Vermont has a Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP. The capital for implementing the CEP would be in excess of $1.0 BILLION PER YEAR FOR AT LEAST 33 YEARS, according to the Energy Action Network annual report.


The CEP has a goal to install about 35,000 air source heat pumps, ASHPs, by 2025, and projects:


About 63% of building space heating* and domestic hot water, DHW, from renewable electricity (wind, solar, hydro, biomass, etc.)

About 34% of building space heating and DHW, from wood burning (cordwood/pellet) and bio liquids.

About 3% of building space heating and DHW, from fossil fuels burning.


*Building heating covers all types of buildings, not just houses.


The CEP goal of using only 3% fossil fuel for all building heating implies 63% of all buildings would have ASHPs and/or ground source heat pumps, GSHPs, to supply about 100% of building heating. That could only happen if:


- A high carbon tax, about $1.50 per gallon, would make building heating with propane and natural gas and ultra-low-sulfur fuel oil, 15 ppm S, prohibitively expensive compared with the electricity for ASHPs and GSHPs* 


- Almost 63% of buildings would have major energy retrofits to reduce the space heating to less than 15 Btu/h/ft2, at 65F indoor and -10F outdoor.


Households, with 100% space heating by ASHPs, would have much higher electricity consumption, especially after EVs have replaced gasoline/diesel vehicles. See table 1A


Table 1A/Household electricity consumption



Typical household electricity consumption



ASHP for 100% space heating, no DHW


See Appendix 4

2 EVs, each driven 12,000 miles/y


See Appendix 3





NOTE: Where would the electricity come from, if:


- Almost every morning and evening there is minimal wind and minimal solar, and

- Snow covers the solar panels, and

- There are 5 to 7-day wind/solar lulls in New England, which happen any time throughout the year, and

- All nuclear plants are shut down? See URLs.


* Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations (Section 5-221) states that no person shall use, purchase, or sell fuel oil with a sulfur content greater than 15 ppm within the State of Vermont for heat or power generation as of July 1, 2018.


That rule makes the particulate matter, PM, of ULS fuel oil only about 15 times worse than natural gas and propane.

A wood-burning pellet stove, EPA-certified for 2020, would be 1853 times worse.

Any other wood-burning appliance would be several thousand times worse.

Almost 100% of the PM consists of health-damaging, sub-micron particles going up the chimney. See table 7 and 8.

The CEP promoting/advocating widespread wood-burning would lead to significant public health issues in schools and in neighborhoods with many wood-burning appliances. See URL and tables 7 and 8.

International Energy Conservation Code for Residences


The IECC issues a revised energy code for residences every three years.

The IECC code is not mandatory. It serves as a guide for state energy codes

The IECC code for air changes per hour, ACH, for new houses are shown in table 1.

The IECC made no change in ACH values for the last 4 revisions of the IECC code that cover the 2012 - 2021 period.


Table 1/ACH



Climate zone

 2009 IECC

 2012/2015/2018 IECC

1 – 2

 < 7ACH at -50 pascal

 < 5 ACH at -50 pascal

3 – 8

 < 7 ACH at -50 pascal

 < 3 ACH at -50 pascal


Passivhaus, the Gold Standard for Energy Efficiency


The Passivhaus standard, formulated in Germany, dates from the mid 1980s.

A free-standing Passivhaus, 2000 ft2, maximum heating demand 10 W/m2 x 186 m2 = 1.86 kW, or 6,348 Btu/h, or 3.2 Btu/ft2/h applies to all climate zones

Vermont, in climate zone 6, the heating demand would be at -10F outdoors and 65F indoors.

A 2 kW, thermostat-controlled electric heater in the air supply duct could be the heating system!

No expensive air source or ground source heat pump system is required!!


The house, tested with a blower door at 0.6 ACH, at -50 pascal, would have average natural ventilation of about 0.06 ACH, much less than the recommended minimum of 0.5 ACH.


