The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center announced that it is launching a $475,000 incentive program that will help residents install high-efficiency wood pellet boilers in their homes or small businesses.
The grants in this program will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Here are some qualifications:
-The installed boiler or furnace must be used in a year-round residence or small business where the building occupant pays into the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust.
-All applicants will need to provide MassCEC with a copy of an electric bill for the project site at the time of application so that MassCEC can verify eligibility.
-Property owners may submit an application for a property that they own, even if it is not their primary residence or place of business, however the project site must be occupied year round.
-Grants can be combined with any other local, state or federal incentive, and applicants are encouraged to do this where possible.
Grant amounts will be determined on the following basis, with further details available in the program manual, which can be found below.
Wood-Pellet boiler and furnace central heating units (bulk storage required)
Automated conveyance of fuel
Solar thermal hybrid system
Moderate Income Adder OR Moderate Home Value Adder
It’s possible to get back up to $15,000, though rebates will begin at $7,000 and the average is anticipated to be between $10,000 and $12,000. According to the MassCeC, new wood pellet boilers typically cost around $20,000, fully installed.
Massachusetts residents can learn more about the program, download the program guide and application by visiting the Clean Energy Center website.
Certified WoodMaster dealer, Kim Quirk with Energy Emporium, shares the following article relating to a recent Flex Fuel install.
Here in New England many home owners have their own source of wood they can use to heat their home. Or, they may decide that local wood or pellets can replace fossil fuels helping them achieve a level independence from foreign oil.
Working with a few of these customers, I have had the opportunity to put together combination wood and solar heating systems for both home heating and domestic hot water.
Burning wood or pellets in a highly efficient gasification boiler will provide more heat then a typical home can use each hour…especially in the spring and fall. So many of the new wood or pellet boilers recommend (or even require) a large water storage tank.
Solar hot water systems also require a water storage tank because the sun can only provide heat during the day. That heat needs to be saved until it is required.
Since both systems can benefit from a water storage tank, then it makes sense and can save money to design one storage system that can be heated by either energy source. The wood does most of the heating in the winter; and the sun for the summer. The heated water can provide house heating, which we only need in the winter, and domestic hot water, which we need year round.
The Energy Emporium recently installed a large, very well insulated, 2000 gallon water tank from American Solar Technics that is heated with both solar (Sunda evacuated tubes) and a gasification wood boiler (WoodMaster’s FlexFuel30).
Solar / Wood storage tank
Solar Thermal Collectors
In the pictures above, the storage tank is in the process of being completed. Once the liner is sealed, 3-4″ insulation is added on top and then a final layer of 2″ foam board will be added on all sides.
The Woodmaster Flexfuel is used with cord wood or pellets. It can decide to start or stop the burn (for pellets) based on temperatures it reads in the water storage tank. It can also block out some times (daytime, for instance) when it will not burn so the sun has the chance to do as much heating as possible.
The solar thermal collectors were built in two rows with northern row 3′ higher than the southern row to avoid shading. The angle is optimized for winter heat production. Each solar collector array has its own coil in the storage tank.
We added datalogging equipment on the solar loops and temperature sensors at 3 places in the tank as well as the boiler in and out. Over time we can report on the efficiencies of cord wood versus pellets and how much energy the sun is adding to this tank. The expectation is that in the spring, summer, and fall the solar collectors will provide most of the heating.
In the image below, the green line indicates the temperature of the storage tank. The red and blue are temperatures of the heat exchanger and the shaded red area indicates that heat is being transferred to the storage tank. Notice that, even in February, when we have a nice sunny day, the solar heating between about 9:30am and 3:30pm was able to boost the 2000 gallon tank temperature. At about 5pm the pellets kicked back in to boost the water temperature for the evening.
Solar Hot Water Data
Every winter, those who choose to heat with wood devote time into cutting up logs, and every spring they split the logs and stack them in rows to dry in the hot summer sun. Why do so many households choose to heat with wood? Because firewood is a homegrown energy resource that helps families stretch their household budgets, strengthen their local economies and continue a generations-long tradition.
