By: Maura Adams

AWH micro TM RGB orange dotThat’s the catchy line we’re using in a campaign we’ve just launched to turn this wonderful-but-obscure technology into a well-known and much-used way to heat buildings across the Northern Forest.

We’ve worked for months with other nonprofits, state agencies, heating system companies and pellet producers to create www.feelgoodheat.org and a marketing campaign to spread the word about Automated Wood Heat. The website tells stories about the people behind Automated Wood Heat and features a fun animation as well as FAQs and contact information for consumers.

The Feel Good Heat campaign marks a turning point in the Northern Forest Center’s strategy for promoting wood heat. For the last five years, we focused on investing financial incentives and technical assistance to get great examples of Automated Wood Heat into Northern Forest homes, businesses, and municipal buildings—and it worked!

Warm Tech illustrations Truck CMYK webWe’ve assisted with more than 150 installations, primarily in clusters we call Model Neighborhood Projects. Together those projects have generated over $2.8 million in economic impact and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 3,500 tons. Property owners considering Automated Wood Heat anywhere in the Northern Forest can see installations near them, feel confident that they can get bulk delivery of pellets, and take advantage of state incentives for these heating systems.

This base of early adopters is essential to prove how well Automated Wood Heat works, but we wanted to scale up use of this technology beyond what we could possibly achieve through the limits of our financial incentives, so we steered our strategy toward marketing.

Though these boilers have been used in Europe for decades, things are different in the US. Public awareness of Automated Wood Heat is extremely low; vendors and advocates hadn’t established Automated Wood Heat as a known category to compete with oil and gas; and people who heard about wood pellet boilers often didn’t understand the difference between these systems and wood pellet stoves.

For that reason, we’ve spent nearly two years exploring communications strategies to solve the public awareness problem, and secured funding this past year to develop a marketing campaign in partnership with more than 20 companies, agencies, and non-profits. We hired a terrific team to hone a marketing strategy, create graphics, the website, and a digital marketing campaign, which we’ve just started putting out into the world!

Over the coming months you might just see some Automated Wood Heat promotions pop up on your social media feed, see the logo roll by on the side of a pellet truck, or gain access to great-looking recognition signage for your own Automated Wood-heated building. Making Automated Wood Heat commonplace is still going to take a lot of effort, but now we have some excellent new tools to help us get there.

While our wood heat strategy is shifting from incentives to promotion, we will still support new Automated Wood Heat installations with some incentives and grantwriting assistance in communities where we’re deeply engaged through other Center programs.

We’ll keep pushing to sustain or enhance state incentive programs and perhaps create—finally—a federal tax credit for these carbon reducing, renewable heating systems! We’ll keep working with our 150-plus Model Neighborhood participants to share their stories and motivate others to consider Automated Wood Heat for their own buildings.

I can’t wait to see how people respond to the advertising campaign. Please check out the website, as well as our Facebook page and Instagram feed and share them across your own social networks to promote Automated Wood Heat!

Please, help spread the word and share Feel Good Heat posts!