However, that is not relevant, because the house would have an HVAC system, with supply and return ductwork to each room, to supply a minimum of 0.5 ACH to the house for health reasons.

The house would have with an air-to-air heat exchanger to transfer the Btus of the stale exhaust air to fresh incoming air.

Available models have 85% efficiency, i.e., very few Btus are lost.

The house could have a HEPA filter to filter the fresh incoming air.


Compared to a Passiv house:


A typical older Vermont house, 1750 - 1990, would be 12.6 times worse
A newer house, 1990 - 2000, would be 7.6 times worse
A newer house, per IECC, 2000 - 2012, would be 6.3 times worse
A well-sealed/well-insulated house, exceeding IECC, 2012 - 2021, would be 4.7 times worse
A highly sealed/highly insulated house, exceeding IECC, 2000 - present, would be 2.7 times worse.


Weatherizing older houses reduces energy consumption about 30%, on average, i.e., they become 12.6 x 0.7 = 8.8 times worse than Passiv, etc. The only answer for those houses is to start tearing down whole neighborhoods of older houses and replace them with Passiv houses, TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE.


Typical space heating demands of 2000-ft2, free-standing Vermont houses are shown in table 2.


Table 2/Vermont



Htg. Demand

Pk. Demand


Air Leak


Unsuitable for ASHPs




Btu/h at -10F*



@ -50 pascal

Typical older house

1750 - 1990








Newer house

1990 - 2000








Newer house, IECC

2000 - 2012








Suitable for ASHPs

"WS/WI house" *

2012 - 2021








“HS/HI house” *

2000 - present









1985 - present










- WS/WI means well-sealed/well-insulated, per IECC

- HS/Hi means highly sealed/highly insulated, exceeding IECC

- Winter 99% design temperature: The outdoor air where you live will be colder than this temperature for 1% of the hours of a year, based on a 30-year average; that temperature is -10F in Vermont. See URL, page 112




If a Vermont house were to be 100% heated with an ASHP system, it should:


1) Be well-sealed, i.e., less than 3.0 ACH, at -50 pascal, per blower door test.

2) Be well-insulated (R-20 basement, R-40 walls, R-60 ceiling, R-5 to R-8 triple-pane windows, etc.)

3) Have a heating demand of 30,000 Btu/h or less, on cold days. See table 1.

4) Have an 85%-efficient, air-to-air heat recovery unit to preheat fresh incoming air with stale outgoing air, to provide 0.5 ACH of fresh air.


About 11.6% of all Vermont houses are suitable for 100% heating with ASHPs.

A part of the remaining 88.4% would be suitable for partial heating with ASHPs.


Ventilation of Vermont Houses


About 88.4% of all Vermont free-standing houses, built prior to 2012, have heating demands of 40,000 Btu/y or greater; they should be classified as energy hogs, based on the latest IECC standards.

Newer houses, built during the 2000 - 2012 period, were required to have 7 ACH or less at -50 pascal, per IECC.

All of these houses do not require fan-driven ventilation, because their average natural infiltration is about 0.7 ACH, more than the recommended 0.5 ACH for health reasons. The natural infiltration is greatest during windy periods and on cold days. See table 2


Newer houses, built during the 2012 – 2021 period, have more insulation and sealing, and are required to have a blower door test of 3 ACH or less at -50 pascal, per IECC.

All of these houses require fan-driven ventilation, because their average natural infiltration is about 0.3 ACH, less than the 0.5 ACH required for health reasons.


Air Source Heat Pump Systems and Balance Points


ASHP systems usually are sized to serve only a part of the heat demand of a house.


1) The energy balance point is when the ASHP decreasing output, Btu/h, is equal to the increasing heat demand of a house, which occurs at colder temperatures. The balance temperature for most houses with ASHPs is about 32F to 25F. The more energy-efficient houses have lower balance temperatures. WS/HI and HS/HI houses have balance points at about -10F.


NOTE: The energy balance point of the “HS/HI house” is about -10F, i.e., the heat pumps are able to provide 17,000 Btu/h to heat the entire house, at 65F indoor and -10F outdoor). See URL, table 2.


