Idea to replace log burners, cut smog
A small Central Otago group thinks it has the solution to poor air quality and high heating costs by replacing wood fires with community heating.
At an Otago Regional Council draft annual plan hearing in Alexandra last month, Russell Garbutt along with Jono Conway of Bodeker Scientific and heating scientist Geoff Kernich outlined their idea of heating the Alexandra-Clyde basin from a single source.
The idea was to use a watersourced heat pump technology to extract heat from the Clutha River and distribute it to homes in the region, thus negating the need for wood fires.
Kernich told of a similar system in Scotland where enough energy was produced to heat 200 homes.
A ‘‘simple pilot project’’ would be the first step and the group asked the council for $2000 towards establishing the group as a charitable trust.
Conway said the only way to ‘‘enjoy starry nights and crisp, clear mornings’’ was to remove wood fires.
The costs would be ‘‘similar or lower’’ than traditional heating costs, Conway said.
Councillor Doug Brown said the group’s request for money had been noted and they would respond at a later date.
Constable Abby Pagel, of Queenstown.
ORC’s Doug Brown.