Archive for the ‘Home Energy’ Category

The Cost of Wood Pellets Is On The Rise

If you are worried about heating costs this winter, you are not alone.

Everywhere you look there are forecasts about how cold and snowy it is going to be. What makes this worse are the reports that heating costs are also on the rise as well.

If you’re using propane – you’ve likely already felt the pain of handing over that monstrous check. Propane prices have been on the rise for several years now and people are desperate to find some relief.

That relief has come to some, in the way of wood pellets. But new reports indicate that wood pellet prices are on the rise. Due to an abnormally cold winter last year, they were not able to harvest trees as they normally have in years past. In addition, the demand from overseas has also been rising.

Wood pellets ignited in flame

But I am not here for doom and gloom. There is some good news. Some folks in the business of selling pellets have come up with some ideas to help out:

  • Make sure you plan ahead (like NOW). Start to pre-order your wood pellets where it’s available.
  • DON’T HOARD! It makes it difficult for everyone to obtain a fair share of pellets.
  • Consider your options. Wood pellets are processed wood, hence the cost. If you are in an area that has plentiful wood, you may want to consider today’s log-wood fueled appliances like the Greenwood Frontier CX.

Watch the story for yourself — here.

Getting the Most Out of Firewood

So, you are heating with wood. So how can you tell if you are getting an efficient, green, clean burn out of your wood supply — much less all the energy you put into preparing it? Are you aware of the tons of outside variables that affect how much heat you actually GET out of that batch of firewood?

neatly stacked dry firewood for optimal burn in wood boiler, wood heat


Our friends over at Mother Earth News recently published a nice article on the topic. Some highlights:

  1. Dry wood gives you more bang for your buck. What I mean by this is: if you have DRY wood it means you’re not wasting energy. Let me explain further. When green (wet) wood  is burned,  about 15% of the energy from that log is used to turn the water inside of it,  into steam. After that it can finally get to combustion temperature. The end result is essentially throwing away 15% of that log. If you pay for your wood you may as well take a handful of change. Get in your car. Get on the freeway. Open your window. Stick your hand out and let all of that money fly right out of your hand. (Not recommended or endorsed by Greenwood, by the way).
  2. Wet wood causes smoke which in turn creates creosote. Creosote builds up in the chimney and can cause fires, if not properly cleaned and cleaned often.
  3. Smoke = Waste. The EPA is setting very strict regulations around the amount of pollution that consumers are allowed to produce.

For more information on how to best dry  firewood and other fascinating benefits click here.

And as usual, please visit our website, for more information on the Greenwood Frontier CX.


5 Reasons to Buy a Greenwood Boiler

Thinking of switching your heating system to a different, more eco-friendly solution? We’re recognized as the leader in renewable heating appliances, and here are five reasons why a Greenwood boiler might be right for you and your home:

Save Money

If we said you could save 70% on your heating bills, would that be enough to get your attention? With just a few logs, you can heat your entire home for a whole day. Oh, did we mention it also heats your hot water?


Our wood burning technology burns not only the wood, but the smoke and the gases, creating a virtually smoke-free result. For areas plagued by excessive wood smoke, this solution can dramatically reduce air pollution from wood smoke. The Greenwood Frontier Series meets EPA Phase 2 emission standards and is the only wood burning boiler that is allowed for sale by the Washington State Department of Ecology.


The Greenwood Frontier Series is clean burning, low maintenance heating appliance that uses your existing thermostat. When installed in a forced air, hydronic, or an in-floor radiant heating system, the only difference you may notice is the dramatic drop in your heating bill. Controlled by an on-board computer, your Greenwood boiler will keep your home warm and even during the low-demand spring and fall seasons.

Energy Independence

If you have access to firewood, you’re set! You don’t even have to split wood – high temperature in the firebox eliminates build up and reduces ash. Greenwood furnaces release no incremental emissions into the environment and use biomass fuels, which are a fully renewable source of energy.

Product Performance

Our boilers approach 85% efficiency, which means the vast majority of the heat released by the burning wood is captured to heat your home. They burn their fuel completely, leaving a minimal amount of particles to create smoke, creosote, or ash. Greenwood boilers are easy to maintain, too, requiring significantly less maintenance than wood stoves or outdoor wood boilers.

To see one of our broilers in action, check out our videos or contact your local Authorized Greenwood installer and set up an appointment!

Join Greenwood for National Bioenergy Day!


On Wednesday October 22nd 2014, join the Greenwood team as we partner with Biomass Magazine, BTEC, ACORE, US Forest Service, Pellet Fuels Institute, Plum Creek, Forest Landowners and the Biomass Power Association, to present National Bioenergy Day. We will be holding open houses and technology demonstrations at two sites, one near each coast.

