Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Case Study Finds Wood Costs Least of Alternative Energy Sources

 The Cumberland times ran an article yesterday titled "Don't Knock Wood as an Energy Source" discussing how Derrick Bender, University of Maryland Extension educator, is in the middle of a case study comparing the cost of using wood, wind and solar as alternative energy sources. The laboratory? A house in Cumberland, MD that has solar panels on one side, two wind turbines on the other and a wood-burning furnace in the garage.  

"According to numbers crunched thus far by Bender, a homeowner who self-installs a furnace and cuts his or her own wood will pay a little more than 4 cents per kilowatt hour. Having the furnace installed, but cutting own wood increase the cost to almost 6 cents per kWh. Having the furnace installed and buying wood jumps it again, this time to almost 13 cents per kwh.

On the other two hands, the cost for wind is almost 29 cents and the tab for solar almost 33 cents."

Bender will present a free workshop on Feb. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m., titled “More Heat, Less Firewood.” You can read the full article here.


  1. The State of Maryland regulates these wood heaters in "COMAR 26.11.09" and maintains a list of "Maryland Certified Small Wood Boilers." The regulations govern wood boilers that are installed outdoors or indoors. I see that this company, based in Maryland, is selling small wood boilers that are not EPA Phase 2 Qualified or Maryland Certified. Your prvious blog post about the delay in the NSPS you state your concern about, "tens of thousands of polluting outdoor wood boilers to be installed" yet your promoting it here with a Maryland company selling "polluting outdoor wood boilers." What's up with that?

    1. To answer your question, the Alliance for Green Heat is not seeking to promote any product pictured or discussed in the article, nor do the views of the author and/or interviewees necessarily reflect those of the Alliance.

      The purpose of this post is to draw attention to an ongoing case study comparing the cost of heating with different forms of alternative energy.

      Our concern about highly-polluting wood boilers still stands. The Alliance supports stricter and more comprehensive national emissions standards for all wood-burning appliances.

      Please visit the following pages for more: