Unplugged Energy Independence
I generally do not consider myself as an old fashioned individual. Here at WoodMaster we believe we are open minded and constantly researching, developing and on the lookout for new and creative ways to use alternative, natural energy. But when it comes to the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac I do tend to be old fashioned. I suppose it’s from being raised in the Midwest in a farming community. Of course a main topic was always the weather and how it will affect the crops and of course the Almanac’s were always brought into that conversation. Even today when you go to the local coffee shop you hear the conversation center around the forecast that the Almanac’s have predicted.
Whether you read or believe in the Almanac’s is totally your choice. Personally this is one old habit I am not going to break. I have come to trust what they say because it at least gives me an idea of what to expect and if I happen to be a little over prepared because of it that’s OK.
What are they saying for this coming winter? Well the Farmers’ Almanac is using words like “piercing cold” along with “bitterly cold” and “biting cold.” Take a look at their map of the U.S. and you will get the idea.
As for the Old Farmer’s Almanac according to Janice Stillman, editor “This winter is shaping up to be a rough one.” She goes on to say “Sweaters and snow shovels should be unpacked early and kept close by throughout the season.”
What I’m getting out of this is get ready for what may become a long cold winter and for those of you that like to play in the winter wonderlands’ you should have the snow cover to really enjoy yourselves. Here in the Midwest I’m sure we will be enjoying great skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing if this forecast is accurate.
It’s still early enough to take a look at how you are going to heat this winter and if you need help in what’s available and how you can become oil independent just give us a call and WoodMaster can assist you. WoodMaster furnaces keep winter's harshest chill away. Tell old man winter to visit your neighbor.
Craig Doyle, WoodMaster’s local distributor and owner of Doyle’s Woodstoves in Greencastle, PA, installed the Flex-Fuel-60 Series boiler and then invited WoodMaster’s technical representative from their Minnesota headquarters to come to Caledonia State Park to demonstrate this new boiler installation and to train Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) staff in its proper start-up, operation, and maintenance. The system will be used as the primary heat source for the Park’s maintenance facility and the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum located next door.
The goal of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is to use wood heat to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and for energy diversity. The Flex-Fuel-60 Series boiler is a downdraft gasification system capable of burning cordwood or wood pellets. Wood pellets offer low and stable pricing, compared to fossil fuels which tend to be more price volatile. An 8.5 ton pellet bin has been installed to automatically feed pellets to the boiler. The bulk delivery of wood pellets will come from locally produced sources. The option to burn cordwood gives the Park the flexibility to use hazardous trees removed along the Park’s roads and trails, thus providing visitor safety as well as conserving forest resources.
Downdraft gasification technology ensures that the wood fuel will be burned virtually smoke-free while displacing the pollutants produced from burning conventional fuel heating oil. During the combustion process, the heat produced will be captured in four 285 gallon insulated hot water storage tanks. That hot water will be circulated throughout the buildings for heat. Hot water thermal storage helps ensure that the wood boiler will not smoke like conventional outdoor wood stoves. Instead, burn wood fuels with a hot fire and capture as much heat energy in hot water storage tanks, avoiding the need to damper-down the combustion process for a smaller or “cooler” fire. When the buildings demand heat, thermal energy will be there in the hot water storage tanks.
The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy (CPC) was a great partner during the installation of this new heating system. As a “Friend of the Park”, Anna Yelk, Executive Director for the CPC, administered a $50,000 grant received from the USDA Forest Service for the purchase and installation of the WoodMaster Flex Fuel heating system. Paula DeVore, Park Manager for the DCNR Bureau of State Parks - Resource Management and Planning Division and Michael Palko, Biomass Energy Specialist for the DCNR, Bureau of Forestry, played key roles in working with the CPC and WoodMaster to coordinate this project. The CPC’s mission is to conserve natural resources and open spaces for the benefit of current and future generations through land acquisition, conservation easements, education and outreach in the Central Pennsylvania Region. Visit their website at www.centralpaconservancy.org.
WoodMaster's Flex Fuel 60 Series boiler fit all the requirements for the grant. It is qualified and is currently the cleanest product listed on the EPA Burn Wise site. It is reliable, dependable, and offers full automation and self-cleaning features. Burning wood produces no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and brings jobs and revenue back into our local economies.
Doyle’s Woodstoves LLC, owned and operated by Craig and Diana Doyle in Greencastle, PA, offers a full line of WoodMaster products such as indoor/outdoor wood boilers, whole house pellet furnaces, pellet grills, and small commercial boilers for greenhouses and poultry/hog farms. Contact Doyle’s Woodstoves LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topics: residential wood heat, woodmaster, flexfuel, pellet fuel, woodmaster flexfuel series, pellet furnace, Pellet furnaces, WoodMaster FlexFuel, Flex Fuel, renewable fuel, alternative heating, renewable energy
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.
Topics: woodmaster, flexfuel, energy-saving boiler, high efficiency furnace, energy-efficient stove, energy-efficient heating, pellet fuel, woodmaster flexfuel series, energy-saving stove, pellet furnace, Pellet furnaces, WoodMaster FlexFuel, EPA qualified furnace, EPA qualified, Flex Fuel
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).
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.
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.
Topics: woodmaster outdoor wood-burning furnaces, affordable fuel, alternative energy sources, affordability of wood heating, affordability of heating with wood, wood heating, wood burning outdoor stoves, wood burning outdoor stove, alternative energy
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.
Topics: affordable fuel, alternative energy sources, alliance for green heat, affordable heat, affordability of wood heating, affordability of heating with wood, woodmaster, Pellet furnaces, alternative energy, alternative heating, alternative fuel, wood pellet heat, outdoor wood furnace, outdoor wood furnaces
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.
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