2) The energy cost balance point occurs when the increasing energy cost, $/h, of inefficiently operating the ASHPs starts to exceed the energy cost, $/h, of operating the traditional heating system, at colder temperatures. It likely would be more economical to turn off the more costly ASHPs and turn on the less costly traditional heating system. See URLs.


Any energy-efficient house could have ASHPs sized to provide all heat at -10F. There would be no energy balance point. However, there likely would be an energy cost balance points, i.e., operating an existing traditional system would be less costly per hour than the ASHP, at colder temperatures.


NOTE: An ASHP in a 2000 sq ft, HS/HI house (heat demand 17,000 Btu/h at -10F) would economically provide about 90% of the Btus of a heating season. No need for a traditional system to supply supplementary heat. See URL.


Comments on the Colored Graph: The 2-ton* ASHP shown in the graph is rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, per industry standard rating. The ASHP has a coefficient of performance, COP, of about 3.5, at 24,000 Btu/h at 47F.

The ASHP output, Btu/h, is shown to decrease and the house heat demand, Btu/h, is shown to increase, at colder temperatures.


* One ton is about 12,000 Btu/h of heating at 47F outdoor, or 12,000 Btu of cooling at 95 degrees F outdoor.


The graph shows a house with a heat demand of 35,000 Btu/h at -10F, and an ASHP with a heat output of 6,000 Btu/h, at -10F. It gets even colder in Vermont and Maine, i.e., the house heat demand would be higher and the ASHP output would be lower.


The graph shows, the Btu/h difference, from the balance point at 28F to whatever cold temperature, is provided by the traditional heating system; the pink area.


The house area likely is about 2500 sq ft and has a balance point of about 28F.

Whereas several ASHPs could provide heat at -10F and below, it would operate inefficiently, because its COP would be about 1.2 (high electricity cost/h). See right vertical axis.


It likely would be more economical to turn off the more costly ASHPs and have the less costly traditional heating system provide all heat at 10F and below, i.e., the green area to the left of 10F would become pink.

If that is implemented, the heat pump would provide about 50% of the Btus of the heating season.

Example of High-Efficiency ASHP


The graph shows the performance of an older model ASHP. Recent model ASHPs, such as Fujitsu-RLS3H, have higher heat outputs at lower temperatures. See table 3


The maximum outputs at low temperatures are achieved with maximum compressor speeds and maximum fan speeds, i.e., more noise.


At colder temperatures, owners often prefer to preset indoor fan speeds at “low” or “medium” to avoid excessive indoor noise, which can be a loud as people having a conversation in a living room. As a result, the ASHP heat output is reduced.


Owners often turn off their ASHPs and use their traditional heating systems at colder temperatures. See URL pages 8, 9, 10 and 11

Manufacturers usually provide data at maximum fan/medium compressor, to prevent excessive wear of the compressor and to achieve the 10-y factory warrantee.


Table 3/ ASHP Fujitsu-RLS3H

Test output, per NREL

Mfr. Published data




High fan, high compressor

20500 at 47F


Medium fan, maximum compressor

16500 at 47F


Maximum fan, medium compressor


16000 at 47F

High fan, high compressor

17000 at 17F


High fan, medium compressor

14000 at 17F


Maximum fan, medium compressor


12000 at 17F

Medium fan, medium compressor

11000 at 17F


Maximum fan, medium compressor


11000 at 5F

High fan, high compressor

12000 at -5F



11900 at -10F


High fan, high compressor

11800 at -15F

11800 at -15F


HS/HI and WS/WI Houses Heated 100% with ASHPs


The houses are assumed to have two heat pumps, each rated at 15,000 Btu/h at 47F, per industry standard rating.

One unit is operated from 47F to 17F.

Both units are operated from 17 F to -10F


Table 2 shows an HS/HI house with a heat demand of 17,000 Btu/h at -10F, the winter 99% design temperature in Vermont.

