By Jim Van Valkenburgh
Lately everyone is eating local. I think you should heat local!
These days, there seems to be nothing more important than knowing where everything in your salad was grown, when it was picked and how far it traveled to get to your plate. Why should you eat spinach from local farms instead of spinach from California?
1) The carbon footprint of locally grown spinach is tiny because of low transportation costs.
2) You economically support local farmers—your neighbors.
3) You support the local economy. Of $3 spent on a bag of local spinach, over $2.75 stays local! Of $3 spent on a supermarket box, maybe $1 stays local.
4) Locally grown spinach is better for you: nutritional values diminish over time.
When enough people demand locally produced products, local farmers scale up production, increasing their efficiency and lowering unit costs, thus solidifying their businesses and reducing your costs.
Heating local is very similar to eating local.
Today you can heat local using cord wood, wood pellets or wood chips.
When you choose one of these locally produced biomass fuels to heat your home or business, there are many benefits:
1) The carbon footprints of biomass-based heating fuels are much smaller because they are near-carbon neutral* and have very low transportation and energy costs because biomass fuels are typically grown within 100 miles of where they are consumed.
2) You are economically supporting lots of local people— loggers, equipment operators, truckers, property owners, employees of pellet manufacturers, wood chip and cord wood processors, and delivery truck drivers. Many are making their living from the money that you and your neighbors pay for their local fuel.
3) You are supporting the local economy. Of the $3 spent on a gallon of fuel oil, about 66 cents stay local. Of $3 spent on local fuel, over $2.75 stays local!
4) Locally grown fuels are also better for you! The latest versions of stoves, furnaces and boilers that burn wood pellets, cord wood or dry wood chips have generally lower emissions than heating oil.
Heating local is a long time tradition in New England. Fireplaces, pot belly stoves, 1970s airtight stoves and modern clean burning wood and pellet stoves are part of our culture. After years of heating with a wood stove, I now love my pellet stove! Self-igniting and thermostatically controlled, it effectively heats my whole house from fall to spring. It’s a manual way to heat but all I do is dump in a bag of pellets each day and brush it out once a week.
However, many people want a fully automatic heating method. How can they heat local? With a state of the art pellet boiler that provides the same level of convenience found in oil and gas boilers. All you do is to turn up your thermostat and local heat will warm your house. Experienced companies install and service them throughout New England.
* Biomass fuels are “near-carbon-neutral” because trees recycle carbon from the atmosphere. We can cover this in a future article!
Jim Van Valkenburgh is VP of Business Development at Froling Energy. Call, email or snail mail Jim to get your free HEAT LOCAL bumper sticker. He may be contacted at Jim@FrolingEnergy.com or 603-924-1001 x2.