Bill Watts’ argument against the use of biomass to meet schools’ energy demands is woolly (24 August, page 32).
While biomass that has not been grown on site may not be zero carbon, it can be considered to be a low carbon technology, as it is eight times less carbon intensive than natural gas and 11 times less than oil.
Although Watts is correct that if every building switched to biomass it would soon run out, if sustainably managed there is no reason why biomass can not form a part of the solution. In Devon, for example, the Bideford College One School Pathfinder project will use biomass heating, with the fuel from local sources. The county has a wood resource of about three and a half times that required for heating Devon’s schools, which at the moment is going to waste.
School buildings will house the next generations of energy consumers.
By showcasing microgeneration technology in schools, these children will have a better understanding of where energy comes from and the importance of leading low carbon lifestyles. Although it is not possible to quantify this benefit, it should not be underestimated.
Dan Lash, Centre for Energy and the Environment, University of Exeter