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The Wescolite Student Newspaper Campus News March 23, 2005 Equestrian Team Closing Season Biomass Boiler Saves Money, Natural Resources By Brandy Hirschy H The UM-Western Equestrian Team hosted a Regional Horse Show on March 12 at LaCense Montana Arena. With all of the qualifying shows over, the only riders competing in Regionals were those who had scored enough points in previous shows. Riding for UM-Westem were Annie Carson, English riding over fences; Brittany Johnson, Western riding classes; and Clarissa Kaler, Western riding classes. Of these three riders, Clarissa and Annie qualified for the Zones Horse Show, to take place in Oregon the first week of April. To qualify for Zones, a rider had to have placed first or second in their respec tive classes at the Regional Show. The Equestrian Team is breathing a sigh of relief as the year draws to a close, but they are still preparing for next season with regular meetings held on Tuesdays at 6:00pm, in the base ment of the SUB. UM-Western students and faculty participate with \Extreme Make-over: Home Edition\ on the ABC Network to rebuild the home of a young cancer survivor. Posing with two of the show's stars, Preston (wearing glasses) and Paul, participants were: FR Left to Right- Bre Snyder, Levi Vanzee, Jen Olsen, Holly Williams; standing Left to Right- Mike Piazzola, Amanda Babon, Jack Foster, Amy Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Megen Janke, Sara Green, Angie Burns. Photo by Dr. Eric Murray. In Support of Western we're \Setting the Pace\ in Southwestern Montana Beaverhead Bank 683-8200 Member FDIC » v By Emily Bolles What began as simply a senior thesis project for stu dent Thomas Wagenknecht in the Environmental Sci ences Department very well may change the heating source for the entire campus. The thesis: a grant pro posal discussing the possibility of implementing a biomass wood chip burning stove on campus. The research indicated it to be incredibly more ef fective than the current system of natu ral gas. Wagenknecht is majoring in Sus tainable Resource Management. He came to Western with a history of em ployment ranging from agriculture, mining, trucking and the timber indus try along with an Associates degree in Diesel Technology. With a compel ling interest in the area of renewable energies, he made a trip to Augsburg, Germany in October of 2004 to attend a conference focused on renewable energies in European union countries. His personal interest in sustainable and renewable energies has become an asset through his involvement with the Energy Conservation Committee on campus. Lee Richarson, head of the campus physical plant, and member of the Energy ConservationL,Committee spent time last fall attempting to reduce energy loss on campus. Wagenknetch made some quality sug gestions, which led to a proposal of the biomass boiler system as an alternative to the current natural gas heating sys tem. “Tom has lots of practical knowl edge,” Richardson stated. “He’s a good guy and has helped out a lot.” The concept for Western: acquire a boiler, utilize local resources, save money and keep money spent in the local economy without having a nega tive effect on the environment. Essen tially, the mass burning of wood chips at a temperature of 1800 degrees Fahr enheit would produce the heat needed to maintain all campus buildings. Ac cording to Wagenknecht, “basically it is burning chipped wood waste in a double combustion system... the quan tity of heat not only would bum the chips but also eliminate gas. It will be more efficient than traditional forms of heat and will produce little to no emissions.” He added that a small amount of steam might be visible on cold mornings. Richardson said the campus would keep the ability to utilize natural gas, and the secondary heating back-up system of propane. The biomass would become the primary and less costly heating source with the two traditional back-up options still in place. Funding may be possible through the Fuels for Schools Program which combines the efforts of the Forest Ser vice and public schools to restore forests and uses renewable energies in the heating of buildings. Susan Briggs, Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs, Richardson and Wagenanecht visited a similar system which is currently in place heating three schools in Darby. According to their calculations they are already saving $34,000 per year in heating costs. Western will be the first Montana college or university to implement the biomass system. According to Wagenknecht, “The community and surrounding area would receive a reduction in hazard ous forest fuels and utilization of oth erwise wasted products, while provid ing a sustainable and positive use for our natural resources.” He added, “I am happy about it and would like to see it go. There are so many benefits to the school, the local environment and the concept has the ability to ex pand to other programs.” While several factors are still un der discussion such as proximity of fuels, storage, and the acquiring the actual boiler system the proposal is being taken seriously. “We are still away from saying ‘go’ but we are steaming ahead,” stated Briggs. Questions can be addressed to the Energy Conservation Committee or through e-mail to Thomas Wageknecht ' at firstname.lastname@example.org J '.in