In addition to the long term cost advantage over heating oil and propane, wood pellets have some additional benefits that you may be unaware of.
1. The carbon footprint of wood pellets can be neutral, or close to it. A study by The Alliance for Green Heat and VU University Amsterdam revealed that heating with wood pellets can emit about one tenth the carbon as heating with oil. If the forests where the wood pellet raw material has been taken from are sustainably managed, the overall carbon footprint is drastically reduced in comparison with fossil fuel heat.
Energy.gov explains that wood pellets produce very little air pollution; “In fact, pellet stoves are the cleanest solid fuel, residential heating appliance.”
According to the Energy Information Administration, direct thermal conversion of 3 million tons of wood pellets displaces the equivalent of almost 8.5 million barrels of #2 fuel oil – which is 356 million gallons. Making the switch from oil heat to a wood pellet stove or furnace could lead to a 60 to 90% reduction of carbon emissions.
2. Forests can directly benefit from wood pellet heat too. If raw materials for wood pellet manufacturing are from environmentally-responsible sources – burning pellets releases fewer carbon emissions than if trees were left to decompose in the forest. Most wood pellets are manufactured with waste sawdust of other wood industries – not from cutting trees. However, when trees are used, modern forestry practices can actually improve the rate of carbon removal from the atmosphere by planting new trees which absorbs more CO2.
3. There is no risk of catastrophes like oil spills, which can be crippling to the environment and can take years to clean up. (See The 10 Biggest Oil Spills in History by Popular Mechanics)
“In the BP Oil Spill, more than 200 million gallons of crude oil was pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for a total of 87 days, making it the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.”
4. Wood pellets are 100% natural. There are no binders, chemicals, or dangerous additives that could be harmful to you or the environment. Wood naturally contains a substance, lignin, that binds wood pellets in their tightly compacted, mostly uniform shape.
Most wood pellets made in the USA are manufactured from clean sawdust and wood chips: waste products from lumber and other wood industries that would wind up rotting in landfills, if not used for heating fuel.
Questions? Call 1-800-PELLETS to speak to a wood pellet fuel expert.