FDCE Spearheads Sustainable Heating Initiative with Switchgrass: Partnering for Progress

In a landmark collaboration, FDCE joins forces with a Virginia hospital to revolutionize heating practices through the innovative use of switchgrass. The story begins in 2017 when Piedmont Geriatric Hospital, faced with volatile fuel oil prices and fluctuating supplies of sawdust, sought a more sustainable alternative for heating and hot water. Led by Charlie and Roger Cushwa, the hospital embarked on an ambitious experiment, transitioning to switchgrass for their boiler systems. 

The journey was not without its challenges, as the team navigated the complexities of optimizing switchgrass length and temperature for efficient burning. However, through dedication and ingenuity, they overcame obstacles, ultimately achieving remarkable cost savings and environmental benefits. Today, both Piedmont Geriatric Hospital and the neighboring Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation rely on chopped switchgrass for their steam plants, thanks to a partnership forged with FDCE. 

As a leading bioenergy company specializing in conservation and land management efforts, FDCE played a pivotal role in sustaining this eco-friendly initiative. With 3,000 acres of switchgrass cultivated in Virginia, FDCE ensures a steady supply of chopped switchgrass tailored to the hospitals’ boiler specifications. Moreover, this partnership not only promotes carbon sequestration but also supports local farmers by renting their idle fields for switchgrass production. 

The success story of switchgrass at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital underscores the transformative potential of sustainable heating solutions. As FDCE continues to champion environmentally conscious practices, such as the utilization of switchgrass, FDCE reinforces its commitment to fostering a greener, more sustainable future for communities nationwide. FDCE remains at the forefront of driving innovation and progress in bioenergy and conservation efforts. Curious about the environmental benefits of using switchgrass for heating? Contact us to learn more about the positive impact on carbon emissions and sustainability.