The Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is proving the efficiency and economic benefits of heating with local wood. Focusing on specific communities, the initiative provides financial incentives to qualified participants to install high-efficiency wood pellet boilers. A pellet boiler system is an automated, thermostat-controlled, and highly efficient way to heat with wood.

Model Neighborhood participants in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York are increasing demand for this renewable heat source that supports the local economy. Wood fuel sourced from the region and manufactured locally keeps 100 percent of the money spent on heating fuel circulating in the local economy. Demand for pellets creates jobs for local manufacturers, truckers, loggers, and foresters. It also creates an important market for lower grade wood, which helps landowners keep forests as forests.

Regional Real Time Results

Based on tons of pellets delivered since Feb. 1, 2012

gas
$179,431
Savings on Fuel
Amount saved by homeowners who switched to wood pellets.

See the math: Savings

We calculate fuel savings by subtracting the cost of wood pellets delivered from the money that would have been spent on fossil fuel for an equivalent amount of heat. To make the comparison, we calculate how many gallons of oil (for example) would have been needed to produce the amount of heat produced by the pellets.

Dollars Saved = (Dollars that would have been spent on fossil fuel) – (Dollars spent on pellets)

We track the tons of pellets delivered to all our program participants and get monthly fuel prices from state energy offices and/or pellet delivery companies. Other elements of the equation include the following:

  • 1 ton of pellets = 119 gallons of oil
  • 1 ton of pellets = 170 gallons of propane
leaf
1040 Tons
Net Carbon
Dioxide Reduction
Net carbon dioxide avoided by not burning oil.

See the math: Net carbon reduction

We calculate the net reduction in carbon dioxide that comes from using wood pellets instead of fossil fuel by multiplying the gallons of fossil fuel not burned by the pounds of CO2 produced per gallon of fossil fuel. We discount the result by 15% to because there is a time lapse between when pellets are burned and when new trees grow back to sequester carbon again.

CO2 Avoided = (Fossil fuel not burned) * (CO2/gallon of fossil fuel) * 0.85

Elements of the equation include the following:

  • 1 ton of pellets = 119 gallons of oil
  • 1 ton of pellets = 170 gallons of propane
  • 22.38 lbs/CO2 per gallon of oil
  • 12.7 lbs/CO2 per gallon of propane
money
$681,641
Total Impact Value to Local Economy
Total impact of dollars continuing to circulate in local economy.

See the math: Total Economic Impact

We calculate the total economic impact of using wood pellets instead of oil or other fossil fuels by adding the money saved by using pellets instead of fossil fuel to the money spent on wood pellets.

We assume that 90% of the money saved stays in the local/regional economy and that 100% of the money spent on wood pellets stays in the local economy. Economic impact studies use a multiplier to reflect the positive effect of money as it ripples through the economy. We use 1.8 from the IMPLAN system as our multiplier.

Total Impact = (Dollars saved by switching to pellets * 90% of savings stays local) + (100% of money spent on pellets) * (1.8 multiplier)

or

Total Impact = (Savings * 0.90) + (Tons of pellets * Price of pellets) * 1.8

To fill in the variables, we track the tons of pellets delivered to all our program participants and get wood pellet prices from state energy offices or delivery companies.

Demonstrating Success

The Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative creates dense clusters of pellet boilers in homes and non-residential buildings, making bulk delivery of pellets more efficient and providing a base of business for new installers and technicians. Each installation is an important step toward realizing the vision of an energy economy that brings substantial economic benefits to rural communities, reduces dependence on heating oil, cuts net carbon dioxide emissions over time, and supports healthy working forests.

The Center and its partners document the savings, ecological benefits, and economic impact of using wood pellets instead of heating oil and share the results across the region to encourage more people to convert to wood pellet heat.

Check our Dashboards for Berlin, NH and Farmington, ME to see how much each Model Neighborhood community is saving!

Berlin NH Model Neighborhood

The initial Model Neighborhood Initiative in Berlin NH has created the highest local concentration of wood pellet boiler users in the nation. The program helped 40 homeowners switch to wood pellet heat, as well as the Berlin Housing Authority’s Welch Apartment building, St. Kieran Center for the Arts and Notre Dame Apartments.

NF-Center-Wood-Heat-Model-Neighborhood-Initiative-Berlin

nfc-testimonial-model-neighborhood-initiative

It makes me really happy to know that our heating budget is supporting local workers in today's forest industry.

