Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Zealand Study Finds Wood Pellet Heating Improves Health for Low-income Families (excerpts)

Last week in New Zealand, the Productivity Commission released a Housing Affordability Report.  The report included a review of a housing, insulation and health study involving 1,400 households from seven regions. It showed dramatic health improvements brought about by interventions such as replacing inefficient electric heaters and unflued gas heaters with heat pumps, wood pellet burners and flued gas heaters. These positive effects were more marked for low-income families. 

In New Zealand, excess moisture is a major problem leading to mold and ill-health effects and the dry heat produced by pellet stoves was an excellent remedy.

One of New Zealand's leading researchers on inequality in health and housing, Philippa Howden-Chapman, pointed out that the lowest income families spend about 13 percent of their income on heating, while the wealthiest only about 2 percent. Around 1600 extra people die in winter than in summer due to poor housing and a lack of heating.

Lack of affordable housing and heating is not a new phenomenon.  Two thousand years ago a pregnant woman and her carpenter husband could not find adequate or affordable lodging, and the woman had to give birth in a manger. 

For the full story:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Counting Stoves: Dirty vs. Clean Burning

Ever wondered how many of the approximately 10 million wood stoves in the field today are clean-burning? According to a new article written by James E. Houck and published in Hearth & Home magazine, 35% of free-standing cord wood and pellet stoves are EPA-certified. The estimate is based on manufacturing records supplied by HPBA and the American Housing Survey, and does not include fireplace inserts. 

Finding accurate data on certified vs. uncertified stoves was no easy task, Houck writes, because many home occupants don’t know the status of their heaters. To make matters worse, many states in the South and Mid-Atlantic region have few regulations or programs to encourage the purchase of new lower-emitting wood stoves. Oregon remains the only state that requires uncertified stoves to be removed when a home is a sold. It seems much more must be done before the reality of wood heat catches up to the precedent set by the New Source Performance Standard, passed over two decades ago.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How to Choose a Wood Stove

Deciding which woodstove to buy can be tough, even if you've been heating with wood for years and are simply looking for a replacement stove. John Gulland, writing for Mother Earth News, brings a fresh, important and independent perspective to the subject.  (The editors even made him name certain manufacturers.) He stresses focusing on a good hearth store first, where you can get good advice and service, and then focus on a brand.  Many consumers buy based on aesthetics, but first look at how long company has been in business, Gulland says.

Wood and pellet stoves in Congressional Winter Fuels Outlook

For the first time, wood and pellets are included in the annual Winter Fuels Outlook produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The Alliance worked with CRS, the offices of Senator Shaheen and Congressman Van Hollen and others to ensure that wood and pellets are recognized as an important winter fuel.  The CRS report summarizes a more detailed report from the Energy Information Agency, which has still not included wood and pellets. 

Wood Stoves & Boilers May Be Eligible for Tax Credit in New Bill

Senators Snowe, Bingaman and Feinstein introduced the "Cut Energy Bills at Home Act" which would give up to a $5,000 tax credit for performance-based home improvements.  The bill, as written, makes biomass heaters eligible if savings can be calculated with approved energy efficiency software packages, such as RESNET, BPI or an alternative software. The Alliance for Green Heat is working with Congressional offices and efficiency standards organizations to ensure that there will not be unforseen barriers for biomass heaters. Currently, most energy efficiency software does not have sufficient ability to analyze performance and savings of biomass heaters. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Support Your Economy, Buy Local Firewood!

From retail shops to farmer’s markets, stickers and posters with the slogan “Buy Local” can be seen plastered just about everywhere these days. They're there to remind shoppers that purchasing goods and services locally supports small community businesses, protects the environment and keeps the local flavor of an area alive. 
Based on the disproportionate amount of coverage it receives, you might think that purchasing locally only applies to food. And while it may be the case that locally grown fruits and vegetables are often fresher and more wholesome – not to mention more sustainably harvested – than what is sold in the chain supermarkets,  food is certainly not the only product you should be buying locally: wood stove owners who purchase their firewood from local dealers are also doing their part to finance their communities, sustain jobs and secure their nation's energy independence.  

