Model Neighborhood Project

Benefits of the Model Neighborhood Project

40% annual fuel savings for average participants

Financial subsidy to support purchase and installation of new pellet boilers

14-ton per house reduction in greenhouse gas emissions 1,000 gallons of heating oil replaced by wood pellets

100% of every dollar spent on wood pellets from the Northern Forest will stay in the lcoal and regional economy

Model Neighborhood Project

This new program is subsidizing the cost to transition from oil heating systems to advanced wood pellet boilers for homeowners in Berlin, NH, and Farmington and Wilton, Maine.

Learn more below.

Clean and efficient system

New, high efficiency wood pellet boilers are a virtually seamless replacement for traditional oil-based systems.

Homeowners remove small bags of ash only 3 or 4 times a year through a clean quick-release system.

Program benefits regional economy

Demand for wood pellets will strengthen the market for low-grade wood

Increased pellet production will stabilize and increase employment in forest-related businesses

100% of every dollar spent on wood pellets stays in the regional economy

Partners in New Hampshire

Northern Forest Center
Berlin BetterBuildings
Maine Energy Systems
City of Berlin


Partners in Maine

Western Maine Community Action

The Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Project incentivizes the installation of high-efficiency, automated wood pellet boilers to increase familiarity with these systems, demonstrate their value and viability, and develop service and pellet delivery infrastructure. These heating systems are widely used in Europe, but their market penetration in the U.S. is limited. The Northern Forest Center partners with local organizations to focus education and incentives on select Northern Forest communities, whose cost savings, economic impacts, and experiences are then shared widely across the region.

Given the Northern Forest's high dependence on heating oil and its tremendous forest resource, high efficiency wood pellet heat has the potential to transform the region's energy economy. Check our Regional, Berlin and Farmington Dashboards to track how much the Model Neighborhood communities are saving!

Berlin (NH) Model Neighborhood Project

Launched in fall 2011, this project was a collaboration with Berlin BetterBuildings, the City of Berlin and Maine Energy Systems. 40 families, an arts center, and two non-profit housing properties made the switch. These conversions alone – not considering their regional ripple effect – are giving the local economy a substantial economic boost: we estimate that over the boilers' 25-year lifespan, buying Northern Forest wood pellets and saving money on fuel bills will contribute $5.3 million to the local economy.

Farmington (ME) Model Neighborhood Project

The Center launched its second Model Neighborhood Project in Farmington and Wilton, Maine in June 2013, in partnership with Western Maine Community Action.  Twelve homes, two churches and a physical therapy office have made the switch so far, and applications are still being accepted.

Vermont Model Neighborhood Project

In partnership with RuralEdge and Efficiency Vermont, the Center launched a Model Neighborhood Project in June 2014 to serve nine Northeast Kingdom towns in greater Lyndonville. Incentives are available for residential and non-residential projects alike; working lands businesses are especially encouraged to apply.


  • 100 modern pellet boiler installations - 02/20/15
    100 modern wood heat pellet boilers are installed and heating homes and small commercial buildings across the Northern Forest thanks to our Model Wood Heat Initiative. That means $180,000 in fuel savings, 1040 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided, and over $680,000 in impact from dollars circula…Read More
  • Farmington church expected to save $8,000 annually by heating with pellets - 07/13/14
    Maine Leaders of the Old South Congregational Church in Farmington expect to save about $8,000 a year with the conversion from conventional oil burners to high-efficiency wood pellet boilers to heat the 13,000-square foot church. Franklin Sun Journal…Read More
  • Farmington Model Neighborhood Project installs 10 boilers - 06/06/14
    Ten Boilers have been installed as part of the Northern Forest Center’s Model Neighborhood Project in Farmington and Wilton, Maine. The cluster demonstration project is part of a strategy to catalyze the high efficiency wood pellet boiler market in the Northern Forest region. The project aims to…Read More
  • Model Neighborhood Project coming to Vermont this spring - 01/31/14
    The Center is planning to launch the Model Neighborhood Project in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont this spring, in the towns of Sutton, Newark, Lyndon, Burke, Sheffield, Wheelock, East Haven and Kirby. The program will offer subsidies for boiler purchase and installation in single-family residenc…Read More
  • First boiler installed in Farmington - 01/17/14
    The Farmington Model Neighborhood Project installed the first high-efficiency, wood pellet boiler in a home in Farmington, ME. The project’s goal is to help the Northern Forest region move away from dependence on imported oil toward a local energy source that will create jobs and strengthen the fo…Read More