Group launches New Hampshire Wood Energy Council

By Anna Simet | April 18, 2014

A group of public sector and private business have partnered up to launch the New Hampshire Wood Energy Council, a nonprofit partnership that the group said will promote heating commercial and institutional buildings in New Hampshire with wood.

The council, being partially funded with a $250,000, three-year U.S. Forest Service grant, has a mission to provide advice, support and direct assistance to municipal, school and business building owners considering wood as an alternative to non-renewable heating fuels like heating oil and propane.

Rick DeMark, coordinator of the Gilford, N.H.-based North Country Resource Conversation and Development Council, which is overseeing the program, said New Hampshire sends over $1 billion out of state very year by importing fossil fuels for heat.  “This program will help owners of bigger buildings switch to wood pellets or wood chips using advanced technology to save money and keep our fuel dollars in our economy,” he said.

Components of the program include assistance of trained experts to aid community or business leaders to in evaluating options and determining whether heating with wood is smart choice for their buildings, and providing coaches to help project leaders connect with qualified vendors and engineers. Both services will be free of charge, the group said, and the program may help fund the cost of prefeasibility and feasibility studies that do a thorough analysis of project economics, engineering and technology options.

“Heating buildings with wood fuels has been around for centuries,” Demark said. “But new technologies and refined fuels like pellets and chips make this fuel very clean to burn and convenient to use.  In just the last five years, over 60 municipal, school and commercial buildings in NH have switched to advanced wood heating systems.  We’re here to help more folks evaluate this option and save money.”