Another Option for Renewable Heat
When you think of modern renewable heating technology, solar is usually what springs to mind. For many customers, this is simply the best option. However, for some people, there is no more efficient or affordable way to heat your home with a renewable fuel source than a biomass boiler. A $10,000 boiler and 5 cords of wood can produce the same energy content in one heating season as a 2.5 KW solar array in 7 years of operation. Because trees absorb a significant amount of carbon over their life time, burning sustainably sourced wood is far less carbon intensive than extracting and burning fossil fuels. A typical home using oil or natural gas would see a 75-90% reduction in the carbon emissions associated with heating their home.
By The Numbers
Whether or not a biomass boiler is right for will depend on a few factors. Primarily your access to inexpensive wood, your space for storage, and your desired level of self sufficiency. For instance, if you have your own wood lot heating your home may cost you close to nothing. If you have a local source of wood at the right price then a biomass boiler may be dollar for dollar the best option for heating your home. Consider an average home in New Hampshire, a highly forested area of the Northeastern United States. A home with a 75 mmBtu per year heating load would have an annual heating cost of $1100 on 4.4 cords of wood at $250 each. This is less than half the cost of oil for the same house. (Estimates courtesy of NH OEP, 2013).
Using a Biomass Boiler