Table 4 shows the increasing space heat demand as the outdoor temperature decreases from 65F to -10F.

Table 4 ASHP heat output was estimated by using values of table 3, i.e., 20500/11900 x 17000 = 29,286 Btu/h at 47F. The values between 29,286 and 17,000 were obtained by proration.

The ASHP heat outputs and ASHP ratings are assumed to decrease with temperature in the same proportion as Model Fujitsu-RLS3H. See table 3


NOTE: The heat pumps in the HS/HI house likely would not be operated until about 47F outdoor or less, because of various internal heat gains, such as from people, appliances, electronics, lighting, etc., and from passive solar.


Balance Points: The balance points of the HS/HI and WS/WI houses is -10F, i.e., the two heat pumps can provide 100% of the heat demand without supplementary heat. See tables 4 and 5

Table 4

Heat Demand

ASHP output

ASHP rating

ASHP rating

Unit 1

Unit 1 + 2

HS/HI house

Unit 1

Unit 2

Outdoor F


































































Table 5

Heat Demand

ASHP output

ASHP rating

ASHP rating

Unit 1

Unit 1 + 2

WS/WI house

Unit 1

Unit 2

Outdoor F



































































Older Wood-Burning Appliances


Pre-1990 wood-burning appliances, such as Franklins and Potbellies, use about 40% excess air, and have very incomplete combustion, and have high flue gas temperatures, and have leaks.

They have efficiencies of about 50% during steady firing conditions, much less during start-ups and burn-downs, which can happen once a day.

Their PM10 emissions are about 30 to 60 g/h during steady firing conditions, much higher during start-ups and burn-downs, which can happen once a day. They are toxic smokers!


EPA-Certified Wood-Burning Appliances


The emissions from modern wood-burning appliances are dominated by inorganic ash during ideal, steady firing conditions.

Inorganic ash would be most of the emitted particulate.

Organic carbon and soot may be less than 10% of the emitted particulate.


NOTE: Modern wood-burning appliances with gasifiers, operating at about 2000F, a very tiny percentage of all such appliances in use, would burn most of the organic compounds and soot, but the inorganic ash, about 92% less than 1 micron, would continue to go up the chimney.


However, during the start-up, and low burn-rates, and fuel addition, the combustion conditions will be much less than ideal, causing increased emissions of organic carbon and soot, i.e., much greater than 10% of the emitted particulate.


Recent EPA-certified wood-burning appliances use about 20% excess air, and have nearly complete combustion, and have near-zero leaks, and yield efficiencies of about 80% during ideal, steady firing conditions in a laboratory, much lesser efficiencies during start-ups and burn-downs. They need to have low flue gas temperatures of about 265F at appliance exit, to achieve high efficiency.


Their PM10 emissions were EPA-mandated at 4.5 g/h prior to 2020, as achieved during laboratory testing.

Their PM10 emissions are EPA-mandated at 2 g/h in 2020, as achieved during laboratory testing.


The emissions from modern wood-burning appliances may increase 5 to 10 times, when operated by Joe and Jane User, i.e., the real world. See section 4.6 of URL.

The emissions likely are most dominated by soot and organic carbon, instead of inorganic ash, if not appropriately operated. See URL


NOTE: About 65% (6.5 million) of all US wood-burning appliances in use are pre-1990 models, which use about 40% excess air.

Open fireplaces use at least 100% excess air, and have efficiencies of -10 to + 10%, and have PM10 emissions of about 30 to 60 g/h during steady firing conditions, much higher during start-ups and burn-downs, which can happen once a day; they should be outlawed in urban housing areas.


Particle Size Distribution of Wood-Burning Appliance


About 96% of PM in the untreated smoke from a wood chip boiler is PM10 or less, about 4% is larger than PM10.

About 93% is PM2.5 or less.

About 92% is PM1.0 or less.

About 45% is PM0.22 or less, not trapped by a HEPA filter, or a precipitator.

