Modern Wood Heat – what do we mean?  Modern wood heat means ultra-modern automated central heating boilers and furnaces using wood chips and wood pellets as fuel.  The Wood Heat Maine effort under the Maine Statewide Wood Energy Assistance Team is focused on commercial and institutional buildings (think schools, town halls, businesses, nursing homes and hospitals…among others) but modern wood heating also takes place in residential buildings – homes – as well.  In residences the fuel is usually wood pellets and not wood chips and a few others may have new cordwood boilers. Large commercial installations usually use wood chips as fuel.

A couple of great publications on using modern wood heat can be found at:

Buyers Guide to WoodFuel

Buyers Guide to Wood Pellets

In Maine there are over 100 commercial/institutional scale buildings using wood chips or wood pellets in modern wood heating boilers or furnaces.  Soon this website will have a listing of where those buildings are and who the key contacts are at the facilities in order to allow people to get in contact with modern wood heat facilities and see for yourself how well these buildings are being heated with locally produced wood fuel.

But do we have enough wood to support this use and not destroy the forest?

Maine is the most forested state in the U.S. –  the Pine Tree State is nearly 90% forested.  In addition, the data shows that more trees/tree volume is growing in Maine’s forests each year than are being harvested or die from natural processes.  The following graph and information from Maine Measures of Growth 2017 report (Maine Economic Growth Council and Maine Development Foundation) shows this well:

Forest Growth and Removals in Maine – Shows Sustainable Management