What's so green about wood pellets, anyway?

Burning 1 ton of wood pellet heating fuel:
  • Replaces 120 gallons of heating oil… or 170 gallons of propane… or 16,000 ft3 of natural gas… or 4,775 kWh of electricity. i
  • Eliminates 1,500 pounds of carbon emissions compared to heating oil.
  • Saves the same amount of fossil fuels as if you switched your car to a Prius for a year.
  • Mitigates greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants such as CO2, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. ii
  • Emits 50x less particulates from a high efficiency pellet stove than non-EPA certified wood stoves, and two to five times less than even newer, EPA-certified wood stoves. iii

Sustainable Forestry Practices

Modern forestry practices improve the rate of carbon removal from the atmosphere and actually allow young trees to grow more rapidly.

But that being said, most wood pellets are manufactured with waste products from the lumber or other wood industries – not from cutting trees. There is one exception to this rule: the forest service occasionally works with the pellet industry to remove standing dead trees that pose a forest fire hazard.

Clean Combustion

Burning wood pellets in a high efficiency stove is cleaner than organic decomposition in a forest.

This means that wood pellets are considered carbon neutral. In addition, pellet stoves, inserts, and central heating systems must have at least an 80% efficiency rating – and in fact, most appliances are 85-93% efficient.

100% Natural

Wood pellets are 100% natural, with no binders, chemicals, or additives.

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. Wood naturally contains a substance called lignin that, binds wood pellets in their tightly compacted, uniform shape.

i http://www.mass.gov/Eoca/docs/doer/pub_info/doer_pellet_guidebook.pdf

ii http://www.nebioheat.org/pdf/heatne_vision_ExecSummary.pdf

iii http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/02/pellet-stoves-vs-wood-stoves-greener.php