Since the expected lifespan of an oil or gas boiler or furnace is about 25 years, nearly every boiler and furnace in town will need to be replaced before 2050, our target year for 100% reliance on renewable energy. Please take time now to plan and choose the best renewable heating options for your building. Don't wait for an emergency mid-winter breakdown when the only good option is to stick with what you had. Multiple renewable heating options are described below based on the type of system you will be replacing. Also you might consider applying for a free energy audit from our partner Blocpower to learn more about your options.
The most economical way to move to a renewable energy heating system is to make use your current infrastructure whenever possible.
We estimate that 90% of the residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in Peterborough use oil and propane. These are non-renewable fossil fuels that are major contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Our primary recommendation when planning your future heating and cooling solutions is to move to 100% renewable electricity sourced from solar, wind, or hydro. You can easily do this by choosing your 100% renewable energy through the Peterborough Community Power plan.
For summer cooling, the most efficient approach possible would be a Heat Pump. See the Heating/Cooling section below for suggestions.
Heat pumps are the best path towards our goal of 100% renewable heating by 2050 because of their versatility and efficiencies that they bring. They also provide cooling in summer months.
Versitility: Heat pumps can both heat and cool a space.
Efficiency: While old fashioned electric baseboards and other basic electric heaters use one kilowatt hour to heat aspace for a set time--a heat pump will use as little as 1/3 of a kilowatt hour to provide the same level of heat.
Wood and wood pellet boiler furnaces burn biomass from organic materials, such as wood, agricultural residues, and other plant-based materials to produce heat and energy. Since these materials come from living or recently living organisms, they are considered renewable resources because they can be replenished over time through natural processes like reforestation and regrowth of crops.
However, the renewable status of wood and wood pellet boilers is contingent on responsible and sustainable sourcing practices as well as the efficiency of the burner being used because their emissions release carbon dioxide. For them to truly qualify as renewable energy sources, the following criteria should be met:
Sustainable Harvesting: The wood or wood pellets used as fuel should be sourced from well-managed forests or sustainable agricultural practices. Clear-cutting or overharvesting can lead to deforestation and environmental degradation, which undermines the renewable aspect.
Carbon Neutrality: When wood or wood pellets are burned, they release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The overall carbon emissions from burning these materials can be considered neutral if the carbon released during combustion is offset by the carbon absorbed during the growth of the biomass source. This balance ensures that the net carbon impact is minimal, making the energy source renewable from a carbon perspective.
Efficient Combustion: Using modern, efficient boiler technology and combustion processes can further reduce emissions and increase the overall energy efficiency of the system, making it a more sustainable choice.
Local Sourcing: Using locally sourced biomass can reduce transportation emissions associated with long-distance transportation of fuel.
Below are some scenarios and suggestions to help you decide what to do based on your current infrastructure, along with options that would replace current infrastructure. See the More Info section below to find out details about each possible solution. Note: All Heat Pumps also can cool air and so replace air conditioners.
*Federal Income Tax Credit Available
**NH DOE Rebate AND Federal Income Tax Credit Available
Forced Hot Air Heating with an Oil or Propane Furnace (Ducts & Air Vents)
Forced Hot Water Heating with an Oil or Propane Boiler (Baseboards, Radiators, Radiant or Hydro-Air)
Steam Heating with an Oil or Propane Boiler (Radiators)
High efficiency wood stove or pellet stove* – Area heat using separate chimney
Electric Heat—Baseboards or Radiant
Propane, Wood or Pellet Stove (Area Heat)
Central Air Conditioning
Ducted central air conditioning systems are generally quite efficient. When it is time to replace the air compressor unit, it is a good time to consider a ducted air source heat pump which could also provide highly efficient renewable heat as well as cooling.
Window Air Conditioners
Ducted Air Source Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pumps (Geothermal)
Wood Pellet Boilers and Furnaces
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