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As winter approaches, New York is enhancing its Renewable Heat NY program to provide renewable and budget-friendly heating solutions.

When it comes to heating a home or business, many New Yorkers living in rural areas where natural gas is not available often rely on propane or oil, which are subject to price fluctuations, or wood.

As an alternative to traditional oil or propane heating systems and to reduce pollution from older wood boilers, New York has just increased support to help homeowners and businesses install high-efficiency, low-emission advanced cordwood or wood-pellet boiler heating systems. These boilers heat water that is distributed through radiators to provide heat. Pellet boilers have fully automated feed systems that supply pellets from an outdoor storage bin, allowing them to run for weeks with no attention needed other than periodically emptying the ash bin and checking the pellet supply.

Another option for homeowners is a wood pellet stove, which can heat an individual room or section of a home, offsetting a portion of an existing fuel bill. The energy efficiency of wood pellet stoves is estimated at 78 percent, compared to standard wood stoves, which have an energy efficiency rating of 63 percent to 72 percent. Wood pellet stoves provide consistent heat that can be easily adjusted and require less work than cordwood-fired stoves.

Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, strategy, the state can help New Yorkers acquire these cleaner-burning systems. Support is available to homeowners, small and large businesses, healthcare facilities, schools and others who do not have access to natural gas. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.

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Homegrown wood used in high-efficiency, low emission wood-heating technology is renewable, sustainable and now more budget-friendly. As a result of the state support now available to install an advanced technology cordwood or pellet boiler, or a wood-pellet stove, many people will find they have a more affordable option that is a smart investment.

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NYSERDA encourages residents and businesses to review their energy systems and needs, and to check out the benefits of and support available for these cleaner, more efficient wood heating systems at: http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/Renewable-Heat-NY.

John B. Rhodes

Albany

Rhodes is president and CEO of New York State Research and Development Authority

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