As the world begins to realize the finite nature of fossil fuels, more and more energy companies are breaking our reliance on these fuels and looking for renewable sources of energy captured from abundantly available resources. Whether you’re interested in the benefits of hydroelectric, wind, solar, or biofuel power, there’s no doubt that the energy sector is undergoing a massive change in terms of where we source our power—power which drives our business forward and adds comfort and ease to our home lives. As such, homeowners and business owners alike have been looking into transitioning to renewable energy systems—and, particularly beneficial for home life is a residential biomass boiler system, which runs on organic “waste” material that would otherwise end up in a landfill. But what is a biomass boiler, and what are the benefits and drawbacks? In this article, we will answer what property owners need to know before installing a residential biomass boiler in their homes.
Residential Biomass Boiler Systems 101
What Is a Biomass Furnace?
Also referred to as a biomass boiler, biomass furnaces operate very similarly to conventional boilers that may run on petroleum, natural gas, or other outdated fuels—but instead of finite energy sources, they use organic matter that has been optimized for combustion. One example of biomass fuels includes wood chips or pellets made from repurposed scraps from forestry work, milling industries, construction, and more. But biofuels can come from quite a range of sources—from biogas harvested from the composting process to animal excrement to harvested rotational crops that would otherwise rot. For more information on the different types of biofuels, check out our recent article on the topic!
Why Is Biomass a Renewable Resource?
It’s no secret that a byproduct of existing is creating waste. All creatures on the planet that consume other nutrients in order to survive produce waste of some sort—whether that be a worm creating castings from tunneling through the earth, a chicken in a coop, or a human. The brilliance of biomass fuels is that it relies on the fact that humans will always be creating waste just by merit of existing—whether that is unused agricultural or ranching matter, shavings from woodworking, or even deep frying our donuts in oil. Biofuels take what would otherwise be considered “trash” and transform it into a source of energy; and as long as human activity produces organic waste materials, we will always have biomass energy as an option.
Some people worry about the combustion aspect of a residential biomass boiler, thinking that the burning process releases unwanted gases into the atmosphere. However, this is a carbon-neutral process when you consider the material’s whole life cycle. In the example of wood pellets cobbled together from scraps, shavings, and sawdust, while it is true that this matter does release carbon into the atmosphere upon combustion, it is a net neutral carbon output. What this means is that during the natural lifecycle of the living tree, carbon was captured from the atmosphere and contained within the wood. Burning the wood releases the trapped carbon, bringing the balance of carbon intake to output back to zero.
Where Biomass Energy Is Used
While the technology for biomass energy systems is continuously evolving, improving, and growing more efficient, the concept of converting organic material into an energy source is as ancient as the human relationship with fire. As such, many nations throughout the world rely on biomass energy—as they have for centuries. Examples of countries that still rely on biofuels today for the majority of their energy include Haiti, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and many other countries in Africa. Behind them in terms of reliance on biofuels comes China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
This energy source has mass appeal across the globe thanks to its natural abundance—and the fact that it is literally something you can salvage, forage for, or collect from waste like animal droppings. Countries like Ireland have a long history of burning peat moss, which is also a biofuel—so as you might imagine, it is likely that every country has relied on some form of biofuel in their history.
Today, however, as residential biomass boiler systems continue to grow more efficient, more and more countries are adding biomass energy sources to their energy sector. While in the U.S., biomass energy only accounts for 5% of power provided by the energy sector—but given that the United States currently relies on renewable energy for 20% of its total power usage, we can see this 5% in a new perspective. With plans to continue to increase this number significantly by the year 2050, more and more homeowners and business owners are considering the benefits of switching to renewable energy sources—not least of which include financial breaks and tax incentives.
Residential Biomass Boiler Systems: Worth the Cost?
While some homeowners balk at the cost of installing a brand-new residential biomass boiler, many find that over time, this investment more than pays for itself. Investing in renewable energy not only reduces your reliance on energy infrastructure and makes you more prepared in the event of an outage, but it also can reduce your costs associated with fuels, monthly utility bills, and even annual tax expenses. With efficiency ratings of 80%-90%—better than many fossil fuels available today—residential biomass boiler systems are a relatively low-maintenance, high-reward investment. That being said, it is important to have your boiler system serviced about once a year to continue with peak performance and to protect your energy source.
Best Residential Biomass Boiler Installation Service Burlington, MA
Biomass fuels are used all over the world in increasingly sophisticated ways. While humans have long used biofuels to heat their dwellings, cook their food, and warm the water for their baths, with the latest, cutting-edge technology, we can now harness even more energy from the same ancient fuel sources—sometimes even harnessing electricity in more than one way with a modern boiler system. If you’re ready to make the change and invest in a greener planet (and a fuller wallet!) contact the experienced team at Caluwe, Inc. for a no-obligation consultation and quote. We are the leading biomass experts on the east coast and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about how we can work towards bettering your lifestyle. Start moving forward!