The Pros of Wood Heat
During tough economic times more people turn to heating with wood. The U.S. Energy Information Administration date released in October 2012 projects that more than 2.6 million households will heat their home with wood this year, which is a 3 percent increase over last year.
Wood as a Renewable Energy Resource
These days, there is plenty of debate over what to do about climate changing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. But firewood literally grows on trees, and the ability of a woodlot to regenerate is the secret to its status as a renewable energy source. Wood is about half carbon by weight, but its use as a fuel is almost carbon dioxide-neutral, because trees absorb CO2 as they grow. When trees fall in the forest, the same amount of CO2 is emitted when they decompose as is released when they are burned for heat.
Benefits and Costs of Heating with Wood
"Net Energy" is the usuable amount of energy left after extracting, processing and transporting the energy commodity to market. Natural firewood has a very high net energy ratio compared with most other options because it needs little processing, much of which can be done with human labor. This is why firewoods price is stable. Price stability is not likely for fossil fuels, because the net energy goes way down and the retail prices goes way up as easily accessible deposits are depleted. Declining net energy is the biggest reason oil prices are so high now.
Considering the rising cost of conventional fuels, households can save a lot of money by heating with a wood burning outdoor stove. A household that heats with wood trades its own labor for big savings in home operating expenses. Depending on climate zones and other available fuel options, a household that produces its own firewood supply can save $2000 or more each year.
Buy Local Fuel
A woodlot owner who produces and sells firewood provides employment and income to the area. If a household buys its winter fuel supply from a neighbor, the transaction has a multiplying effect by keeping the money circulating within the community, increasing local incomes and creating jobs.
Most people recognize that wood is humanity's original heating fuel. Heating with wood today is dramatically better than it was in the past. The efficiency of the average wood burning outdoor stoves has roughly doubled to about 70%. The EPA-qualified indoor and wood burning outdoor stoves have even higher efficiencies, some into the 90% range.
Heating with wood burning outdoor stoves is about much more than home heating. Wood is the ultimate energy resource- and the most easily accessed and affordable of all renewable energies. People who purchase firewood create jobs close to home and strengten their local community. Those who utilize wood burning outdoor stoves know more about the cause-and-effect relationships of energy production and consumption than those who simply pay utility bills. And families that use wood burning outdoor stoves will find that the act of heating with wood is its own reward.
According to the Alliance for Green Heat, EIA Administrator Sieminski says wood pellets represent a "significant opportunity" for consumers to save money.
October 10, 2012 - The U.S. government released its annual assessment of prices and availability of heating fuels today and for the first time it included information on pellets and firewood. After gas and electricity, wood is the third most common heating fuel in America, but the annual Winter Fuels Outlook had never discussed it prior to the 2012-13 heating season.
The Winter Fuels Outlook is put out by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent statistical and analytical agency within the Department of Energy. Reports published by the agency are the premier source of energy information in the country and are used to guide economic policy and educate the public.
During today's press conference, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski mentioned the "significant opportunity" for consumers to supplement their oil heat with wood pellets, as well as with electricity.
The inclusion of wood and pellets in the Winter Fuels Outlook came after over a year of discussions and meetings between the EIA and a coalition of wood and pellet groups. Senator Shaheen (D-NH) also raised the importance of pellets as an alternative to oil in New England with Administrator Sieminski.
According to the EIA, wood and pellets now produce more residential heat in the US than propane and nearly as much as oil. Wood produces 0.5 quadrillion Btu (quads) per year, propane 0.49 quads and oil 0.6.
EIA projects that average household expenditures for heating oil and natural gas will increase by 19 percent and 15 percent respectively over last heating season. The agency expects the country will experience colder temperatures compared to last year's mild winter, with oil and gas prices remaining virtually the same.
In terms of wood and pellets, the report said:
Wood consumption in homes has risen over the past 10 years, reversing a trend seen in the last two decades of the 20th century. In 2009, U.S. households consumed about 0.5 quadrillion Btu (quads) of wood. Household fuel oil consumption, by comparison, was only slightly higher at 0.6 quads. In homes across the United States, wood is most commonly used as a secondary source of heat and is second only to electricity as a supplemental heating fuel. Twenty percent of New England homes (1.1 million) used wood for space heating, water heating, or cooking in 2009 (EIA, Residential Energy Consumption Survey, 2009). This is nearly twice the national rate. Almost half of all rural households used wood in this area of the country. In contrast, only 12 percent of urban New England households used the fuel.
