The Town of Saranac has installed a high-efficiency, low-emissions, automated wood pellet boiler to heat the Town Hall, which is expected to save over $1,000 per year on heating costs while supporting the region’s working forest economy. The Maine Energy Systems AutoPellet boiler was paid for in part with funds from the Northern Forest Center, a non-profit organization working across the 4-state Northern Forest region of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to help communities benefit from healthy working forests.
Town Councilor Jerry Delaney, a member of the Northern Forest Center board of directors, is a longtime supporter of using locally-sourced wood for heat. “I think the Adirondacks is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” said Delaney, “and everything I do in my public service is to make it a better place to live and a less expensive place too. Using modern wood heat will create jobs, reduce the cost of heating and keep our working forests working. It ties back into using our historic resources, maintaining traditional jobs and keeping the heritage of the region alive and well.”
“The boiler is up and running and I believe it's a very positive step for the town,” said Town Supervisor Joe Gerardi. “Without Northern Forest Center funding, we'd still be heating with a fossil fuel.”
Adirondack Model Neighborhood Project
The Saranac boiler installation is the first of many that will compromise the Adirondack Model Neighborhood Project, which will provide incentives for pellet boiler installations to 20 homeowners living in the target communities of Saranac, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. It will also provide funds to install 15 wood pellet boilers in municipal and non-residential buildings in Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties, with preference given to projects in the target communities. Through community-based clusters of bulk-fed, high-efficiency wood pellet boiler installations, the project demonstrates the reliability and cost savings of systems that can completely replace oil and propane boilers.
“This one project will do three significant things,” said Maura Adams, program director for the Northern Forest Center. “It will help businesses and homeowners lower their heating costs; it will increase demand for wood pellets, which supports jobs in our forest-based businesses; and it will keep money circulating in the local economy rather than being exported. For every dollar we spend on heating oil, 78 cents leaves the local economy. When we buy wood pellets, every dollar stays here.”
Pellet Boiler Incentives Available to Saranac Homeowners
For non-residential participants, the Model Neighborhood Project will provide up to $15,000 for qualified wood pellet heating systems, with a goal of completing 15 installations during the 2-year project. Municipal buildings will be given preference. For residential participants, the Model Neighborhood Project will provide up to $10,000.
The Center is partnering with the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), Essex County, Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and other organizations to bring the Model Neighborhood Initiative to the Adirondacks. Funding comes from NYSERDA through the Governor’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program, the Northern Border Regional Commission, the Overhills Foundation, and private individuals.