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Northern Forest Center holds information session on pellet heat

By Northern Forest Center | September 28, 2016

The Northern Forest Center is offering incentives that help Vermonters switch to high-efficiency wood pellet boilers and furnaces. An information session about these heating systems and the incentives for Northeast Kingdom residents will take place at the Burke Town School, 3293 Burke Hollow Rd. in West Burke, from 6-8 pm on Oct. 4.

Everyone who attends the information session will be entered into a drawing to win a ton of wood pellets donated by Renewable Fuels of Vermont.

Northern Forest Center staff and manufacturers will be on hand to offer information and answer questions, and school staff will provide tours of the school’s pellet boiler. Light refreshments will be provided.

The Center is offering $3,000 incentives for 15 more residential conversions and higher incentives for 10 non-residential buildings. These incentives are in addition to rebates currently available from Efficiency Vermont and the Clean Energy Development Fund. Program details and an application are available online.

The Center’s Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative has helped more than 15  property owners in the Northeast Kingdom convert buildings to local, renewable wood pellets for heat to support the local forest economy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

 “Switching to wood pellet boilers is the right thing to do, even when oil prices are low,” said Maura Adams, program director for the Northern Forest Center. “Buying local wood pellets is good for our economy just the way buying local food is. One hundred percent of what we spend on wood pellets keeps circulating in the local economy, but 78 percent of what we spend on heating oil leaves the local economy.”

“These pellet boilers are whole-building, automated systems that completely replace oil or propane boilers,” said Adams. “Pellets are delivered in bulk and stored on site, then fed automatically to the boiler when heat is needed. There are no bags of pellets to lug or cordwood to haul. You’re still heating with wood, but without all the work.”

Funding for the Model Neighborhood program comes from VLITE, High Meadows Fund, Lintilhac Foundation, USDA Rural Development, Northern Border Regional Commission and others.

The goal of the Center’s Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is to demonstrate the reliability and efficiency of wood pellet boilers and create a market for bulk delivery of wood pellets. Wood pellets are a reliable, renewable, local fuel with a stable price history. Demand for pellets creates jobs for rural communities, and using wood pellets instead of oil reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Other benefits of the program include strengthening markets for low-grade wood, which provides a financial incentive to forestland owners to keep their forests intact, and opportunities to stabilize and increase employment in forest-based businesses.

The Northern Forest Center builds economic and community vitality while fostering sound forest stewardship in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.