Boilers for school heating
Boiler heating systems are a safe, low-cost method of heating schools. As a board of trustees, you need to manage and maintain your boiler well so that it runs safely and efficiently.
On this page:
- Your health and safety responsibilities
- Funding boilers
- Issues to consider when installing a boiler
- Maintaining your boiler
- Disposing of your boiler
Making sure your boiler is operating safely is part of your overall health and safety responsibilities.
We recommend you review your school’s health and safety systems against the 11 key components of an effective health and safety system. This will help you meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (external link) .
Your school boiler is essential infrastructure to keep your school operating. Getting a new or replacement boiler is a priority 2 item in your 10 Year Property Plan (10YPP). You pay the costs from your 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding.
If your boiler breaks down or needs urgent repair, it becomes a priority one project. If the school would have to close down without it (eg because it is winter), you must replace or repair it immediately. In this case, contact your local property advisor immediately.
If you are considering installing a boiler, you need to consider our requirements for room temperatures.
The Ministry’s Designing Quality Learning Spaces (DQLS) standards expect school rooms to be kept at certain temperatures so that people using them are comfortable, healthy and safe.
You also need to check with your local council about whether:
- your area has restrictions on releasing emissions in your area to minimise pollution and the effects on neighbours
- you need resource consent.
Modern wood chip boilers are the most environmentally sound option for schools. In most regions, they cost about the same to run as a coal-fired boiler.
If you must burn a fossil fuel, natural gas boilers are environmentally preferable to coal or oil because their emissions are less harmful. However, they still can harm the environment and people’s health if they are not installed, maintained and operated correctly.
If you already have a coal boiler, only use high-grade coal. Lower-grade coal contains high levels of sulphur. It can corrode and shorten the life of the boiler.
You need to manage and maintain your system well as you have a legal responsibility to make sure your school boiler is safe.
Identify boiler failure as a potential risk in your health and safety plan and include this work as part of your school’s maintenance planning.
For more on your legal responsibilities, go to approved code of practice for the design, servicing, maintenance and safe operation of boilers (WorkSafe New Zealand website) (external link) [PDF; 354KB].
You can minimise energy loss with regular maintenance. Set up a system so that the boiler does not run when it is not needed.
Boiler tuning business grant
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) estimates that for every $1 spent on boiler tuning, $30 can be saved through increased efficiency. EECA runs a boiler tuning funding programme for organisations with boiler capacity of over 200kW.
For more information, go to boiler tuning support (EECA website) (external link) .
Engaging a maintenance contractor and inspector
As part of managing your boiler well, you need to engage:
- a boiler maintenance company, under a preventative maintenance contract – it can maintain your boiler regularly, which stops the boiler from breaking down or developing dangerous faults
- an inspector, who is independent from your maintenance contractor, to do a certified boiler safety inspection each year – for information on inspection firms, contact WorkSafe New Zealand (external link) .
Provide the maintenance contractor, inspector and the person operating your boiler with all relevant information and records. You should have an operating manual. If you don’t, ask your maintenance contractor to provide one.
Keep records of all work, repairs or modifications to your boiler. Ask your maintenance contractor and inspector to provide updated information after each visit.
Boilers are a fixed asset so if you need to replace or remove an existing boiler, talk to your property advisor about disposal options before doing anything.
If you are replacing your boiler for a new heating system, the decommissioning and removal of the boiler forms part of the replacement project budget.
We sometimes have a rationalisation funding programme to pay for removal of school buildings such as boiler rooms. Talk to your property advisor to find out if this is an option.
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