According to data previously published by the EIA, the average American household heating with wood consumes two cords of wood per year. This number includes homes that use wood or pellets as a primary, secondary or occasional heat source. The EIA also documents that consumption in rural areas is more than twice that of urban areas. The EIA estimates that 91% of homes that heat with wood use firewood, 8% use wood scrap and 6% use pellets.
Wood use also trends strongly with income level, according to EIA survey data, with households making $20,000 or less using more than twice the amount of wood as households making $120,000 or more.
"The EIA's focus on wood and pellets is an important and timely step in the right direction," said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit consumer organization based in the DC area. "The next step is for states to start including the price of pellets in their monthly fuel price reports," Ackerly added.
According to ecoRI, oil has long been the primary heating source across much of the Northeast. However, the number of households seeking viable alternatives such as wood pellet heat to expensive oil has continued to rise since about 2008, when the price skyrocketed to more than $4 a gallon in some places.
Sales of pellet stoves and furnaces consequently have been increasing in the United States as more Americans seek affordable alternatives to costly home-heating oil. Attempting to find much-needed relief from record-high prices, consumers are willing to pay the upfront cost for pellet stoves.
In general, pellet stoves pay for themselves in about four years. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot charged $4.18 for a bag of 40 pounds this past winter in the Providence area. Pellets are usually delivered on a 1-ton pallet of 50 40-pound bags that costs between $200 and $300. On average, it takes 2 to 3 tons a year to heat a home, which translates to spending about $900 to heat a typical three-bedroom home with a pellet stove.
Wood pellet heat also offers price stability, as buying an entire year’s supply of pellets in bulk avoids the often-volatile cost of heating oil. For instance, a 250-gallon tank of oil at $3.50 a gallon would cost $875, but the price of oil constantly fluctuates.
Pellet fuel can substitute home-heating oil as an economically viable source of thermal energy for both residential and commercial applications. Pellet stoves first emerged in this country in the 1970s as a response to fuel price instability, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute, a trade group based in Arlington, Va. Pellets typically are made from wood waste produced at paper and saw mills and at furniture manufacturing plants.
Wood pellet heat offers consumers efficiency and environmental benefits over cordwood. Pellets burn more cleanly and more efficiently than wood, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute, because they effectively generate more heat while emitting less pollution.
The sharp rise of heating oil prices has fueled a consumer thirst for viable alternatives such as wood pellets. Pellets so far have replaced about 8 million barrels of oil annually, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute. Such energy displacement helps stimulate the American economy while enhancing national security and helping protect the environment.
Interested in wood pellet heat? Check out the Flex Fuel, Force20, and our newest money-saving product, the Ultra Series.
Contact Us for more information today!
WoodMaster’s very own grill master, Jeff Poole, teamed up with T-Mac Smokin’ team again to compete in the Death’s Door BBQ Competition and won Grand Champion! Winning the competition not only gives you bragging rights but also gets you an invitation to the American Royal Barbecue Competition in Kansas City.
The team placed in the top ten in all categories: pork ribs, beef brisket, chicken, pork and sauce, including first in the pork category.
“We’ve entered into 15 contests so far, and this is our first,” beamed Poole. “The feeling is awesome.”
WoodMaster is proud to sponsor T-Mac Smokin’. They use WoodMaster Pellet Grills in every competition. Poole credits using wood pellets as fuel to their success.
There were 25 teams from the Midwest competing in the first event hosted in part by the Washington Island Chamber of Commerce.
The T-Mac Smokin’ team category results:
- Overall Grand Champion
- Chicken: 8th
- Ribs: 6th
- Pork: 1st
- Brisket: 9th
The team’s next stop is the Puckaway Pigfest in Montello, WI and then the American Royal Barbecue Competition in Kansas City, MO. With over 500 teams competing, The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is the largest barbecue contest in the world!