—Mary Jo Landry, Executive Director, Berlin Housing Authority

These conversions alone – not considering their regional ripple effect – are giving the local economy a substantial economic boost: we estimate that over the boilers' 25-year lifespan, heating with wood pellets and saving money on fuel bills will contribute $5.3 million to the local economy. Here’s our progress to date:

Berlin, NH Real Time Results

Based on tons of pellets delivered since Feb. 1, 2012

gas
$160,925
Savings on Fuel
Amount saved by homeowners who switched to wood pellets.

See the math: Savings

We calculate fuel savings by subtracting the cost of wood pellets delivered from the money that would have been spent on fossil fuel for an equivalent amount of heat. To make the comparison, we calculate how many gallons of oil (for example) would have been needed to produce the amount of heat produced by the pellets.

Dollars Saved = (Dollars that would have been spent on fossil fuel) – (Dollars spent on pellets)

We track the tons of pellets delivered to all our program participants and get monthly fuel prices from state energy offices and/or pellet delivery companies. Other elements of the equation include the following:

  • 1 ton of pellets = 119 gallons of oil
  • 1 ton of pellets = 170 gallons of propane
leaf
942 Tons
Net Greenhouse
Gas Reduction
Net carbon dioxide avoided by not burning oil.

See the math: Net carbon reduction

We calculate the net reduction in carbon dioxide that comes from using wood pellets instead of fossil fuel by multiplying the gallons of fossil fuel not burned by the pounds of CO2 produced per gallon of fossil fuel. We discount the result by 15% to because there is a time lapse between when pellets are burned and when new trees grow back to sequester carbon again.

CO2 Avoided = (Fossil fuel not burned) * (CO2/gallon of fossil fuel) * 0.85

Elements of the equation include the following:

  • 1 ton of pellets = 119 gallons of oil
  • 1 ton of pellets = 170 gallons of propane
  • 22.38 lbs/CO2 per gallon of oil
  • 12.7 lbs/CO2 per gallon of propane
money
$612,669
Total Impact Value to Local Economy
Total impact of dollars continuing to circulate in local economy.

See the math: Total Economic Impact

We calculate the total economic impact of using wood pellets instead of oil or other fossil fuels by adding the money saved by using pellets instead of fossil fuel to the money spent on wood pellets.

We assume that 90% of the money saved stays in the local/regional economy and that 100% of the money spent on wood pellets stays in the local economy. Economic impact studies use a multiplier to reflect the positive effect of money as it ripples through the economy. We use 1.8 from the IMPLAN system as our multiplier.

Total Impact = (Dollars saved by switching to pellets * 90% of savings stays local) + (100% of money spent on pellets) * (1.8 multiplier)

or

Total Impact = (Savings * 0.90) + (Tons of pellets * Price of pellets) * 1.8

To fill in the variables, we track the tons of pellets delivered to all our program participants and get wood pellet prices from state energy offices or delivery companies.

Though we’ve met our goal of installing 40 residential boilers in Berlin, we continue to support wood pellet heat in New Hampshire by advocating for continued public rebates, supportive state policies and wider recognition of wood pellets as a reliable and beneficial heating fuel. Project partners included Berlin BetterBuildings, the City of Berlin and Maine Energy Systems.

Maine Model Neighborhood

The Center launched its second Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative in Farmington and Wilton, Maine in June 2013, in partnership with Western Maine Community Action. We are helping to convert 25 residences and 10 non-residential buildings to modern wood pellet heat. Twelve homes, two churches and a physical therapy office have made the switch so far, and applications are still being accepted.

NF-Center-Wood-Heat-Model-Neighborhood-Maine-both

nfc-testimonials-wood-heat-dale-bardo

“We switched to wood pellet heating to better support the local economy, to be more environmentally friendly and, of course, to save money. The Model Neighborhood Initiative provided an incentive, and we decided it was a good investment to use our endowment to cover the cost of the new system. We’ll use the $8,000-a-year savings to repay our endowment, and after that it will be pure savings.”

—Dale Bardo, treasurer and trustee of Old South Congregational Church, Farmington, Maine

Over the 25-year lifetimes of the pellet boilers installed in Farmington and Wilton, the project will contribute over $9 million to the local economy. Here is our progress to date:

Farmington & Wilton, Maine, Real Time Results

Based on tons of pellets delivered since Feb. 1, 2012

gas
$18,506
Savings on Fuel
Amount saved by homeowners who switched to wood pellets.

See the math: Savings

We calculate fuel savings by subtracting the cost of wood pellets delivered from the money that would have been spent on fossil fuel for an equivalent amount of heat. To make the comparison, we calculate how many gallons of oil (for example) would have been needed to produce the amount of heat produced by the pellets.