It has previously been demonstrated that local purchasing whether food, hardware, or firewood – makes a lot of fiscal sense. The more local shoppers purchase goods and services from small community vendors instead of large chains, the more self-reliant and resilient the economies of these areas become, experts say. According to a study by the independent British think tank New Economics Foundation, twice the money stayed in the community when consumers bought goods from a local market rather than a chain store. Such evidence echoes what local purchasing advocates have been saying for some time. 

"If you're buying local and not at a chain or branch store, chances are that store is not making a huge profit," says David Morris, Vice President of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit economic research and development organization based in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. "That means more goes into input costs—supplies and upkeep, printing, advertising, paying employees—which puts that money right back in the community."

Moreover, buying local helps keep money circulating in the community by increases the “velocity of money” – the term economists use to describe the rate at which the currency changes hands.  Most experts tend to agree that the greater the velocity of money in an area, the better it will be for the local economy. As David Boyle, researcher for the New Economics Foundation explains, “Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going."

So whether you’re in the market for food or fuel, it really is better to buy local.  By purchasing firewood from your local dealer, you can be assured you are doing your part to help your neighbors and, if you are American, wean the U.S. off of expensive foreign oil. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great Charity and PR Opportunity for Hearth Stores

An Arizona hearth stove store is running a promotion where customers purchasing a new stove are given the chance to trade in their old one for a tax deduction.  The old stoves are then donated to local families in need.  We at the Alliance think this is a great idea, so long as the old stove is EPA certified!  Assuming the hearth store gives these older stoves to a charity, and the donation receipt is from that charity, the customer can still get a decent tax deduction based on value of stove, even if the stove is disabled and given to a steel recycler.  If this could catch on nationally, stove retailers could provide a great service to the air we breathe and help get their customers a nice tax break.  And since the 10% federal tax credit is all but certain to disappear in 2012, this a great way to extend some tax help to customers.  The Alliance would be happy to help try to expand what this Arizona store has started.  Anyone interested?

Here is the transcript of the ad:

Want to stay warm this winter and make a difference at the same time?  How?  When you upgrade your home by adding or replacing your heat source with a new wood, gas or pellet burning stove and donate your old stove at Roof Dancers, the warmest little stove shop in Northern Arizona, you get a huge tax credit.  Roof Dancers will donate your old stove, on your behalf, to a Northern Arizona Outreach providing quality alternate sources of heat to needy families.  You get the tax credit and a family who can put your used quality wood, gas or pellet burning stove to good use gets the warmth, a real win-win.  Roof Dancers is the area expert on long burning wood stoves. Stoves that heat evenly, last longer and conserve energy while helping the environment.  Ask a friend, chances are they got their stove from Roof Dancers.  Stop by and check out the all new Blaze King, the only wood stove in the market that looks great and can up to 50 hours on a single fill of wood. There’s nothing like it, Roof Dancers, on 4th street, next door to Sonic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Residential Heating Fuels Show Diverse Growth Patterns

Wood was the fastest growing heating fuel nationally between 2000 and 2010, and in 25 states. But in some regions, electricity, natural gas, propane and even oil are experiencing rapid growth. Wood grew the fastest (+34.6%), followed by electricity (+26.8%) and natural gas (+4.9%), and both propane (-16%) and oil (-21.9%) experienced significant declines. But regional differences abound.

In decline just about everywhere else, the South was the only region to have seen substantial gains in residential oil use. Texas (84.6%) had the greatest increase in oil use of any state by far, with Arkansas (36.75) and Oklahoma (35.7%) rounding out the top three. In both Texas and Oklahoma, oil grew the fastest of any fuel source. In Arkansas, it finished second to electricity (48.2%).
The Northeastern United States experienced some of the biggest shifts in natural gas and propane use over the past ten years. Maine (44.8%), New Hampshire (39.4%) and Connecticut (27.1%) currently lead the U.S. in residential propane growth, and Vermont also ranks second among the states where natural gas is rising the fastest. In each of these New England states, however, wood still remains the fastest growing source of residential heating fuel.
Other than Vermont, gas heating rose the most in Nevada (51%) and Idaho (41.1%). Propane use saw large increases in Pennsylvania (22.2%) and Washington (21.1%), in addition to the aforementioned New England states.
Unlike wood and propane, the large increase of electricity in the U.S. is not confined to any particular geographic region. The states with the three biggest increases were Georgia (54.7%), Iowa (49.5%) and South Dakota (49.2%).
Wood heat use grew fastest in the Northeast and Great Lake States, and fell in most of the south. If history is any lesson, the South may rise again, and heating demographics will continue to provide a fascinating and often surprising growth trends.
Changes in rank
In addition to regional growth rates, state ranking of primary heating fuel use is another lens through which we can understand the growth of wood heat. In 2000, wood was among top the top four heating fuels in 26 states, exceeding at least propane or oil. In 2010, wood was among the top four fuels in 33 states.
In 2000, wood was the third most common heating fuel in two states (Oregon and Idaho), exceeding propane and oil. In 2010, it was the third most common fuel in five states (Idaho, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia).
Finally, in 2000 and 2010, wood was the second most common heating fuel in one state (Maine) after heating oil.
Wood is not the most common heating fuel in any state, and it is unlikely that it ever will be – or ever should be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2010 Census Shows Wood is Fastest Growing Heating Fuel in US