Greenwood Photos

Meet us at our Development and Innovation Center in Redmond, Washington – where you will  see our state-of-the-art testing and air quality monitoring facility. We’ll have live demonstrations and informational stations that will open your eyes to the renewable energy available right outside your back door.

You may also visit us at Atwater Vineyards in lovely Watkins Glenn, New York, where we will also be demonstrating our top of the line Frontier CX wood boiler. You could grab a glass of wine and then stroll on down near a warm boiler and make some new friends.

We will offer some beverages and light snacks at each site.

At each location, you’ll learn how bioenergy helps keep our forests healthy  and helps rid the forest of dangerous fuels for wildfire and insect infestation. We will have live product demonstrations, seasoned veterans to answer your boiler and bioenergy questions.

Don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity, we would love to see you!

For more information and directions please visit here.


It’s THAT time. AGAIN.

You hear that? ‘Tis the sound of my heart shattering into a million pieces at the thought of the summer of 2014 drawing to a close. The warm embrace of the summer wind that would wrap itself around me when I stepped outside, will soon be replaced by the icy winds of Jack Frost. I shudder at the thought of his long, sharp, icicle-like fingers raking across my back.

Ok. Ok. It might be that I am a little over-dramatic about winter coming. But in all seriousness I not only dread the cold –  I also dread paying bundles of money to heat my house.

Before Sir Frost shows his hideous face let’s take a look at this video clip here on Home Energy Savings from our friends at This Old House.


Why Purchase a Wood Furnace

Heat is a basic and often overlooked or expected part of your daily life. You need to heat water for cooking or cleaning; you must keep yourself warm and during the dead of winter, you need to heat your house. For all these activities, you have several products including gas or oil furnace or wood stove, electric heater and certainly a water heater. Most of them cost quite a bit money to purchase and operate. If you are like a lot of people, you keep your eyes open to better options.

Greenwood Frontier CX Wood Furnace

A wood furnace or a wood boiler is among the appliances used for generating heat, boiling water and other purposes. A furnace of higher quality provides more energy for less fuel and keeps your house free from smoke. When used properly, it ensures that use less wood and have a warmer home. You can understand why it is essential to understand its benefits. Here are some of the benefits or criteria to use in evaluating a wood stove.

Clean burning – Indoor wood boiler leaves very few particles that cause smoke, ash and creosote. It is as the boiler burns the wood completely.

Energy efficient – It is energy efficient as it achieves over 80% thermal efficiency. It means the most of heat released by burning wood is captured and heats your home efficiently. Note: European and US wood furnaces are rated using different scales for efficiency.

Cost effective – Installing a wood furnace is economical for you as it reduces your overall energy cost. According to a study sponsored by the Canadian government, you can reduce your energy cost up to 70% by the installation of indoor wood stove.

Eco-friendly – Using a wood furnace, like a Greenwood Frontier CX, is an environmentally friendly choice since it releases very little smoke from the burning wood. Reusing the energy from the biomass in the active regeneration cycle is a renewable source of energy.

Low maintenance – It is easy to keep the furnace maintained. It doesn’t need to invest money in its maintenance. Further, you needn’t to clean it often in comparison with wood stove or outdoor boiler.

Long lasting – Yes, a wood stove of good quality lasts for a longer period of time if it is purchased from a reputed manufacturer such as Greenwood. A trusted manufacturer gives solid warranty for its entire appliance, not just a portion of it.

Reliable designs – Wood furnaces are available in two basic designs – downdraft or updraft (like a Greenwood). Identify your taste and purchase the boiler of your choice.


Guest post submitted by Charlie Thompson, an undergraduate engineering student at Penn State.

Thanks Charlie!

The Biomass Thermal Utilization Act Provides 30% Tax Credit on High-Efficiency Wood Boilers

Imagine someone handing you a $3,000 check. And this is after saving over 70% on your heating bill by using a high-efficiency biomass heating system. That’s a pretty sweet deal. This image is one step closer to reality with the introduction of the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013.

The proposed BTU Act would amend the federal tax code to drive the use of biomass energy as it already does for other forms of renewable energy like solar and wind. Currently, these other technologies qualify for investment tax credits for costs associated with residential and commercial installations. The legislation would give the same incentives for the purchase of thermal biomass (e.g. wood boilers and pellet boilers) systems.

To qualify for the 30% tax credit, residential appliances need to have a thermal efficiency of 75% (using higher heating value, HHV). For commercial applications, the criteria are broken into two tiers – for a 15% credit, equipment must have efficiency greater than 65% and less than 80%; for the 30% credit, the system must have an efficiency greater than or equal to 80% HHV.