Both competitions are affiliated with the KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society). KCBS sanctions and judges barbecue contests across the US and promotes barbecue as America’s cuisine. It’s the largest society of barbecue enthusiasts in the world. It provides the most respected form of judging and scoring in the world of barbecue. KCBS provides representatives for each contest and access to certified BBQ judges who have been trained in how to judge world-class barbeque, all while using a blind judging process that is fair and void of personal knowledge of teams being judged.
Check out KCBS for more information on barbecue events around the US.
Interested in learning more about what wood pellet grills are all about? Check out WoodMaster Pellet Grills.
When the price of oil goes up, it goes up for everyone. But electricity rates vary by state with residents of some states paying half of what people living in other states pay. New York and Connecticut are saddled with the highest electricity rates in the country, which may have contributed to the rapid rise of wood heating in those states. In the South where electricity rates are the cheapest, the use of outdoor wood heat decreased in most states between 2000 and 2010.
Electric heating has surged in recent years, though not as fast as outdoor wood heat, in part because of efficient heat pumps. The economic disadvantages of fuel oil and propane as heating fuels are often discussed, but electricity is a more complex story. More than a third of American homes use electricity as the primary source of heat (US Census) and another 24% use it as a secondary heat source (EIA).
An electric boiler costs an estimated $35.05 per million Btu, according to EIA, and an electric space heater, a common appliance used for secondary heating, costs an estimated $34.32 per million Btu. An EPA certified indoor or outdoor wood stove running at 72% efficiency, in contrast, is estimated to cost only $12.63 per million Btu.
Consumer rates in Alaska, California, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington DC are on the high side at 14-17 cents per kWh (an average of $41-$50 per BTU for electric heating). The majority of homeowners in the South, West, and mid-West pay 9-13 cents per kWh, which works out to be $26-$38 per BTU. That is a much cheaper rate than some states, but still twice the cost of heating with wood.
Check out the Alliance for Green Heat
to read the full article and to view a map of the United States electric rates.
Learn more about outdoor wood heat
and see how much money you could save
by switching to this renewable, alternative energy heat source.
The business park the city of Silver Bay acquired in 1993 is finally filling up.
Victus Farm has joined AmericInn on the property, which the city now calls its eco-industrial business park. The new farm, a collaboration with the University of Minnesota Duluth, will provide jobs as well as local food and energy for the region.
"This really was a big effort," Lana Fralich, Silver Bay city administrator, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place on Sunday. She thanked the City Council and officials for their foresight in bringing in local jobs for future generations.
The farm is a combination of new technologies. The process starts with fish, tilapia to be exact, grown in large tanks. Next is the greenhouse that holds produce and algae. The fish will provide nutrients for the plants and the plants will oxygenate the water for the fish.
The algae will be made into biofuel, the tilapia will be sold to Harley Tofte, operator of Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, and the produce will be sold locally.
Ellen Anderson, adviser to Gov. Mark Dayton, made the trip to Silver Bay for the ceremony. She addressed a crowd of more than 100.
"Local foods and local energy means local jobs and local economic prosperity," Anderson said.
The story started in 1993, when the city purchased land for a business park from Lake County.
"Since the early 2000s, we've tried to make it work," Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson said.
The city courted many businesses, but AmericInn was the only one they could convince, until now.
The city began discussions with the Center for Sustainable Community Development at UMD more than three years ago and held the groundbreaking ceremony for the facility in October 2011.
"This is exactly the innovative, important project UMD should be involved with in the 20th century," said Susan Maher, dean at the UMD College of Liberal Arts.
The city and Lake County, supplemented by numerous local and state grants, supplied the $1.3 million needed for the farm.
The first grant of $300,000 came from the Minnesota Legislature. Fralich and Mike Mageau of the CSCD at UMD did their best to stretch their money, Fralich said.
All the construction labor was local. City crews did the prep work, Lakeside Masonry did the concrete work and Ray Riihiluoma Inc. completed most of the construction. WoodMaster, a local biomass company, supplied the pellet boilers that will heat the facility and water.
The final step will be the installation of a wind turbine near the water tower to power the facility. The city is in the process of finalizing the agreement.
