Biomass heating installations in northern Vermont are far from sparse.

Bourne’s pumps bulk pellets made in Vermont at a demonstration for the Biomass Boilerhopping tour in Burlington. Tour guide Paul Frederick, wood utilization specialist at the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, discussed the importance of forest sustainability in the state, and emphasized the significance of maintaining and growing the base of low-grade wood end users. “When we start looking at how much wood is used for fuel in the state, roughly 30 percent of our total wood harvest in the state ends up as wood fuel in one form or another,” Frederick said. “The majority is residential fire wood. We estimate that 347,000 cords of wood every year go into residential heating in the state—that’s a little over 80,000 households using wood in one form or another for supplemental or primary heat.”

In addition, about 12 percent of households are now using at least some pellets for heating. “That’s up from about 3 percent seven or eight years ago,” Frederick said. “There has been enormous growth in residential pellet heating. We’ve seen some growth in cordwood, but not nearly as much.”

A shift in Northeast forestry markets over the past 20 years has created a significant…read more