While there is a long road ahead, there is a very simple step you can take to help approve the BTU Act of 2013. At this time, the best thing you can do is to contact your state’s Senators and Representatives to and urge them to support the bill as it progresses in the Senate and the House.

For more information visit our friends over at BTEC.

Ways to Reduce Your Need for Heat

Keeping your home warm throughout the winter is always a cause for concern. If there is an exceptionally bad month, your heating bills could be unbelievably high. Although there are eco-friendly ways to produce heat, such as wood or solar heating, there are some cost-effective ways to reduce how much you need. How do you combat the cold in the winter by reducing your need for heat?

1. Weather Strip – There are many homes that have gaps in between doors or windows and their frames. It is common for older homes to have these gaps from simply regular use and age. For a few dollars, you can go to any hardware store and pick up a role of weather stripping. This strip of foam sits in between the door or window and the frame. This strip fills the gaps that are allowing cold air to seep into the home. Most hardware stores sell a variety of styles, so you can easily find the right size for your needs.

2. Windows – During the winter, your home will lose a great deal of heat through its windows. Today’s double-paned glass can greatly reduce the amount of heat that escapes the house. If you are unable to afford the installation of double-paned glass, then there are plastic sheet kits that you can buy for relatively cheap. These kits work very well in protecting your home from the cold-producing window while allowing light to pass through. Once winter is over, these sheets can be safely removed from the window and stored for future use.

3. Insulation – Adding insulation to the walls and ceiling of your home will keep your home warmer. Perhaps the biggest impact can come from adding insulation in your attic, reducing the amount of heat that is lost on cold winter days. Try adding some insulation over rooms where you spend the most time and you will see the difference immediately. Another creative idea is to use a thermal barrier paint additive such as Insuladd. Paints like these reflect heat back into the room, greatly increase the efficiency of your existing insulation.

4. Living Wall – The use of foliage and plants is an increasingly popular way to shield your home from the heat of summer and the cold of winter. If done properly, a living wall will create a layer of natural insulation during the winter months. Although the vines may die or hibernate, they still provide extra protection for the home and create a windbreak reducing the effects of winter storms on the insulative characteristics of your walls.

Although many of these ideas are very easy to implement, some make take a bit more effort. Small steps, like those mentioned here may reduce the amount of power and/or gas you consume. Although this may not concern those with eco-friendly heating systems like a wood boiler, it is still a good idea to practice efficient methods to keeping your home from losing heat during the winter.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from She is a freelance writer and blogger. She may be reached at: liznelson17 @

$300 Tax Credit Reinstated for High Efficiency Wood Boilers

With the passing of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the tax credit for biomass stoves (i.e wood furnaces and wood boilers) has been retroactively renewed through the end of 2013. So, any qualified equipment purchased from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013 is eligible for this credit. The tax credit is now set at $300 for high-efficiency biomass stoves that use “plant-derived fuel available on a renewable or recurring basis, including agricultural crops and trees, wood and wood waste and residues (including wood pellets), plants (including aquatic plants), grasses, residues, and fibers)”.

To learn more about the tax credit and what is eligible please visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). The tax credit is also limited to a $500 “lifetime limit”, so you will want to consult with your tax preparer. The federal tax form required is located here.

It may be helpful to understand the differences between a tax credit and a rebate. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the difference is use an example:

Let’s say that you purchased a wood furnace that cost $10,000 and the appliance had $300 rebate. Rebates are often provided at the time of sale, so your effective price would be $9,700. Contrast this with a $300 tax credit for the same $10,000 appliance. You would pay the full price for the appliance and then complete form 5695 and send it with your federal tax return. The $300 would be applied against your tax bill, increasing your return or reducing the amount you need to pay the IRS.

Either way, it is more money in your pocket.

EIA Predicts Significant Increases in Wood Heating this Season

According to the January issue of the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook, the number of homes using wood heat will increase significantly over this heating season.

The report indicates that during the 2012-’13 winter 598,000 households in the Northeast are expected to heat with woody biomass, a 7.7 percent increase. In addition, the EIA is predicting a 3.4 percent increase in the Midwest with an additional 662,000 homes are expected to use wood fuel. In the South, 620,000 homes are expected to heat with woody biomass, a 1.7 percent increase. In the western United States, the EIA expects 752,000 homes to be heated with woody biomass this winter, a 0.3 percent increase. Overall, a total of 2.64 million homes are expected to use wood as their primary heating fuel this heating season, a 3 percent increase over last year.