Since the autumn of last year, a new central heating plant in Schönried has been operating and supplies heat to 500 residential units. The proud double chalet is also the location of the Saanenmöser-Schönried fire brigade.
At the official opening, the new central heating plant in Gassegüetli, Schönried was presented to the public by the Elektra Baselland (EBL) cooperative, with their head office in Liestal. The EBL is the owner and operator of the facility. Local councillor Vreni Müllener looked back over the years and commented: "A good ten years ago, the EBL took over the Schönried district heating supply on their borders, including the supply network. A close working relationship between the EBL and the municipality of Saanen has paid off: by cost sharing to the tune of 1.05 million francs, the Saanenmöser-Schönried fire brigade also found a suitable base in the magnificent double chalet building.” Müllener told the EBL that she hoped their flame would continue to burn, but on the other hand, she hoped that the fire brigade would only have their thirst to quench.
Roger Scheidegger, Head of Heating and a member of the EBL executive board, praised the diligent pioneers who, long before today's climate change problems with CO² emissions and climate strikes, advocated sustainable production from renewable energy sources. The building is equipped with modern heating technology and cost around CHF 10m along with approx. 2,500 meters of pipeline as part of the Schönried heating network. Heating engineer Scheidegger is pleased with the success of the plant: "The EBL takes concerns about climate change very seriously. Thanks to our modern two-stage filtering plant, the maximum particle emissions are well below the legal requirements.” The two boilers supply 9.5m kilowatt hours of heat for 600 residential units. Currently, the plant is working to about 80 percent of its capacity.
Energy from the Saanewald
Rolf Schwenter, the on-site plant manager, reported that 60 percent of the plant’s wood chips are supplied by Energie Holz Saanen AG and come from forests in the Saanen region. Obersimmental and the Pays-d'Enhaut each provide a further 20 percent of wood chips. Schwenter is also responsible for the two EBL district heating plants at Gstaad and Gsteig.
In early 2019, fire chief René Martin and his 22 fire fighters moved into the new premises in the heating chalet building. The Saanenmöser-Schönried fire brigade now has more space for its small tank fire engine and respiratory equipment, as well as for the lead vehicle. The Saanen fire department's giant mobile ventilator is also stationed in the new depot.
Based on AvS / Fritz Leuzinger
Translated by Justine Hewson