The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) and Resource Professional Group (RPG) today announced that they were awarded a $70,000 grant by the U.S. Forest Service’s Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC). The project will promote energy cost savings and environmental improvement of commercial buildings by educating building architects and biomass appliance manufacturers on wood energy.
Project partners BTEC and RPG will facilitate several meetings to bring together heating and cooling (HVAC) design experts with biomass energy equipment manufacturers to address concerns that have long delayed broader market penetration of biomass energy in the United States. The project leverages findings of a 2010 WERC-funded survey,“Report of Key Findings: Architects and Energy Professionals – The Missing Link in Wood Energy”. According to the study, 80% of responding HVAC designers saw wood energy as a tool to advance America’s environmental, economic, and energy efficiency goals if their concerns about emissions, resource protection, system reliability and operational convenience can be satisfied.
Dr. Dan Richter, co-author of the 2010 WERC-funded survey and lead author of the March 2009 Science article,“Wood Energy in America,” said,“Biomass is a stored form of solar energy offering many communities affordable renewable heat and cooling.” According to Dr. Richter,“utilizing a local resource like wood for heating and cooling needs can amount to saving many billions of dollars within a few years.”
The current project responds to those concerns through knowledge transfer and discussions between the manufacturers and HVAC engineers. A comprehensive publications library will assist project participants in their information exchange. The development of a stakeholder database will allow interaction between organizations for which sustainable biomass energy may be a topic of interest or concern. Both library and organization database will be updated over the project term and remain available to the public after a webinar presentation and a final report which conclude the project.
“We are grateful for letters of support from leaders of more than 15 industry, environmental, and educational organizations for this proposal,” said Joseph Seymour, BTEC Executive Director. “Those executives,” he added,“recognize that this work supports jobs that are vitally needed to wisely manage forest resources, reduce wildfire risk, and increase the market of clean burning, high-efficient biomass combustion equipment”. John Karakash, registered forester and energy consultant with RPG added,“As biomass energy grows, employment will expand in conservation and clean energy to convert low grade timber into renewable fuel. The end result will be lower cost to taxpayers for energy and for resource protection, greater independence from foreign energy sources, and reduced fossil carbon emissions.”