Berlin MNPThe Center’s “Model Neighborhood Project” launched in Berlin, N.H., in 2011 with the expectation that putting lots of wood pellet boilers in a single community would create a buzz about the technology and demonstrate that it works well. "We wanted to make the pellet delivery truck a common sight in town and catalyze broader interest in this modern way to heat with wood," said Program Director Maura Adams.

Eight years later, the Center has provided funding or other assistance to 165 projects in communities across the Northern Forest — 114 homes and 51 small commercial buildings, from schools and town garages to a museum and movie theater —and the Model Neighborhoods are spreading the word.

Wood Pellet Bins for StovesThis fall, more than 20 families in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont will be heating with new pellet stoves – with a twist. Instead of buying pellets in typical 40-pound bags, as most people need to do, they will have their pellets delivered from a bulk truck into a 3-ton storage bin. When they need pellets, they can simply fill a bucket directly from the bin and carry it to their stove.

The Northern Forest Center provided incentives for the stoves and bulk pellet bins to get more people in the Northeast Kingdom heating with local pellets and to demonstrate that bulk storage can work for pellet stove owners, not just for people who heat with automated wood pellet boilers (like those featured at www.feelgoodheat.org).

Homeowner with new Pellergy wood boilerOver the past 3 and a half years, the Center has helped expand the use of Automated Wood Heat in Vermont by providing financial support or project guidance (or both) for more than 40 wood pellet boilers installations in a wide variety of settings: homes and schools, an office building, a town garage, an auto body shop, and more. This past year we also provided financial incentives to Northeast Kingdom residents for the purchase of 15 wood pellet stoves coupled with bulk pellet storage bins, a setup that brings the convenience of bulk delivery of Vermont-made wood pellets to people who are not able to switch to a central, automated wood pellet boiler.

This spring, with funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission and in partnership with the VT Clean Energy Development Fund—we’ll be contributing to three more projects: a community center in Craftsbury and two schools in the Northeast Kingdom.

Homes, town halls, town highway garages and non-profit owned buildings in the Northern Adirondacks are increasingly being heated with automated wood pellet boilers, thanks in part to incentives and technical support from the Northern Forest Center.Pellergy NY installation

New York is the fourth state in the region to apply the Model Neighborhood approach to increasing the use of automated wood heat, and the program is driving a gradual but steady uptick in its use. The beneficiaries—homeowners, towns, and nonprofits in Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties—are excited to make the switch and realize the benefits of automated wood heating.

"In the Town of Bellmont, we like to be frugal with our spending, but we also like to keep it local," said Supervisor Bruce Russell. "Installing a wood pellet boiler was an excellent way to meet our goals and provide heat to our Town Hall. I'm very pleased with our decision."