Rural low-income families the new growth leaders in renewable energy production

October 10, 2011 - Recently released US Census figures show the number of households heating with wood grew 34% between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other heating fuel. Electricity showed the second fastest growth, with a 24% increase over the last decade.

In two states, households using wood as a primary heat source more than doubled - Michigan (135%) and Connecticut (122%). And in six other states, wood heating grew by more than 90% - New Hampshire (99%), Massachusetts (99%), Maine (96%), Rhode Island (96%), Ohio (95%) and Nevada (91%).

Census data also shows that low and middle-income households are much more likely to use wood as a primary heating fuel, making low and middle-income families growth leaders of the residential renewable energy movement. According to the EIA, residential wood heat accounts for 80% of residential renewable energy, solar 15% and geothermal 5%.

“Heating with wood may not be hip like solar, but it’s proving to be the workhorse of residential renewable energy production,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit organization based in Maryland.

The rise of wood and wood pellets in home heating is driven by the climbing cost of oil, the economic downturn and the movement to use renewable energy. The Census Bureau does not track the reason people switch fuels but in states like Maine and New Hampshire where rising oil prices are squeezing household budgets, it is clear that many families simply feel the need to cut heating costs.

“The rise of wood heat is good news for offsetting fossil fuels, achieving energy independence, creating jobs and helping families affordably heat their homes,” said Mr. Ackerly.

“However, Wood heat’s rapid rise is not just from people using clean pellet and EPA certified wood stoves. Many people are also dusting off old and inefficient stoves and in some states installing outdoor boilers that create too much smoke,” cautions Ackerly.

Over the last decade, the number of households using two of the most expensive heating fuels significantly declined: propane dropped 16% and oil heat dropped 21%. Some of those homes undoubtedly switched to wood. Switching from fossil fuels to commercially purchased wood heat can reduce a home’s heating bills by half or more. Those who cut or collect their own wood save much more, using their labor to zero out heating bills.

Currently about 25-30% of the 12 million stoves in the U.S. are clean burning pellet stoves or EPA certified wood stoves, according to the EPA and other sources. Americans have installed about one million pellet stoves since the 1980s when they were invented.

Wood now ranks third in the most common heating fuels after gas and electricity for both primary and secondary heating fuel use, but ranks fifth, after oil and propane as well, when only primary heat fuel is considered. As of 2010, 2.1% of American homes, or 2,382,737 households, use wood as a primary heat source, up from 1.6% in 2000. About 10 - 12% of American households use wood when secondary heating is counted, according to the US Census Bureau and the Energy Information Agency (EIA).

The rapid rise in wood heat as a primary heating fuel is mainly a rural phenomenon, and to a lesser extent a suburban trend. According to the US census, 57% of households who primarily heat with wood live in rural areas, 40% in suburban areas and only 3% in urban areas.

# # #

The Alliance for Green Heat promotes wood and pellet heat as a low-carbon, sustainable and affordable energy solution. The Alliance works toward cleaner and more efficient wood heating appliances, particularly for low and middle-income families. The Alliance is a 510c3 non-profit organization based in Maryland.