All three classes of particles are represented.


The volatile organic compounds, VOCs, are 50% methane and 50% other organic compounds, such as PAHs. See URL


Table 6 shows the particle size distribution of a wood-burning  appliance.


Table 6/Particle size

% by wgt

PM10 or larger


PM10 to PM2.5


PM2.5 to PM1.0


PM1.0 to PM0.22


PM0.22 and smaller





Chemical Composition and Size of Wood Smoke Particles


The particles (or condensed droplets of tars) in wood smoke are made up of a complex mix of organic compounds, with the chemistry changing depending on combustion conditions in the heater.

Essentially the combustion chamber of a wood heater is like a chemical manufacturing process, where the large molecules of lignin and cellulose of wood are converted into other organic chemicals.

The organic chemicals include some known to be respiratory irritants, and known or suspected carcinogens.

One significant group is known as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs.


Some energy-efficient houses have HEPA filters that remove about 99% of all airborne pollutants 0.3 micron, or larger.

The below indicates PM0.3 and smaller particles of wood burning pass through HEPA filters.

There are about 12 - 19 million PM10 particles/cm3, about 140 million PM0.6 particles/cm3 in the flue gases leaving a wood appliance. See page 156


Each cubic cm has 10,000 cubed micron-sized cubes, or 1,000,000 x 1,000,000 cubes

If we assume one particle per micron-sized cube, then 140 per one million micron-sized cubes would be occupied.

They represent about 92% of the weight of all emitted particles.

Sub-micron particles are invisible, so the chimney looks reassuringly “clean” to the lay neighborhood person (good PR!).


Viruses: At 0.1 to 000.4 micron, they pass through HEPA filters.


Bacteria: At 0.2 to 1 micron, most will be trapped in HEPA filters. However, as the bacteria die, they decompose and release endotoxins; toxic substances less than 0.4 microns, which pass through HEPA filters.


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Common household items, such as aerosol hair spray, upholstery cleaner, ammonia, and many others contain VOCs, are toxic substances that can irritate eyes and respiratory passages, and even lead to cancer. The gases from VOCs are smaller than 0.3 microns, they pass through HEPA filters.


Molds: At 3 to 100 microns, they will be trapped in HEPA filters.

However, the presence of moisture, which is common in air purifier filters, can permit the spores to grow, spreading mold throughout the filter.

Eventually, a moldy filter can release spores on the other side as air passes through.

To reduce the risk of a filter becoming moldy, replace it at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer.

Where mold is a recurrent problem, consider an air purifier with an antimicrobial pre-filter to trap and destroy mold spores before they can reach the HEPA filter.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): At 0.020 to 0.3 micron, almost all will pass through HEPA filters.

They are a part of the particulate emissions of wood burning appliances.

They are a result of incomplete combustion, such as forest fires, open fires for cooking, open fireplaces, old wood appliances, etc.

They are known for mutagenic and carcinogenic potential.

Exposure to PAHs increases the risk of life-long respiratory illnesses.  


There are thousands of chemicals in wood smoke.

This article lists the names and quantities, gram/kg of dry wood, of about 25 chemicals in wood smoke.

Some names represent groups of chemicals, such as VOCs and PAHs.

The image shows examples of PAHs that are of priority to the EPA.

Polycyclic means more than one ring.

The image shows sixteen different chemicals.



Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Wood Smoke Particles


The physical and chemical properties of wood smoke particles emitted during various combustion conditions differ considerably. Particles (PM2.5) emitted from residential wood appliances may be divided into three classes, based on chemical composition and morphology:


1) Spherical organic carbon particles (from low-temperature incomplete combustion during start-up, fuel addition, shut-down);

50 - 600 nanometer, or 0.050 - 0.6 micron; includes various organic compounds.


2) Soot consisting of elemental carbon aggregates (from high-temperature, incomplete combustion during steady combustion);

20 - 50 nm, or 0.020 – 0.050 micron; includes various organic compounds and PAHs.


