Renewable Energy - Wood Heat in the Northern Forest

The Northeast consumes over 80% of the U.S. supply of home heating oil and loses more than $6 billion in fossil fuel spending annually. Emerging markets for highly efficient wood heat are creating new economic and wealth retention opportunities, mitigating climate change, and connecting rural community sustainability with a healthy forest landscape.

The Center is expanding the use of efficient wood biomass heat by helping to install wood pellet heating systems clustered in specific communities, increasing public understanding of new technologies and financing options, providing technical assistance on commercial-scale installations and larger, community-scale biomass projects, and creating supportive public policies on both state and federal levels.

See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about high efficiency wood heat, including discussions about its environmental and public health impacts, and take a look at the Biomass Energy Resource Center's new video about wood heat; it focuses on Vermont but applies to the whole Northern Forest region.

Interested in incentives for wood pellet boiler installations? Download this chart to see what's currently available in each of the Northern Forest states.

  • Northern Forest Center launches Vermont Model Neighborhood Project - 06/17/14
    The Center launched our Vermont Model Neighborhood Project in eight Northeast Kingdom towns. The project will help install high efficiency wood pellet boilers in 15 businesses, nonprofits and municipal buildings, as well as 5 homes. Projections show that over the lifetime of the 15 non-residential and 5 residential boilers, $20.5 million of wealth will be retained in the region, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by the amount produced by close to 8,150 passenger cars in one year. …Read More
  • Northern Forest Center secures funding for wood pellet boiler in Dummer, NH town hall - 05/12/14
    The Northern Forest Center with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development awarded the town of Dummer, NH funding to lower the barriers to installing a high-efficiency wood pellet boiler. The boiler is expected to save Dummer $1,500 a year in heating costs and eliminate 11 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the lifecycle of the boiler. The town will recover its investment in the boiler in just over a year from the savings on its energy bills. Find out more information…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 residences and owner-occupied multi-unit buildings serving as primary residences. Select non-residential buildings will also be eligible for participation in the Model Neighborhood Project. Energy efficiency …Read More
  • Northern Forest Center holds Model Neighborhood Project Information Session in Lyndonville, VT - 01/22/14
      The Northern Forest Center will host information sessions about using high-efficiency wood pellet boilers to replace oil and traditional wood heating systems in residences and small commercial buildings. The free sessions are an introduction to heating with wood pellet boilers, including a tour of a working model, will be held Thursday, Jan. 30 at 4 pm and 6 pm, in the Lyndon Town Office, 119 Park Ave, Lyndonville. Cutting Edge Energy Systems of Newark will present the MESys AutoPellet …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 forest economy. Western Maine Community Action and a variety of pellet boiler installation companies have partnered with the Center to bring the project about. Altogether we and our partners loo…Read More
  • Model Neighborhood Project Reaches 40 Home Target - 12/04/13
    We’ve reached an important goal for our Model Neighborhood Project in Berlin, NH! We set out to install 40 highly-efficient, central wood pellet boilers in Berlin, NH. Already, the first 39 participating homes and two non-profits have surpassed expectation for how much the project would impact the local and regional economy.     Our work continues as we replicate this project in the states of the Northern Forest region (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York). The Center …Read More
  • New Thermal Biomass Policy Report - 11/25/13
    Public policy is an important tool for accelerating the adoption of modern wood heating across the Northern Forest and beyond. Using the stories and data from our Model Neighborhood Projects, the Center advocates for energy policies at the state and federal level that will make it easier for the domestic wood pellet and wood chip heating sectors to grow. A new report from the Biomass Energy Resource Center - commissioned by the Center as part of the Northern Forest Investment Zone Initi…Read More
  • Over 200 sign on to biomass heat letter to DC - 11/01/13
      Over 200 people and organizations joined The Northern Forest Center and Sustainable Northwest on our letter to President Obama and leaders of Congress to establish to craft and support national energy policies that promote woody biomass thermal energy markets.   The letter serves as part of an effort by the Center and Sustainable Northwest inOregon to establish a unified wood heat policy network between forested regions across the United States. Our goal is to connect co…Read More
  • Action Opportunity: Sign-on to encourage supportive federal policy for wood heat - 09/25/13
    The Northern Forest Center and Sustainable Northwest in Oregon are partnering to establish a unified wood heat policy network between forested regions across the United States. Our goal is to connect community wood heat advocates to advance regional and national energy policies that accelerate development of woody biomass thermal energy markets. Click here to add your support by signing a letter to President Obama and Congress.   Woody biomass is a commercially available, cost…Read More
  • Eighteen households apply for the Farmington Model Neighborhood Project - 07/27/13
    Eighteen households applied for the first round of the Northern Forest Center’s Farmington Model Neighborhood Project. Community members from Farmington and Wilton gathered on June 27th to learn how to take advantage of financial support and project assistance in installing state-of-the-art, high efficiency wood pellet boilers. They expressed support for switching to a local fuel that reduces carbon emissions and saves them money on their energy bills. The Center’s four boiler vendor partner…Read More
  • Reps. Michaud and Welch introduce bill to spur thermal biomass adoption - 07/17/13
    U.S. Representatives Mike Michaud (ME) and Peter Welch VT) have introduced the Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act, a bill to spur the adoption of sustainably-harvested woody biomass as a heating fuel. This bill is a House companion to a similar bill introduced in the Senate by Senators Angus King and Susan Collins (ME) with co-sponsorship from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH). Current law leaves biomass out of energy tax credits that other renewable sources like solar and geothermal receive. The BTU …Read More
  • Model Neighborhood Project Launches in Farmington, Maine - 06/19/13
    The Center and Western Maine Community Action have launched the Model Neighborhood Project in Farmington and Wilton, Maine , to help convert homes and community buildings to high-efficiency wood pellet boilers. Switching from oil to wood pellets reduces the cost of heating fuel by 40-50 percent and keeps 100% of the money spent on heating fuel circulating in the regional economy. The Farmington project offers a financial incentive of 30% (up to $6,000) toward purchase and installation of wood…Read More
  • Center Supports Northeast Biomass Heating Expo - 04/08/13
    The Center is proud to have again sponsored the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo, held April 3-5 in Saratoga Springs, NY. The event is the region's largest biomass heating conference and featured panels, workshops and presentations on a wide range of issues related to using biomass for heat. The Expo included a case study of the biomass installation at St. Kieran Community Arts Center, in Berlin, NH, which the Center helped fund. …Read More
  • Northeast Biomass Heating Expo - 04/27/12
    On March 21-23, 2012, the Northern Forest Center attended the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo in Saratoga Springs, New York where industry experts and vendors gathered to discuss the current biomass climate and activities in the Northeast. During this conference the Center's Mike Wilson presented on the Model Neighborhood Project in the ‘lighting round’ with 12 other leaders in the Northeast.  During the quick three minute presentation Mike presented the goals of the Model Neig…Read More
  • Gilman Housing Trust Installs High-Efficiency Pellet Boiler - 04/27/12
    In the Spring of 2012, The Center provided technical and financial assistance to the Gilman Housing Trust to conduct an engineering study to install a pellet boiler in the Mathewson Building, an affordable housing unit in Lyndonville, VT. The Center contributed $900 towards the study. In March 2012 an OkoFEN PES56, 191,000 Btu/hour pellet boiler was installed in the building after the mechanical feasibility study was completed.  The new pellet boiler will significantly reduce the cost …Read More