A different take on ‘green’ Keene

It says here:

Portsmouth defeated by ‘green’ Keene

Municipal employees in Portsmouth and Keene, the state’s two predominant “green” cities, slugged it out over the course of three weeks and, in the end, Keene delivered the knockout punch.

Portsmouth accepted Keene’s challenge in late March to see which environmentally conscious city could get the highest percentage of municipal employees signed up for the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge by Earth Day. With a participation rate of 55 percent, Keene employees easily outperformed Portsmouth’s 41 percent.

That’s nice. I guess. I dunno. From my point of view, ‘green’ Keene has a long way to go. My struggle to get the city to issue its first-ever approval for a clean, modern, efficient wood gasifier was epic, and cost me more than few sleepless nights.

Then last week the other shoe dropped. I found out, by accident, that I qualified for a property tax exemption. A qualifying wood heating system is defined as:

…a wood burning appliance designed to operate as a central heating system to heat the interior of a building.

Yep, that’s what my EKO-40 does. I get to reduce the taxable value of my property by $10,000. It’ll only save me a few hundred bucks a year, but that’s every year, so it’s nothing to sneeze at. I’m grateful.

But. During all that time I was struggling to get the system approved, no official in ‘green’ Keene said: Oh, by the way, we do encourage this kind of thing, and you’ll even qualify for an exemption, and in fact it’ll be the first one we’ve had the opportunity to do, and we’re excited about that!

Well, the secret’s out now. I’m happy to know that the next person to adopt central wood heating will be able to search, find precedent, and move forward.

8 Comments

  1. To me, the issue is simply that the reporters’ and officials’ priorities aren’t directly aligned with yours. Reporters want juicy stories that are easy to tell, and gov’t officials want to support popular projects. Of course there are exceptions and ways to make your story more appealing, but even still, everyone has an agenda. So the big takeaway for me is: the more DIY, the better, when it comes to making your dent in the world.

  2. > Reporters want juicy stories that are easy
    > to tell

    Exactly.

    “the state’s two predominant “green” cities, slugged it out over the course of three weeks and, in the end, Keene delivered the knockout punch.”

    What is this, the sports section, fer cryin’ out loud?

    From the Keene Sentinel:

    http://keenesentinel.com/articles/2009/04/23/news/local/free/id_352797.txt … but don’t bother, the link will likely be paywalled by the time you click it:

    “the sustainability smackdown ”

    ““Keene threw down the gauntlet, and Portsmouth said, ‘You’re on,’

    “The victory followed an 18-day duel between Keene and Portsmouth city employees that ended April 17. It also kicked off a second phase of competition, during which both cities’ residents will be called into battle.”

    Missing from both “stories”: what, exactly, did these “combatants” do to save energy and reduce their carbon footprints? Unspecified. The assumption is that nobody cares about what was done, exactly, or how, or why.

    And yet, we’re supposed to cry a river for newspapers which, when they’re gone from the scene, will be failing to provide us with…well, with what, exactly? With the hard-hitting investigative journalism that is the lifeblood of our free society?

  3. When Skyhouse installed its wood gasifier we were very lucky not to have mandatory codes to contend with. Or, not exactly lucky, Dancing Rabbit ended up where it is in the middle of nowhere because 1) the land was cheap and 2) there was no zoning or codes to contend with, so we could have composting toilets and wood stoves and straw bale houses without having to check in with any well-meaning gate-keepers.

    That decision has had its ups, but also its downs (it’s hard to recruit people who are otherwise interested to move to north-east Missouri!).

    When I still lived at Dancing Rabbit, I occasionally wished we *did* work with the relevant local authorities more, so we could help other people overcome the first-bureaucratic-mover inertia. I’m glad you’re fighting the good fight on this one (gosh, how easy it is to fall into war/sports metaphors)!

  4. Update: This exemption was approved. However the city only allowed these expenses:

    1. Cost of EKO boiler
    2. Cost of installation

    They disallowed:

    3. Cost of lining the chimney

    Reason given:

    “The chimney liner is not exempt since it is not necessarily required for the system.”

    My concern here isn’t monetary. The cost of the boiler and installation qualified me for 90% of the exemption, and the remaining 10% isn’t a lot of money. But it bugs me that the first recorded exemption for a wood gasifier suggests that the city thinks it would be safe to install the device into an unlined chimney. That would be a really bad precedent to set.

    My purpose here has been twofold from the start. I wanted to solve a problem for myself. But I also wanted to solve it in a way that can be fully documented as an example for others to follow.

    So, despite what the city’s decision suggests, you should NOT vent a wood gasifier through an unlined chimney.

  5. Ooh shoot i just wrote a long comment and when i submitted it it come up blank! Please please tell me it worked properly? I do not want to sumit it again if i dont have to! Either the blog bugged out or i am just stuipd, the latter doesnt surprise me lol.

  6. lol a couple of of the commentary folks enter are such stoner remarks, again and again i think about if they actually read the articles and reviews and items before leaving a comment or whether or not they just simply skim the subject of the blog post and type the very first thought that pops into their heads. regardless, it is really nice to browse through smart commentary from time to time rather than the very same, classic post vomit which i constantly notice on the web regards

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