Commonwealth of MA over the term of the agreement.

“Our energy cost reductions are exceeding projections,” said Antonellis. “We’ve been able to reinvest savings into long-lasting improvements that have put our schools in a very good position to continue our mission for the next 25-30 years.”

“It’s a win for the school district, our students, and our community,” added Azar.