3) Inorganic ash particles (from high-temperature, complete combustion during steady combustion);

25 - 125 nm, or 0.025 - 0.125 micron; includes alkali salts, such as potassium/sodium-sulphates, chlorides and carbonates.


Because the combustion conditions in a wood burning appliance change during a burn cycle, especially during transient cycles (start-up, fuel addition, shut-down), the three particle classes may co-exist and interact. See Note.



Particle sizes were determined by electron microscope.

A HEPA filter traps 99%, by weight, of particles 0.3 micron and larger.

The weight of particles 0.3 micron and smaller is about 50% of the total particulate load.

There are about 140 million such particles per cm3 of flue gas. 

Almost all of those particles are not trapped by any air pollution control system, or HEPA filter. 

It is likely, these particles are also not trapped by any EPA air pollution control testing method.

This leads to under-reporting of the particulate load in the flue gases of wood burning, because a similar  fraction of the particulate load disappears up the chimney.

See table 6 and URL, page 156.


An electrostatic precipitator, ESP, of a wood chip plant, traps almost no particles 0.3 micron and smaller.

A fabric filter system of a wood chip plant traps a larger percentage of particles 0.3-micron and smaller, than an ESP.


One millimeter = one thousandth of a meter

One micrometer = one millionth of a meter, also called one micron

One nanometer = one billionth of a meter


NOTE: In a neighborhood with open fire places and wood-burning appliances there would be significant accumulation of outdoor smoke during wind-still conditions and temperature inversions, which happen mostly during evening, at night, and during early morning in winter.


The houses without wood-burning appliances would have an indoor level of wood smoke, milligram/m3, of about 70% of the outdoor level, due to natural infiltration and forced ventilation.


The HEPA filters of HS/HI houses, which are installed in about 1% of all HS/HI houses, would filter only the particles greater than 0.3 micron.



Deceptive Promotion of ASHPs


A massive upgrading of Vermont housing would be required to make them suitable for 100% heating with ASHPs, to meet state goals by 2025 and 2050. 


All of this has been known for about 20 years, so it should not be a surprise to find owners with ASHPs in their energy-hog houses, hoping to “reduce their energy bills”, end up having near-zero, or minimal annual energy cost savings.


Even though most owners had energy-hog houses, they had been enticed with generous cash subsidies and misled by promoters that grossly overstated annual energy savings, as high as $1200 - $1800 per year!


Those promoters were GMP, VPIRG, Efficiency Vermont, etc. EV provides talking points to its approved installers to convince owners in energy-hog houses to have ASHPs.


After much complaining by owners to their legislative representatives, etc., the Vermont Department of Public Service finally conducted a survey of the annual energy cost savings of about 80 ASHPs in owners’ houses.

DPS found the average annual energy cost saving was $200/ASHP/y (some owners had more, others had less savings).


Most ASHP owners end up having two heating systems; a new ASHP system and an existing traditional system.


1) An ASHP has an average turnkey capital cost of about $4500, 10-y factory warrantee, and may have a 15-y useful service life.

Most owners would lose significant money each year, if the cost of financing, plus the cost of service calls and cost of maintenance contracts were added.


2) Almost all owners would need to use their traditional systems for supplementary heat (propane, gas, fuel oil, wood-burning appliances, and electric heaters), because ASHP heat output, Btu/h, would be decreasing at the same time the heat demand of the house would be increasing, on cold days.

Those systems have their own cost of financing, plus the cost of service calls and cost of maintenance contracts. See URLs.



BNL/EPA Test Results of Residential Water Heating Boilers and Air Heating Furnaces


Here are some results of PM and efficiency testing of various heating units, using various fuels, performed by engineers of the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the EPA.


Pellet stove PM emissions are about 1850 times the PM emissions of natural gas. See table 7.


NOTE: The PM and efficiency values achieved with clean, tuned appliances, using pre-selected fuels, under steady laboratory conditions, operated by professionals, likely are much better than operated by Joe and Jane User, using a dirty appliance, whatever fuel, on whatever schedule, including fuel feed-ins, and daily start-ups and burn-downs.


