Modern Wood Heating
Modern wood heating offers an affordable, local, and renewable source of fuel with lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels.
For Vermonters, much of the appeal of using cord wood, pellets, and wood chips is achieving independence from fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions. Wood is also local, renewable, and relatively low cost and stable, making it attractive to homeowners and institutions. Advances since the mid-2000s have led to more efficient and clean wood heating appliances, including pellet stoves and boilers that achieve efficiency ratings over 80%.
Modern wood fuel includes cord wood, wood pellets, or chips. While pellets are often more expensive than the others, they are cleaner burning and more efficient—making the cost per MMBTU about the same. Woodstoves offer many benefits for DIYers who don’t mind stacking and hauling wood. Pellet stoves and boilers represent increasing levels of automation, efficiency, and convenience.
- Most years, wood fuels are less expensive than fuel oil and propane
- Renewable and local: money stays in Vermont’s economy
- Fuel types are compatible with a range of systems
The State of Vermont offers additional incentives for modern wood pellet heating systems. Visit the Renewable Energy Resource Center to learn more.
Woodstoves and Pellet Stoves
A quintessential symbol of Vermont, the modern woodstove delivers higher efficiency, a cleaner burn, and more capacity to heat large spaces. See a list of EPA-certified woodstoves. Pellet stoves offer many of the same benefits as woodstoves—local, low cost, and renewable. While still a hands-on heating method, pellet stoves are semi-automated and don’t require stacking, splitting, or carrying wood. They also produce less ash and lower emissions.
- Less exposure to fuel-price fluctuations using pellets and wood
- Well-seasoned wood burns cleaner and is more efficient
- Many pellet stoves are direct-vent (no chimney required)
Central Pellet Boilers
Central pellet boilers can be an appealing choice for businesses and larger homes. They work like any other whole-building central boiler system, only with bulk wood pellets as a fuel source. A truck periodically delivers a supply of pellets, which are automatically fed from a storage room to the boiler.
- A fully automated, set-it-and-forget-it solution
- Delivers whole-building and hot-water heating
- Higher cost of system can be offset by incentives, financing, and long-term fuel savings
Wood Chip Boiler Systems
Wood chip systems are the most common type of biomass used in commercial and institutional applications like colleges, hospitals, and municipal facilities. They offer total automation, excellent fuel-price savings and stability, and opportunities for sustainable branding. For smaller facilities and office buildings, dry woodchip systems are a more affordable option, but they require specialty woodchips that have been dried to a lower moisture content.
- Supports Vermont’s working forests
- Good for the Vermont economy: creates local jobs and keeps energy dollars in state
- Demonstrates a commitment to clean energy