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Municipalities and non-profits urged to switch to high-efficiency wood pellet boilers for heat

On May 31, an open house will showcase the new wood pellet heating system at the Massena Chamber of Commerce and explain how municipalities and nonprofits can receive up to $10,000 each in financial assistance to switch to fully automated wood heating systems. The chamber installed its modern, high-efficiency wood pellet boiler in 2012.

All area residents – and especially anyone representing a municipality or a nonprofit – are invited to the open house to learn about this fully automated way to heat with wood, and the financial assistance that is available to help with purchase and installation costs.

The Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative, a program of the Northern Forest Center, is offering financial incentives to 10 municipalities or nonprofits in St. Lawrence, Hamilton, Clinton, Franklin, or Essex counties to help with purchase and installation of qualifying wood pellet boilers, which use a local, renewable fuel instead of oil or propane. A residential incentive program is also underway, focused around Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Saranac.

“We’re taking applications from municipalities and nonprofits now and we’re eager to provide information and financial support to help people make the switch to wood pellet heating,” said Leslie Karasin, who manages the Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative for the Center. “The cost of wood pellets is very stable, especially compared to oil. If you value supporting local jobs and businesses by using wood pellets for heat, please join us on May 31 to see pellet boilers in action and learn how you can switch from oil or propane to using wood pellet boilers.”

The information session will be May 31 at the Chamber of Commerce, located at 16 Church Street in Massena., beginning at 4 pm. Center staff will introduce the financial assistance program, pellet boiler installers will be on hand to answer questions, and a tour of the chamber’s wood pellet boilers will be offered.

A similar open house is planned for June 5 at the Long Lake Town Hall in Hamilton County, where the Town of Long Lake has also switched to modern wood heat for its building.

“When we buy oil or propane to heat our North Country buildings, we’re exporting about 80 cents of every dollar spent for heat,” said Karasin. “It leaves our region immediately and does not benefit us. By transitioning to using wood pellets for central heating, we can support local jobs and businesses, and keep our heating dollars working for the North Country.”

Over the 25-year life of the wood pellet boilers installed through this project, participants will reduce fossil fuel use by the equivalent of 850,000 gallons of oil. By purchasing wood pellets instead of oil, participants will help keep more than $2 million in the regional economy and generate about $3.7 million in positive economic impact.

The Center is supporting installation of high-efficiency wood pellet boilers in specific communities to demonstrate that clean-burning wood pellet heating systems can completely replace oil and propane boilers and support the local economy.

Other benefits of the project include strengthening markets for low-grade wood, which provides a financial incentive to forestland owners to keep their forests intact, and opportunities to stabilize and increase employment in forest-based businesses.


The Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is part of the Northern Forest Center’s renewable energy program, which is building the market for high-efficiency, fully automated wood pellet boilers for homes and small-scale commercial installations in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York and advocating for supportive public policies on the state and federal levels. Funding for the Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is provided by the Northern Border Regional Commission.

The Northern Forest Center builds economic and community vitality while fostering sound forest stewardship across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.  Additional resources and application materials are available online at www.northernforest.org/adirondack_model_neighborhood_project.html.