By John Ackerly | Biomass Magazine | June 23, 2015
Alliance For Green Heat President John Ackerly discusses a major oversight of the U.S. DOE—omitting mention of wood and pellet heat in its recent Energy Saver guide.
In 2011, we noticed a glaring omission in an annual U.S. government publication. The annual Winter Fuel Report failed to mention wood and pellets, one of the most common heating fuels in America. Members of Congress were also appalled. The next year, the report began covering wood and pellet heat, not just fossil fuel heat.
Now we find the same parent agency, the U.S. DOE, omitting any mention of wood and pellet heating in a major, consumer-oriented publication and inserting the word solar where wood and pellets should be. The publication, Energy Saver: Tips on Saving Money & Energy at Home, is one of the DOE’s main consumer-oriented energy efficiency publications. The glossy, 41-page booklet is distributed free of charge and contains scores of excellent suggestions on how to save on your utility bills.
The section on renewable energy tells consumers they have many options for using renewable energy at home, including solar and small wind turbines. The booklet also discusses geothermal and solar thermal. It states: “Solar panels are the most popular form of renewable energy today.”
There are not even half a million homes with solar panels and about 10 million homes with wood or pellet stoves. On an annual basis, wood and pellet stoves still outsell solar panels. By 2020, there still be less than one million homes with solar. Even if the high estimates are correct, the number of homes using solar is still less than half the number of those with installed stoves. So why does the DOE say solar panels are the most popular form of residential energy, and why does it not even mention wood or pellet stoves in the renewable energy section?