By Steven Bick
Discussions of renewable energy typically focus on technologies such as solar panels, wind power, and geothermal. In one state, however, a different conversation is taking shape—one that is focusing on refining an age-old source of renewable energy: wood.
Vermont has taken the lead in using residual material created during forest management (woody biomass) to heat schools and commercial buildings. Steven Bick's Case Study outlines the astonishing savings Vermont schools, public buildings, and private companies have incurred by using woody biomass for heat in comparison to oil, propane, electricity, and natural gas.
With its abundance of forests and sawmills, Vermont has long been the nation’s leading user of wood—or, more precisely, woody biomass—for heating. Other parts of the country are beginning to follow suit.
AUTHOR: Steven Bick is a consulting forester and principal in Northeast Forests, LLC. He holds a Ph.d. in Forest Management and Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Bick is an adjunct professor in the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. He is the author of six books on forestry and conservation.