Dollars Saved = (Dollars that would have been spent on fossil fuel) – (Dollars spent on pellets)

We track the tons of pellets delivered to all our program participants and get monthly fuel prices from state energy offices and/or pellet delivery companies. Other elements of the equation include the following:

  • 1 ton of pellets = 119 gallons of oil
  • 1 ton of pellets = 170 gallons of propane
leaf
98 Tons
Net Greenhouse
Gas Reduction
Net carbon dioxide avoided by not burning oil.

See the math: Net carbon reduction

We calculate the net reduction in carbon dioxide that comes from using wood pellets instead of fossil fuel by multiplying the gallons of fossil fuel not burned by the pounds of CO2 produced per gallon of fossil fuel. We discount the result by 15% to because there is a time lapse between when pellets are burned and when new trees grow back to sequester carbon again.

CO2 Avoided = (Fossil fuel not burned) * (CO2/gallon of fossil fuel) * 0.85

Elements of the equation include the following:

  • 1 ton of pellets = 119 gallons of oil
  • 1 ton of pellets = 170 gallons of propane
  • 22.38 lbs/CO2 per gallon of oil
  • 12.7 lbs/CO2 per gallon of propane
money
$68,972
Total Impact Value to Local Economy
Total impact of dollars continuing to circulate in local economy.

See the math: Total Economic Impact

We calculate the total economic impact of using wood pellets instead of oil or other fossil fuels by adding the money saved by using pellets instead of fossil fuel to the money spent on wood pellets.

We assume that 90% of the money saved stays in the local/regional economy and that 100% of the money spent on wood pellets stays in the local economy. Economic impact studies use a multiplier to reflect the positive effect of money as it ripples through the economy. We use 1.8 from the IMPLAN system as our multiplier.

Total Impact = (Dollars saved by switching to pellets * 90% of savings stays local) + (100% of money spent on pellets) * (1.8 multiplier)

or

Total Impact = (Savings * 0.90) + (Tons of pellets * Price of pellets) * 1.8

To fill in the variables, we track the tons of pellets delivered to all our program participants and get wood pellet prices from state energy offices or delivery companies.

The Maine Model Neighborhood Wood Heat INitiative provides financial incentives to building owners in Farmington and Wilton to install high efficiency wood pellet boilers. Thanks to a grant from Efficiency Maine Trust, additional incentives are now available for commercial, municipal, or non-profit buildings anywhere in Franklin County.

The project is part of a broader initiative to help the Northern Forest region move away from dependence on imported oil toward a local, sustainable, cost-effective heat source that will create jobs, strengthen the forest economy, and retain wealth in the region. 

Participation details and application

Vermont Model Neighborhood

The Vermont Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is providing incentives to building owners in the Northeast Kingdom to install high efficiency wood pellet boilers. Building on similar projects in Berlin, NH and Farmington, ME, the project will help the Northern Forest region move away from dependence on imported oil toward a local, sustainable, cost-effective heat source that will create jobs, strengthen the forest economy and retain wealth in the region.

The program is available to homes in the Lyndonville area and for non-residential buildings across the Northeast Kingdom, with special emphasis on farm- and forest-related businesses.

“This is the high-tech way to heat with wood—a lot less work, you can’t beat it! The experience with the Northern Forest Center couldn’t have been better. The staff gave timely, informative responses to our questions and concerns throughout the whole project. I think the Center is great and very needed organization in the Northeast.”

—Joe Peters, homeowner

Over the 25-year lifetimes of the pellet boilers installed in the Northeast Kingdom, the project will contribute over $6 million to the local economy.

Participant selection is based on diversity of building stock, suitability of existing heating infrastructure, willingness to help advocate for the project and share the experience, and other factors. Our initial goal is to fund 15 non-residential and 5 residential conversions.

Participation details and application

Adirondack Model Neighborhood

The Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is providing incentives to building owners in the Adirondacks to install high efficiency wood pellet boilers. We are helping to convert 20 residences and 15 municipal or non-residential buildings to wood pellet boilers.

NF-Center-Wood-Heat-Model-Neighborhood-Adirondack-both

The program is available for homes in and around Saranac, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake. It is also available for non-residential buildings in Clinton, Essex, and Franklin Counties, with special emphasis on municipal projects. Participant selection will be based on diversity of building stock, suitability of existing heating infrastructure, willingness to help advocate for the project and share the experience, and other factors.

“Our new boiler is up and running and I believe it's a very positive step for the town. Without Northern Forest Center funding, we'd still be heating with fossil fuel.”

—Town Supervisor Joe Gerardi

Over the 25-year lifetimes of the pellet boilers installed in the Adirondacks, the project will contribute over $8 million to the local economy.

Participation details and application