Renewable Energy - Biomass
Community Forest Collaborative
Regional Wood Products Consortium
New Markets Tax Credit Financing
Finance & Investment
Ways of the Woods
Mike Wilson, Senior Program Director
Community benefits by heating with local wood
Benefits of the Model Neighborhood Project
40% annual fuel savings for average participants
75% subsidy for to support purchase and installation of new pellet systems
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 up to 75% of the costs to transition from oil heating systems to advanced wood pellet boilers for as many as 40 homeowners in Berlin, NH, over the next 2 years.
Learn more below.
Clean and efficient system
The new ÖkoFEN 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
A Collaboration of
Northern Forest Center
Maine Energy Systems
City of Berlin
Janet and Leon Michaud have replaced their oil burner with a high-efficiency wood pellet boiler through The Center's Model Neighborhood Project.
Expected fuel savings: $1,075 a year
Expected CO2 avoided: 6 tons a year
Peter Canning shows visitors how his pellet boiler works.
Expected fuel savings: $2,866 a year
Expected CO2 avoided: 15 tons a year
Mary-Jo Landry talks about installing pellet boilers at Berlin Housing Authority with help from The Center's Model Neighborhood Project.
Homeowner Jayco Laughton of Berlin, NH, talks about the cost savings and efficiency of the new pellet boiler installed through the Model Neighborhood Project.
Expected fuel savings: $3,438 a year
Expected CO2 avoided: 18 tons a year
Berlin, NH, homeowner Leon Michaud has replaced an oil burner and an old wood furnace with one high-efficiency wood pellet boiler to heat his 2-family home.
Expected fuel savings: $1,075 a year
Expected CO2 avoided: 6 tons a year
The Model Neighborhood 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 forest economy.
High-efficiency, fully automated, centralized wood pellet boilers are a means to achieving this goal. The technology is well established in Europe but its market penetration in the U.S. is minimal. To increase its adoption in the U.S., wood pellet heating needs to be viewed as convenient, safe, dependable and economical. The Model Neighborhood Project project creates real world examples that illustrate the benefits of advance wood pellet heating and generate demand for emerging businesses serving this market.
Our first Model Neighborhood Project took place in Berlin, New Hampshire, in collaboration with Berlin BetterBuildings, the City of Berlin and Maine Energy Systems. Foundations, corporations and individuals provided financial support.
By the end of April 2013, 36 pellet boilers had been installed in Berlin homes. By buying pellets instead of oil since installing their new systems, homeowners have already saved tens of thousands of dollars on heating fuel. Over the boilers' 25-year lifespan, spending on Northern Forest wood pellets and saving money on fuel bills will contribute $5.4 million to the local economy.
Community benefits of the Model Neighborhood Project include:
- 40% annual fuel savings for an average home and for participating affordable housing buildings (based on Oct. 2010 oil prices)
- 14 ton per house reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for every home that replaces 1,000 gallons of heating oil with wood pellets
- Financial incentive for forestland owners to keep their forests intact through stronger markets for low-grade wood.
- Stabilized and increased employment in forest-related businesses, such as 4 existing Maine pellet producers that could support 500 additional direct and indirect jobs if operating at full capacity.
We are currently developing Model Neighborhood Projects in the Northern Forest regions of New York, Vermont and Maine.
Nearly 40 homeowners in Berlin, NH are now saving 40-50% on home heating costs while keeping their energy dollars circulating in the regional economy and helping create jobs. They received direct financial assistance of up to 60% of the costs involved in making the transition from fossil fuel boilers to advanced wood pellet boilers and participated in the Berlin BetterBuidings energy efficiency program. We are close to meeting capacity for this program, but are still accepting inquiries from Berlin homeowners. You will be placed on a waiting list. Unfortunately, residents of other Coos County communities are not eligible for the Model Neighborhood Project subsidy.
For your reference, details about the Berlin project are provided below.
The ÖkoFEN wood-pellet heating systems offered through this project are assembled in Bethel, Maine, and designed as a virtually seamless replacement for traditional oil-based systems.
