Will your boiler replacement pay for itself?

by ‐ Tags: alternative energy, case study

Two weeks ago, Nate detailed the Worcester Housing Authority’s boiler upgrade and cogen installation. Today I’m going to share a second boiler replacement success story, and then discuss why we're seeing such great results from these upgrades. We’ve been asked not to disclose the building name or any specific characteristics for this project. Feel free to comment with a specific question, and I’ll try to answer the best I can. 

This building is a low-rise apartment building that’s about 20 years old, with around 30 apartment units. It uses gas fuel for heat and hot water and is located in the northeast. 

In January 2010, in terms of its gas usage, this building was performing 57% worse than similar buildings. 

Benchmark

To reduce this number, the building owner targeted the building’s heating system, opting for a boiler replacement. (Note, the building has a separate gas hot water heater which was not changed.) After an energy audit, here’s what they added:

The total cost of the project was $18,500.

What happened?

One year later, this building’s natural gas use has been reduced by 23% -- weather normalized -- and January gas bills were cut from $63.73 to $43.23.  Over the course of the first heating season, the owner has saved $2095, which equates to a payback time of around ten years. 

Boiler Replacement Result

So, why are boiler upgrades so successful? And why isn't everyone running to their nearest boiler replacement shop?

Even with these incredible results, your boiler replacement might not pay for itself. Despite the 23% energy savings in this case study, the payback time was ten years! Payback time is affected by many variables including fuel costs, which can change over time, and the baseline equipment you are upgrading from. If the original boiler had been slightly more efficient or the cost of fuel was lower, payback time could have been extended beyond the life of the boiler. 

How much did you save from your retrofit? Our building upgrade feature tells you. Use it free for 30 days.