66,000 More U.S. Homes Using Wood Heat in 2014

By Anna Simet | December 13, 2013

This week, the U.S. EIA released the December issue of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, and in it there is some good news for wood heat.

Among predictions that biomass heat, power and wood consumption is expected to grow across the board, EIA says this winter, about 2.648 million homes will rely on wood as a primary heating fuel, up 2.5 percent from last winter.

That’s an increase of 66,000 homes.

According to the U.S. Census, the average household consists of 2.6 people, so that’s roughly 171,600 new people enjoying the benefits of residential wood heating.

Breaking the numbers down by region, the western U.S. experienced a 1.1 percent increase with 750,000 homes using wood as a primary heating fuel. In the South, that number went up by three percent from last winter. The Midwest stayed about the same.

The Northeast, however, experienced the most growth—a 6.6 percent increase from last winter, at 632,000 homes.

This is likely the result of a number of things, but I’m confident it has a lot to do with the voices of the northeastern wood heat advocates—trade associations, equipment manufacturers, fuel providers, etc.—that have worked tirelessly over the past several years to draw the public’s and policymakers’ attention to the incredible benefits of residential wood heating. I’ve been on the ground to witness it, most recently at the Wood Stove Decathalon in Washington, D.C.

While 66,000 doesn’t seem like an incredible number compared to the vast number of homes still using fossil fuels as a primary heating source—FutureMetrics recently reported that in the rural Northeast alone, 6 million homes currently utilize oil or propane for heating—it is a definite indicator of positive growth, and I look forward to seeing that momentum continue.