Is switching to wood heat a good financial deal for you and your building? Do a quick calculation to get you started. Below is a handy comparison of the cost of various fossil and wood fuels – compared on a heat basis.  A quick calculation is to take the number of gallons of heating oil or propane you use in a year and the cost of that compared to what it would cost with wood chips or wood pellets.  Here is an example:

  1. Current Fossil Fuel

10,000 gallons of oil per year – 10,000 gal x $2.97/gal = $29,700 cost of heating building today with oil

heat value – 10,000 gal x 138,000 BTUs per gal = 1,380,000,000 BTUs used per year

2. Modern Wood Heat alternative

1,380,000,000 BTUs/16,800,000 BTUs/ton of fresh bole chips = 82 tons of chips per year

82 tons of fresh bole wood chips = $4,920 per year for wood chip fuel to get the same heat

Fuel Type Unit Cost per Unit BTU per Unit (dry) Moisture Content MMBtu per Unit Cost per MMBtu Delivered Average Seasonal Efficiency Delivered MMBTU per Unit Cost per MMBtu After Combustion
Natural Gas therm $1.30 100,000 0% 0.100 $13.00 85% 0.085 $15.29
Oil gallon $2.97 138,000 0% 0.138 $21.52 75% 0.104 $28.70
Propane gallon $3.34 92,000 0% 0.092 $36.30 85% 0.078 $42.71
Wood Pellets ton (bulk delivered) $250.00 16,800,000 4.0% 16.1 $15.50 80% 12.9 $19.38
Fresh bole chips ton $60.00 16,800,000 45% 9.2 $6.49 70% 6.5 $9.28
Pallet grindings ton $60.00 16,800,000 15% 14.3 $4.20 80% 11.4 $5.25
Refined wood chips ton $120.00 16,800,000 25% 12.6 $9.52 80% 10.1 $11.90

Detailed Financial Calculators to Determine if Switching to Modern Wood Heat makes Financial Sense:

INRS Financial Calculator

Michigan Wood Energy Calculator

Biomass Energy Quick Assessment Tool