Advanced Wood Heating

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A New Approach to Heating with Wood

Advanced wood heat isn’t your grandpa’s wood stove.  We’re talking state of the art, highly efficient, automated wood heat with negligible emissions.  Advanced wood heating utilizes local, sustainably sourced wood, which helps maintain our landscape and support our rural economy.

Convenient as traditional fuels, wood pellets or chips are delivered to your storage bin or silo and  automatically transferred to the boiler or furnace. Don’t break your back lugging or stacking wood. It’s completely automated and convenient—just turn the dial and you’re warm!

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Advanced Wood Heating FAQs

What incentives are available?

For a limited time, significant savings are now available on advanced wood heating systems.  Efficiency Vermont and the Clean Energy Development Fund offer residential incentives up to $6,000!   Learn more about the incentives currently available by clicking here. Thanks to REV’s advocacy, advanced wood heat systems are also exempt from sales tax, so don’t miss out!

An additional incentive of $1,000 is available on advanced wood heating systems for Washington Electric Coop customers.  Click here to find out more.  

Commercial and industrial custom rebates are also available, click here for details.

Why use biomass fuels?

Biomass is a locally available fuel source that increases the region’s energy independence and security, and stimulates the local economy by keeping energy dollars circulating in the region rather than exporting them. Using wood also helps to support the local forest products workers, creating a reliable market.

How does burning wood for energy help mitigate climate change?

Fossil fuel combustion takes carbon that was locked away underground and transfers it to the atmosphere as pollution.  Research scientists found that from day one, using local wood pellets for heat in New England reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 54% compared to oil and 59% compared to natural gas in a recent study commissioned by the Northern Forest Center. On a macro scale, wood heat can come very close to carbon neutral over the long term when sustainable forestry practices are used.

Why use biomass fuels?

Biomass is a locally available fuel source that increases the region’s energy independence and security, and stimulates the local economy by keeping energy dollars circulating in the region rather than exporting them. Using wood also helps to support the local forest products workers, creating a reliable market.

What is woody biomass and where does it come from?

Woody biomass refers to trees and woody plants, including limbs, tops, needles, leaves, and other woody parts, grown in a forest, woodland, or rangeland environment, that are the by-products of forest management.

Wood pellets are one type of woody biomass that has gained national attention with rising fossil fuel prices. According to the Pellet Fuels Institute, there are currently about 800,000 homes in the United States using wood pellet stoves or furnaces for heating. Wood pellets are locally available and serve as a cost-effective heating fuel with several advantages over other types of biomass. A majority of Vermonters are likely familiar with a common type of woody biomass,  called cord wood, which is widely used to heat homes during our long, cold winters.

Woody biomass fuel can come from various sources. Wood pellets are made from wood waste materials that are condensed under heat and pressure, whereas woodchips can come from sawmills that chip wood as a by-product, directly from harvesting operations in the woods, or from clean community wood wastes such as chipped urban tree trimmings, stumps, and discarded Christmas trees. In addition to these traditional sources, chips are increasingly being produced from chipped low-grade logs or “pulpwood” in dedicated chip yards and chip mills.

What kinds of buildings and facilities use biomass?

Colleges, universities, hospitals, hotels, commercial buildings, greenhouses, schools, and community district energy systems (the latter being the use of a central heating plant to provide heat to multiple buildings using buried pipes to distribute the energy) are all suitable facilities for biomass systems.

How stable is the supply of woody biomass? Will it always be available?

In the northeast, biomass is transitioning from our waste stream to a commodity. A gauge to the vitality of this market commodity is the strength of the forest products industry, which provides the infrastructure (loggers, mills, trucks, etc.) required to supply the seasonal heating market. Vermont has adequate wood supply to sustainably meet 30% of the state’s heating needs today.

Why should we use the forest for energy?

Humans have a long history of relying on forests for sustenance, including food, fuel, shelter, clothing, fences and barriers, weapons, and numerous other uses. As we continue to use wood products, it makes sense to also use the low-grade material and wood wastes that are generated to displace fossil fuels for heating.  Providing markets for low-grade and waste materials is a key component of both sustainable harvesting and forest conservation, helping forested parcels maintain long-term value as a sustainable resource. Sustainably produced biomass from forests is a local renewable energy source that keeps energy dollars circulating in the local economy by creating markets for low-grade wood, adding economic vitality and jobs to the forest-products industry, and improving the health of our forests.

Does using biomass for fuel from the forests destroy habitats?

Biomass fuel harvesting is nearly always conducted as part of an integrated, sustainable timber harvest where multiple products (veneer, sawlogs, pulp, and firewood) are removed at the same time. As long as good forest management practices are followed, the biomass fuel harvesting results in no additional impact on wildlife habitat. It is important to note that some harvesting is often prescribed by foresters specifically for enhancing or expanding the habitat of various game and non-game wildlife. Many types of wildlife require open areas created by harvesting and the early successional vegetation that takes over after a harvest.

What about air-quality?

Automated, woodchip and pellet systems burn much cleaner than even the most modern home wood or pellet stove. They produce no creosote and practically no visual smoke or odor. Because the biomass fuel is green, or close to 50 percent water, however, in cold weather the chimney may show a plume of condensed water vapor.

Are the wood ashes toxic? Where and how are they disposed?

Wood ash is not toxic, in fact, it is an excellent soil additive for agricultural use. It can also be spread on athletic fields and gardens.

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