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.

  • 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 circulating in the local economy. We are thrilled that the Model Wood Heat Initiative has launched in each of the states of our region. In Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and New York we have provided finan…Read More
  • UMF heating plant approved by trustees - 01/29/15
    The UMaine System Board of Trustees approved a plan to heat most of the University of Maine at Farmington with a biomass heating plant, reported Ben Hanstein of the Daily Bulldog. THe $11 million proposal is to build a 5,800 square foot biomass plant that will heat many of the buildings on campus. The plant should reduce the campus' fossil fuel use by 90%. UMF expects a 10-year pay back on the project, which will be managed by Dirigo Architectural Engineering LLC. Now, the project moves to the F…Read More
  • President's Corner: The City that Trees Heat - 11/20/14
    Berlin—the city that trees built—is now the city that trees heat. To the best of my knowledge, Berlin boasts the highest concentration of wood pellet heat users in the nation. Forty homes, St. Kieran’s Community Center for the Arts , Berlin Housing Authority’s Welch Apartments and AHEAD ’s soon-to-open Notre Dame Senior Housing all boast high-efficiency, low-emission modern wood pellet boilers. President's Corner Blog…Read More
  • Maine Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Project tour a success! - 10/01/14
    The Northern Forest Center and Western Maine Community Action hosted economic development, state housing officials and state legislators on a tour of the Farmington Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative . Those following the tour witnessed the first day of operation for many of the modern wood heat systems. They travelled to locations including the Old South Church and Fairbanks Church in Farmington, participating homes, and a community building on Main St. in Wilton. Participants…Read More
  • Saranac, NY says yes to pellet boiler - 09/23/14
    Last night the Saranac, NY select board voted yes to replace the North Country hamlet’s old oil boiler with a high-efficiency wood pellet boiler. Councilman Jerry Delaney, a board member of the Northern Forest Center is thrilled that his town is closer to using a local, renewable source and to vote for using the town’s tax revenue wisely.…Read More
  • Burke Town School fires up pellet boiler - 09/23/14
    The Burke Town School has installed and fired up its new high-efficiency wood pellet boiler. The first boiler of the Vermont Model Neighborhood Project, an effort to catalyze the wood pellet boiler market in the Northeast Kingdom, it will keep the schoolchildren warm through the upcoming winter and save on the school’s energy bills.…Read More
  • 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