To download the full press release, visit:

Facts and Analysis on 2010 Census Heating Fuel Data

· The top ten states of per capita primary wood heating are: Vermont (15%), Maine (12%), Montana (8%), New Hampshire (8%), Oregon (7%), Idaho (7%), West Virginia (6%), Alaska (5%) and Wyoming (5%).
· Four of the eight most populous states - New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan - experienced increases in wood heat of at least 65%.
· Rapid rise in wood heat is not just confined to states with very high use of heating oil. In Michigan and Ohio, for example, where the relatively inexpensive natural gas is dominant, wood heat still soared.
· West Coast states, where laws regulating wood heating tend to be stronger, had modest increases in wood heating (6 – 12%) but it is unclear to what extent those regulations kept wood heat growth in check and to what extent other factors were responsible.
· The only part of the country where wood fell as a primary heating fuel was the Deep South, where states experienced a 2 – 13% decline with the exception of Florida that declined 21%.
· In a significant milestone, since 2000 wood has overtaken propane as a primary heating fuel in three eastern states: Maine, Vermont and West Virginia. This is the first time that wood has topped propane in an eastern state since 1970.
· In Europe there has also been a rapid rise in wood and pellet heating, which has more to do with generous government incentives to help homes reduce fossil fuel use. Many European countries have had 25 to 50% incentives for much of the previous decade.
· The US had a 30% tax credit up to $1,500 for only two years, 2009 and 2010. Currently the tax credit is only for 10% with a maximum of $300.
· The number of homes heating with wood fluctuates much more quickly than other fuels because most families who use wood as a primary heat source also have a fossil fuel back-up which they use more of when or if that fossil fuel is more affordable.
· According to the US Forest Service reports, a majority of Americans who heat with wood cut or collect their wood.
· Some states with a more than 90% rise in wood heat have very high unemployment, such as Michigan and Nevada, ranked 1 and 3 for highest unemployment rates. But in New Hampshire, which also had more than 90% rise, unemployment is among the lowest in the US.
· A disturbing trend is that in some of the states with the greatest increase in wood heat, inefficient traditional outdoor hydronic heaters that often create excessive smoke are still allowed to be installed, such as Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. These four states have more than half of all such outdoor heaters in the US according to a 2006 NESCAUM report. (13 states, mainly from the Northeast and the West Coast, ban the installation of these devices but most allow cleaner, EPA qualified ones to be installed.)
EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey, 2009, Table HC1.1 &Table HC2.4:
Background on government incentives:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hydronic Heater Ads Misleading Consumers

Marketing claims by a number of hydronic heater manufacturers citing efficiencies up to 99% may run afoul of the Phase 2 Partnership Agreement between the EPA and manufacturers of Phase 2 units. The problem stems from manufacturers using the EPA’s name to explicitly or implicitly endorse the extremely high efficiency numbers that had been reported by test labs last year, but have since been called into question.

A recent Wood Master advertisement running in the October/November issue of Mother Earth News states, “EPA DATA PROVES NOBODY IS CLEANER OR MORE EFFICIENT” in addition to claiming that Wood Master tops the list of “heaters rated by the EPA” and that the boiler is “EPA Qualified over 99% efficiency.”

Relevant language in the Phase 2 Partnership agreement includes: "Partner agrees not to construe, claim, or imply that its participation in the EPA Program constitutes federal government approval, acceptance, or endorsement of anything other than Partner's commitment to the Program. ... The Partner agrees to ensure that outreach materials describing this Agreement include statements that EPA does not endorse any particular product, service, or enterprise."

Note: When the Alliance contacted Wood Master, they readily acknowledged that this ad was misleading and should not have been printed and did not use it again.

For the full agreement:

Now that the extremely high efficiency numbers obtained through the EPA Phase II partnership program have been discredited, the Alliance believes it is misleading to consumers for manufacturers to continue using them in advertisements for their products. The EPA should proceed with due haste to disassociate the Phase 2 program from such efficiency numbers.

In 2014, the EPA posted efficiency numbers for qualified outdoor boilers that ranged from 39 to 78%.)

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Booming Wood and Pellet Stove Market in Europe

In recent years there has been considerable attention given to European boilers and boiler testing methods, but much less given to European stoves. European national governments are aggressively incentivizing wood heat in addition to regulating it, unlike the US where needed regulation is not combined with promotion of the cleanest forms of wood heat as a renewable energy source.

Although I am no expert in the European wood and pellet stove market, I spent a month in France and Spain this summer and was very impressed with what I saw.