PM Tests: The PM emissions were based on fuel heat input. The results of the BNL/EPA tests were:


1) Gas-fired units have the lowest PM emissions averaging 0.011 to 0.016 mg/MJ


2) Regarding fuel oil units:


- Ultra low sulfur fuel oil units have PM emissions of 0.025 to 0.060 mg/MJ,

- Low sulfur fuel oil units have PM emissions of 0.49 to 0.510 mg/MJ

- No-2 fuel-oil units have PM emissions of 1.320 to 2.100 mg/MJ


3) Wood pellet units, 3-stove average, have PM emissions of 25 mg/MJ.


NOTE: Cordwood stoves were not tested.


NOTE: The values in the BNL/EPA report were in MJ units, which I converted to Btu to be consistent with the rest of this article. See table 3

I MJ = 947.817 Btu


Table 7/Household Appliance

Warm water boiler

Warm air furnace


Times worse

Particle size

 PM2.5 and smaller

 PM2.5 and smaller


g/million Btu

g/million Btu

g/million Btu

Natural gas





ULS fuel oil, 15 ppm





LS fuel oil, 500 ppm





No. 2 fuel oil, 2000 ppm





Wood pellet; 3-stove average






An EPA-certified stove in 2020 is required to have emissions of 2.0 g/h or less. See Table 3A


Table 8/Pellet stove

Heat input





Heat output



Stove capacity



Burn time




g/million Btu






Efficiency Tests: The results of the BNL/EPA efficiency tests are shown in below table. Some stoves are more efficient than others, i.e., for a given fuel input they deliver a greater useful heat output.


Almost all buildings require circulating hot water at about 180F and baseboard units are designed accordingly.


Condensing heating units, propane or natural gas fired, have efficiencies up to 95%, higher than any other heating unit, i.e., they produce more useful heat for a given heat input.


Condensing heating units, operating at high efficiency in condensing mode, can circulate hot water as low as 120F, but baseboard units need to be designed to heat a building with such low-temperature water. If that is not the case, the heating unit will operate in normal mode (non-condensing) at about 80% to 85% efficiency, for most of the hours of the heating season.


It would make absolutely no sense to replace gas and propane condensing heating units with a pellet unit, nor would it make sense to prevent the use of such units by preventing gas pipeline and gas storage infrastructures and propane infrastructures to be built.


The data in below table are from the URL. See figure 20 on page 54 of URL


Table 9

Stove Type

Efficiency, %


 Oil-fired cast iron boiler

 87.4 - 91.6


 Oil-fired warm air furnace

  85.7 - 89.5


 Gas-fired sectional cast iron boiler



 Gas-fired warm air furnace



 Gas-fired condensing aluminum boiler



 Oil-fired condensing steel boiler



 Oil-fired condensing warm air furnace

93.5 - 93.7


 Oil-fired cast iron boiler



 Wood pellet stove



 Wood pellet stove



 Wood pellet stove





After 2015, the method of calculating CO2 absorption by Vermont's forests, etc., was changed to conform with EPA and international standards. As a result, the high values of the old method were replaced with the lower values of the new method; for example, 8.23 million metric ton in 2015 (old) became about 4.39 million Mt in 2015 (new), about 47% less.


Here is a summary of the new data.


If Vermont were to reduce overall CO2 to lower levels, then forests would absorb an increasing percentage of the total, if we don't trample on the forests, i.e., leave them alone to do their job.


1) Forest, plus Other Vegetation CO2 Absorption


Forests, plus other vegetation, absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into stored biomass by photosynthesis. This process is an important factor when estimating net greenhouse gas emissions, particularly for a heavily forested state, as Vermont.


This URL shows Vermont forests, plus other vegetation, sequestered 5.0 million metric ton of CO2 in 2016. It was about 5.8 million Mt in 1990, due to 1) less forest acreage and 2) trees becoming less robust and less healthy; about 50% of Vermont’s forests are classified “low grade”, suitable only for burning and pelletizing.


