Unplugged Energy Independence

Wood heating is hot again

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Tue,Oct 18,2011 @ 11:10 AM

As oil costs continue to climb, people continue to seek alternative home heating options. According to the recently released US Census figures, wood home heating is growing the fastest.

Between 2000 and 2010, wood heating grew by 34%, beating electricity by 10%.

Michigan and Connecticut lead the way, with increases of 135% and 122%, respectively. (These percentages reflect households using wood as a primary heat source.) Six other states increased wood heating by more than 90%: New Hampshire (99%), Massachusetts (99%), Maine (96%), Rhode Island (96%), Ohio (95%) and Nevada (91%). 
Rural phenomenon

Not surprisingly, wood heating’s rapid rise is taking place in the country. According to the US Census, 57% of households who primarily heat with wood live in rural areas, another 40% in suburban areas and only 3% in urban areas.

Average Joe’s making the switch

We’ve mentioned before how affordable wood heating can be. The census data supports this claim: low and middle-income households are much more likely to use wood as a primary heating fuel. Residential wood heat accounts for 80% of residential renewable energy. 

Wood is good

President of the Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit organization based in Maryland, John Ackerly explains, “The rise of wood heat is good news for offsetting fossil fuels, achieving energy independence, creating jobs and helping families affordably heat their homes.”

Over the last decade, households using fossil fuels as their heat source have significantly declined: propane dropped 16% and oil 21%. Those who switched to wood cut their home heating bills by half or more.

Home fuel rankings

Considering both primary and secondary heating fuel, wood now ranks third in fuels used, following gas and electricity. When only primary heat is considered, wood ranks fifth, after oil and propane as well.

As of 2010, 2.1% of American homes, or 2,382,737 households, use wood as a primary heat source. That’s up from 1.6% in 2000.

Have you switched to wood as your home’s primary heat source? What fueled your decision to switch?

Topics: Wood furnaces, wood as heating fuel, affordability of heating with wood, wood home heating, wood heating, woodmaster, wood master, energy independence, alternative home heating

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