This winter the Center hired Tim Volk, a marketing professional with years of experience working on energy issues, to draft a marketing plan for speeding up adoption of what we call “modern wood heat.” Those quotation marks are part of the problem. The manufacturers, state agencies, nonprofits, and others who are encouraging people to switch to wood pellet boilers and other high-efficiency wood heating systems each have their own favored names for what we’re advocating: “modern wood heat,” “advanced wood heat,” and “whole-home wood heating systems,” to name just a few. How can you market something effectively if you don’t even agree on what to call it?

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If you’ve never considered the option of using modern wood heat, you should check out the video testimonials from participants in our Model Neighborhood projects. You can hear straight from the users why they switched, and why they feel good about how they’re staying warm.

Last year the Northern Forest Center began working with a coalition of local organizations and businesses on the Windham Wood Heat Initiative, a $1.6-million program funded by the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund. Our goal is to convert public buildings in Windham County, Vermont, to advance wood heat while also building the infrastructure and local capacity needed to support a local wood heat economy in the long term. This recent article in the Brattleboro Reformer highlights the two installations completed to date.

The Northern Forest Center has helped install more than 120 pellet boilers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York through “Model Neighborhood” projects. Working with local partners and leading pellet boiler manufacturers and pellet distributors, we’ve created dense clusters of homes and businesses that heat with efficient wood pellet boilers. The latest installations at the Monadnock Congregational Church in Colebrook, NH and Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, VT will help establish wood pellet boilers as trusted, proven heating systems used by friends and neighbors, so that other home and business owners will see wood pellet boilers as a good option for their own heating needs and for their local economy.

And it’s working. In just over four years, theses 120 homes and businesses have generated nearly $4 million in total economic impact for our region’s economy and reduced net carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 5,550 tons.

Learn more about our Modern Wood Heat Program.