Biomass Technology +$1M in Grants: How McClure Company guaranteed West Branch Area School District’s Energy Project to save over $3.5M

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McClure Company’s Performance Contracting division provided a solution for West Branch Area School District to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. With a project guarantee of over $3.5M in energy savings spread over 20 years coupled with $1M in grant funding, the District embarked on a renewable biomass heating project.

“The West Branch Area SD has recognized significant savings as we have pursued guaranteed energy projects in partnership with McClure Company. We anticipate operational savings of over $5.3 million.” Michelle Dutrow, Superintendent

A biomass heating system efficiently burns biomass fuels, typically wood chips, and utilizes the heat for the District’s HVAC heating system. Working with McClure Company, a long time energy partner (since 2007), the District installed a custom designed, highly efficient biomass boiler system to serve their entire District complex. The system is fueled with wood chips, which are grown locally in Pennsylvania and provided by a local supplier. Overall, the wood fuel costs the District approximately one third less than their previous oil expenditures. In addition, the District received two separate $500,000 state grants towards funding the project.

Under a turnkey, fixed price contract, McClure Company fully engineered and constructed a standalone building to house the new heating system, completed in an expedited time frame during a 12-week summer break. “The construction start date hinged on a critical Environmental Protection Act (EPA) Permit,” stated Chris Howe, Project Manager for McClure Company, “so we knew approval for this was an immediate priority.” The application period takes approximately ten (10) weeks for state authorization. “Despite set backs from weather, unforeseen underground utilities and difficult soil conditions; we managed to execute a successful completed project before the start of school.” Howe added.

The District, under the fourth phase of their Performance Contract with McClure, reduced the District’s oil consumption by about 57,000 gallons per year, or approximately seven (7) tanker trucks. In addition, the Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement resulted in zero change orders to the District.

West Branch Area’s innovation in making the District more energy efficient is an important step toward reducing fuel costs and saving tax-payer money through a guaranteed energy saving project.

About McClure Company
Founded in 1953, McClure Company is the largest integrated energy, engineering and mechanical contractor in the state of Pennsylvania with our in-house team of engineers, designers, installers, and maintenance technicians. Our non-proprietary, flexible solutions have helped over 60+ school districts, government facilities, higher education and health care facilities leverage energy and operational savings to fund capital improvements. To learn more, visit their website at

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Lynn DeSantis
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