The city hopes to expand the eco-industrial business park to include a pellet manufacturing facility that can feed the boilers at Victus Farm, Fralich said. The nearest pellet facility is in Hayward, Wis.
The farm will bolster the local economy and serve UMD, too, Mageau said. The site will be used for education, research and as proof that a system like Victus Farm can work in a small community like Silver Bay.
"This has really been an amazing project," Mageau said. "Silver Bay has been by far one of the best communities to work with."
Learn more about WoodMaster's Flex Fuel Series.
Minnesota-based WoodMaster and Swedish-based ABioNova, along with The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (Wolf Ridge) are celebrating installation of the first in a series of "Made in America" commercial wood pellet boiler system. The innovative wood pellet system, known as the WoodMaster Commercial Series Boiler, uses the latest in computer-controlled technology to maintain the highest possible efficiency.
The Wolf Ridge commercial boilers installation is the result of a unique regional and international partnership. Northwest Manufacturing of Red Lake Falls, Minn., has its own brand, WoodMaster Commercial Series, plus serves as the North American distributor for biomass manufacturer ABioNova. Utilizing ABioNova experience and master techniques for boiler plants, the companies have brought the Commercial Series boiler to customers in the U.S. market.
The team has installed several commercial boilers in the northeastern U.S., but the installation at Wolf Ridge in Finland represents one of their initial projects in Minnesota - and one of the biggest projects completed jointly by these two companies.
Wolf Ridge will use the commercial boilers not just as an energy source, but also as an educational tool to teach students about renewable resources.
"This new wood pellet system is bringing both economic and educational benefits," said Chuck Gagner, president of Northwest Manufacturing, "not only to Wolf Ridge, but to the community at large as it demonstrates how local partners can work together to advance technology and capture as much energy spending in their local communities as possible."
To read more on this interesting topic check out our Newsroom.
With the ever-increasing price of oil, natural gas and electricity, many homeowners are now considering using wood to heat their homes and workshops. Along with the potential cost savings that an outdoor wood heating system or other type of efficient wood stove can provide on home heating bills, using wood as your home heating fuel of choice is great for the environment - here's why:
1.Wood Is a Renewable Source of Energy
Any type of wood can be used for heating including trees that are storm damaged, diseased and unsuitable for other uses like furniture production. Trees grow quickly, require minimal care and new trees can be planted immediately after existing trees are harvested. Trees that are used for heating fuel are often grown in areas that would otherwise be unusable for any other purpose including traditional agriculture, housing or commercial development.
2. Burning Wood Is Carbon-Neutral
As a tree grows it acts as a natural air filter, absorbing carbon dioxide from the environment and in turn releasing pure oxygen back into the air. When wood is burned in an outdoor wood heating system or other appliance, the carbon dioxide the fire creates is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide that the tree absorbed during it's life, a process that is commonly referred to as the "carbon cycle". The same thing happens when a tree dies and decays naturally: the carbon dioxide it absorbed while growing is slowly released back into the environment as the tree breaks down and rots.
3. Wood Is Locally Sourced
Unlike other heating fuels like oil, natural gas and coal which are often shipped thousands of miles across international borders before reaching the consumer, wood that is burned for heating is usually sourced close to where it will be purchased and used.
Traditional fossil fuels are nonrenewable, costly to extract and transport, and require a complex system of distribution to get the fuels to the end user, the customer. By contrast, wood is 100 percent renewable and getting the fuel to the end user is usually a very simple, straightforward process that can be as easy as cutting down a tree in your own back yard or buying the wood from your local firewood dealer.
4. Outdoor Wood Heating Systems Can Heat Your Household Water
In addition to providing an eco-friendly and affordable source of home heating, an outdoor wood heating system can serve double-duty as a water heater. Many models of outdoor wood furnaces are hydronic which use hot water to transfer heat to a home. That same hot water can be captured and used for your household hot water needs with the installation of a simple heat exchanger, eliminating the need for a gas or electric water heater.
If you already burn wood, do you know where the type of wood you burn ranks? Using good, seasoned wood is an important part of getting high efficiencies out of your outdoor wood heating system, and in turn, saves you even more money.