The wood stove market is much larger in Europe than it is in the US. Apparently, more than 2 million stoves and inserts are sold every year in the 27 European Union Countries, and there are 42 million installations. (On average, in the US there are less than 250,000 stoves and inserts sold every year and only about 13 million installations.) Additionally, about 450,000 wood cook stoves are purchased each year in Europe, and there are 7,500,000 installations. The population of the 27 European Union countries is about 500,000,000 whereas the US is about 300,000,000, so it’s a bigger market but probably even more urbanized.

In France, 30 – 40% of the population in most areas uses wood as a primary or secondary heat source. However, there was not the explosion of low efficiency polluting devices that occurred in the US in the 1970s and 1980s. As a result, the average French person does not regard wood heating as a pollution problem as many Americans are likely to.

France has had tax credits for stoves at 15% starting since at least 2001. In 2005, they rose to 40% and were as much as 50% in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 they went down to 40%, and in 2011 they were further reduced to 36%. Due to budget cuts, tax credits are likely to be reduced again in 2012 or end altogether.

To qualify for the credits, stoves had to be 70% efficient and under 0.3% CO emissions, which conforms to the French eco-label Flamme Verte’s standard. Unlike the US, where the 30% tax credit in 2009 and 2010 applied to virtually every certified wood stove on the market, the French have used the tax credit to incentivize manufacturers to build cleaner products and for consumers to buy them. However, Flamme Verte’s is not a particularly strict standard. It allows higher emissions than most or all other European eco-labels, particularly in Germany where standards are getting progressively stricter. Most stoves on market in France are 71 – 77% efficiency (LHV), whereas pellet stoves are at least 10 points higher.

Maximum emission and efficiency standards set by the European EN standards are not particularly strict, which has opened the door to many eco-labels, such as Blue Angel, Nordic Swan, Flamme Verte, DINplus, etc. Usually, government incentives are tied to standards set by the eco-labels. Similarly, an NSPS that sets 70% efficiency threshold and a 4.5 gram an hour emission limit for both wood and pellet stoves leaves much room for stricter standards by either Energy Star or a private label. European manufacturers say eco-labels have been a driver of sales, whereas in the US the stove industry association appears neutral or wary of such a label. Incentives in Europe have also helped to move consumers from fireplaces to stoves and from wood to pellets, a policy tool that has yet to be used in the US except very locally, in changeout programs.

Observations on technology:

1. Wood and pellet stoves and boilers are increasingly being tied into other renewable systems. Solar thermal systems and wood and pellet stoves can be integrated – not just with boilers. Stoves and air source heat pumps are also combined to use the same ducting, which provides AC in the summer.

2. Many brands heat water for both domestic hot water use and for space heating. In addition to many French manufacturers, UK’s Hamlet – which makes small stoves – and Spain’s Bronpi offer hot water options. Why isn’t such a stove on the market in the US?

3. Some major brands, such as French manufacturers Supra and Fondis, have heat exchangers and ducts to other rooms in addition to fans that push hot hair through the ducts to heat adjacent rooms or other floors.

4. There are some units on the market that use electronically controlled air adjustments to reduce emissions. These are called electric “Advanced control loops” (draft control according to temperature and flow rate of flue gases).

5. Unlike their reputation in the US for being small, many European brands offer fireboxes that can take pieces of wood between 20 and 28 inches long. On the other end of the spectrum, British stove maker Hamlet makes many stoves that take pieces of wood as small as 7 – 10 inches, making them ideal for small rooms and boats.

6. Many brands offer cook stoves that are just as efficient and low emission as stoves that achieve relevant eco-label standards.

7. In England they have developed a sophisticated system of only allowing certain types of stoves and fuels in high pollution areas such as London. The “smoke control zones” set out by DEFRA require that all stoves be approved for use. This mainly restricts fuels to pellets and manufactured logs; however, it does allow wood in some very low emission equipment, including in a select few American made stoves. For more information:

8. Some brands use catalysts that are electrically preheated to effectively reduce particulates even during the first 5 – 10 minute start-up period.

The European equivalent of the HPBA Expo is in France from March 22 – 25, 2012 and promises to showcase many technological advances. More of us from the US should be there:

John Ackerly
August, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Central Boiler Responds to Rhode Island Outdoor Boiler Story

Last month, we posted a story which also ran in our newsletter about attempts in Rhode Island to pass legislation on outdoor wood boilers. We received several interesting communications as a result and wanted to update that story - and correct ourselves.