Installed systems are valued between $18,500-$22,500 and offer characteristics and benefits including:
- Wood pellets are delivered in bulk to the home by a delivery truck that blows them into a basement storage bin that can hold up to 3.5 tons of pellets (enough for 3-4 months of use);
- Wood pellets are automatically auger-fed from the bin based on the demands of the boiler – no bags involved;
- Boiler requires minimal ash removal and the process is clean, contained and convenient for homeowners through aa a quick-release and remove bag system that needs to be tended approximately 3 times per year;
- Boilers are exceedingly efficient and have minimal Greenhouse Gas CO2 emissions;
- Retrofitting to a pellet boiler requires minimal changes to the home heating system; and
- Homeowners can maintain their oil boiler as a back-up system if they have sufficient flue space.
In order to participate, homeowners must also participate in the Berlin BetterBuildings program, and have homes that meet certain specifications (e.g. appropriate square footage in basement).
- Significant financial assistance toward the purchase of state-of-the-art ÖkoFEN boiler systems sized to meet home heating needs – see below for details.
- Installation of the pellet heating systems by licensed, qualified installers in keeping with all applicable state and local codes.
- Locked-in fuel cost at the equivalent price of $1.99 /gallon heating oil through June 31, 2013.
- Regular system maintenance provided by the installer for one year, plus 24/7 access for emergency service. (It is expected that the relationship will continue beyond the trial year.)
- Long-term fuel cost savings. At today’s pellet and fossil fuel prices, the average homeowner would save 40-50% of their anticipated oil costs by switching to pellet-fired central heating.
- Environmental benefits: A home that burns 1,000 gallons of oil per year will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 14 tons per year by switching to pellet heating.
- Provide appropriately lined flue space for the ÖkoFEN boiler system.
- Agree to use the ÖkoFEN boiler system, or the ÖkoFEN with fossil fuel back-up if they have sufficient flue space, for heating their homes and domestic hot water for a period of at least one year from installation.
- Agree to communicate with the BMNP Program Manager on a regular basis and to complete on-line questionnaires about the performance of their systems.
- Allow their boiler performance to be made available for monitoring on the worldwide web by providing a live internet access port near the boiler. Neither the boiler’s location nor the homeowner’s name will be associated with the live performance data.
- Show their systems to interested parties on up to five scheduled occasions during the trial year.
- Permit the Project Manager to use their names and comments in testimonials about the products and systems they have used.
Direct financial assistant during the first round of BMNP heating system retrofits will take advantage of two funding sources:
- Northern Forest Center – Direct Cash Subsidy: $11,000
- 1% Loans through the Berlin BetterBuildings Program plus any available program incentives
The direct subsidy from the Northern Forest Center covers up 60% of the standard purchase and installation cost of a state-of-the-art OkoFEN home boiler.
Low-interest financing is available through the BetterBuilding program to help participating homeowners cover remaining purchase and installation costs, as well as any additional expenses related to repairs or upgrades to the chimney, circulation system or other elements of the existing home heating system.
Participating Lending Partners include Guardian Angel Credit Union, Laconia Savings Bank, Northway Bank, and Woodlands Credit Union.
Project partners are looking for a diversity of housing types for this pilot project and will select residential participants accordingly. The program is available only to single-family residences or owner-occupied multi-unit buildings serving as primary residences in Berlin, NH. Additional eligibility criteria include completion of a Berlin BetterBuildings program application and home energy audit process and pre-approval for any necessary loan financing.
Final selection of project participants will be based on the following criteria:
- Diversity of housing stock;
- Diversity of annual heating demands;
- Suitability of existing home heating infrastructure (chimney, circulation system, etc.)
- Space availability or limitations;
- Willingness and ability of homeowners to represent their experience to other potential buyers or markets for wood pellet heating systems.
As noted above, to be eligible for the Model Neighborhood Project homeowners must participate in the Berlin BetterBuildings program, conduct a home energy analysis, and through energy efficiency upgrades, target a minimum 15% energy savings.