See URl, figure 18


2) Forest CO2 Absorption


The 2015 Vermont forest data show forests absorbed 4.39 million Mt of CO2 in 2015

Each acre of forest land stored 107 Mt of carbon (URL, table 1).

Forest total biomass, above and belowground, increased from 1990, to 2015 (URL, figure 1).


Annual absorption decreased from 4.70 MMTCO2e in 1990, to 4.39 MMTCO2e in 2015 (URL, figure 2). Even though, there is more biomass per acre, that biomass does not absorb as much CO2 in 2015 as it did in 1990, mostly due to less healthy forests.


See URL.


3) Vermont Total CO2


Vermont total CO2 has increased from 8.65 Mt in 1990, to 10.19 Mt in 2015, or 18% more than 1990, despite many energy programs that were supposed to reduce CO2, but did not. See URL, page 23.  


If CO2 of wood burning is added, the VT total becomes about 12.10 Mt in 2015.

If forest absorption is subtracted, the VT total becomes 12.10 – 4.39 = 7.71 Mt in 2015.


See URL, page 25.





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Comment by Pineo Girl on January 17, 2020 at 8:07pm

I will!

Comment by Willem Post on January 17, 2020 at 6:51pm

Pineo Girl,

Please check with Eric Tuttle regarding the details of the GSHP, if he has acmes to them.

Comment by Pineo Girl on January 17, 2020 at 4:34pm

Willem - i just went back to find my source and couldn't, but since a friend of mine complained just a couple of days ago her neighbors wood stove stinks so badly she cannot open a window, I accept ypur view and also of course your sources.

Comment by Willem Post on January 17, 2020 at 4:15pm

Pineo Girl,

The Brookhaven Nation laboratory and EPA conducted tests on various residential heating appliances and found EPA-certified pellet stoves have 1850 TIMES the PM of an equivalent capacity natural gas stove.

Reread my article.

The test results are in my article. see tables.

Heating with wood, no matter how clean the stove, has major future implications regarding public health, if large numbers of wood-burning appliances are used in households.

No such problem exists with natural gas and propane.

Comment by Pineo Girl on January 17, 2020 at 1:54pm

Thank you Willem... I will share your article!  Eric Tuttle told me he did not think the system was installed properly when I told him the story of their system.  Is it really so horrible to use a catalytic wood stove or a catalytic wood pellet stove?  Their carbon emissions are close to that of natural gas, known to be the lowest polluter.  And there is just one simple fact of life... If you live above the 34th parallel humans need some kind of heat for your home for at least part of the winter season.

Comment by Willem Post on January 17, 2020 at 1:35pm

Pineo Girl,


I looks to me your neighbor is not getting enough heat from his boreholes.

Do they have U-tubes, and are the filled with THERMALLY ENHANCED grout?

These grouts are more expensive per lb.

If no U-tubes, your neighbor has an open system, i.e., 50F water near the bottom of the well is pumped directly into the evaporator and returned at 45F near the top of the well.

Those systems have problems, due to scaling and iron and other deposition, which reduced heat transfer.

Show my article to the neighbor.

He may learn something about what he should have done.

Comment by Pineo Girl on January 17, 2020 at 11:22am

Thank you for your detail posts on heating systems.  a short while ago you posted details on a ground water heating system.  My neighbors built a new house with  a ground water heating system.  The house is about 2800 square feet - my neighbor dug 3 wells for his heating system and has 3 heat pumps.  The system cost more than $30,000 - the pumps run almost constantly and his electricity bill is over $800 a month running the pumps - and the house is still very cold most of the winter and of course freezing when there is a power loss!  As much as ground water seems to be an environmentally responsible decision, it is expensive and, in my view, still a questionable and unproven heating source.  Also, with regard to electric air heat pumps, friends who have installed them find that the do not work well on very cold days!  I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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