One of the communications was from Central Boiler, who gave us permission to quote from their email. They rightly pointed out that we failed "to make mention of the most recent Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Regulation No. 48 which became law April 14, 2011." That regulation requires that all outdoor boilers installed after July 1 are Phase 2 qualified and Central Boiler was not opposed to this regulation.

Central Boiler also noted that the Alliance for Green Heat mistakenly indicated that Pennsylvania has established a 150 foot set back, whereas in fact it is 50. We stand corrected.

Also, Central Boiler said that they had "NOT taken out any ads regarding the Bills" in Rhode Island, as the Alliance had alleged. However, the Alliance has in its possession a paid advertisement on page 11 of the March 30 edition of the Rhode Island “Bargain Buyer” signed by Central Boiler and apparently taken out by a Central Boiler dealer or agent. The ad urges owners of outdoor wood boilers to contact their legislator to oppose H5783.

The Alliance for Green Heat believes that the EPA should have established a mandatory program for outdoor wood boilers years ago, requiring that only Phase 2 boilers be installed anywhere in the country. We also support the provision in H5783 that would have required that non Phase 2 boilers be removed upon the sale or rental of a home and that outdoor boilers be set back 150 feet from the property line.

While the Alliance for Green Heat and Central Boiler do not agree on many things, we appreciate the open and respectful dialogue we have with them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wood Heat Symposium Challenges Policy Makers to Address Wood Heat’s Potential

This last Tuesday, Washington DC witnessed a rare event; a group of policy makers, industry officials and environmental organizations gathered to discuss the renewable energy contributions of everyday Americans using wood to heat their homes. The basics of this technology has been around for hundreds of years, but its modern form has yet to earn the same respect and attention flashier renewable energies such as wind or solar power receive. Wood heat provides 80% of residential renewable energy in America, solar PV 15% and geothermal only 5%, but wood heat has consistently been neglected by state and federal policy makers. On Tuesday, the Alliance for Green Heat’s Symposium, “Scaling up Residential Biomass Heating” helped to raise the profile of residential wood heat in Washington.

This symposium explored the opportunities for policy makers to maximize the potential of residential wood heat to reduce fossil fuel use in a tight fiscal climate, while minimizing its drawbacks. The eleven expert speakers covered the policy landscape, sustainability and emissions issues, state and federal case studies and results of a newly released study on wood heat incentives. The discussion was divided into two panels, the first, “Wood Heat in America: The People’s Renewable,” was a bright look at the scale and potential of wood heat in America, with Dave Atkins from the Forest Service outlining the ecological benefits of firewood harvest, John Ackerly of the Alliance for Green Heat presenting on how wood heat will continue to outplace solar, Jack Goldman of the Hearth Industry discussing how technological innovations are cleaning up wood smoke and Jon Strimling of American Biomass discussing how the country can further scale up wood heat. This panel was introduced by Edmund Gee of the USDA, and moderated by Lily Donge of the socially responsible investment group, Calvert Asset Management.

The second panel outlined various policy and incentive options for residential wood heat. The Alliance for Green Heat’s Tatiana Butler both moderated and discussed their newly released 130 page policy toolkit on Transforming Wood Heat in America. Scott Nichols of Tarm USA began the discussion by comparing the US’s progress on promoting wood heat as a valuable energy solution with the great advancements Europe has made. Steve Nadel from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy discussed how incentives can act to drive the market towards the most efficient appliances. Finally Chris Rice from the Maryland Energy Administration gave a real life example of how Maryland has tried to integrate wood heat into their renewable energy policies. Ed Cesa concluded the symposium with a discussion of the valuable educational work the Wood Education and Resource Center performs and finances.

Stakeholders who attended included representatives from the Forest Service, EPA, state energy offices, the EIA, environmental groups, non-profits, the Congressional Research Service and many wood heat related businesses. There was concern expressed over how we would know when the nation would hit the point of unsustainable harvest. While that point is far in the future, attendees felt it was important to consider when growing the use of woody biomass while other uses of it may grow quickly as well. Other discussion centered on how low-income families would be affected by tightening emission standards and the difficulties invasive species such as the Emerald Ash Bore, pose to the firewood industry.

The Alliance for Green Heat wishes to express its thanks to everyone who participated and contributed to a valuable and ongoing discussion, and especially to the Wood Education and Resource Center, and the Forest Service headquarters. For copies of the power point presentations, click here.