Pellet Stoves: sustainable and local heat in Colorado |

Pellet Stoves: sustainable and local heat in Colorado

Kellie Vaughan
Summit CO, Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” Pellet Stoves are an environmentally friendly to save money. The pellets are produced using sawdust and other wood byproducts often mixed with wheat, corn, cherry pits and other natural products that normally end up in landfills. The result is a sustainable heating source that emits only 15 percent of the particulates that a wood burning stove does.

Pellet stoves utilize electronically controlled combustion, blowers and highly effective heat exchangers to provide reliable, efficient heating. You pour the pellets into a holding bin or hopper, which is located either at the top or bottom of the unit. Pellets are highly compressed, containing less than 8 percent water, which results in higher BTUs than normal cord wood that is 20-30 percent water.

The average pellet stove user will consume at the rate of about one 40 lb bag of wood pellets every 24 hours for every 1,500 square feet being heated. Pellet consumption varies depending on overall home efficiency and stove settings. Fifty bags (one ton) of pellets cost about $150 on average throughout the country making it less expensive than electric and competitive with fossil fuels.

Heating companies began the biomass stove trend in 1973 when Middle Eastern countries refused to ship oil to nations that supported Israel. This was intended to leverage oil, in turn, increasing the cost globally. Pellet stoves became a cheaper alternative to paying so much during this oil crisis, but only now has their popularity truly gained traction.

Once again we are faced with increasing costs of oil and gas, but today’s stoves remain a viable, economical and popular option for heating the home. Unlike wood stoves and fireplaces, they do not emit pollutants like nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. Wood stoves are also CO2 neutral. This means that they are produced from a resource that uses CO2 during its lifetime, so CO2 emissions when the pellets are burned are canceled out.

Confluence Energy in Kremmling produces wood pellets from locally culled pine beetle killed trees throughout the area. These trees would otherwise remain on the forest floor creating fuel for wildfires.

The pellet plant adds huge benefits to our mountain area by assigning value to trees wiped out by the beetle epidemic. Because it is a local plant, it also reduces transport costs, which often offsets the low-emission advantage of pellet stoves. The plant is the largest producer of pellets in the Rocky Mountain Region and supplies much needed jobs to our area.

As oil, natural gas and electricity prices continue to escalate; pellet stoves remain a cost-stable competitive fuel. In a time when the whole country is looking for ways to become energy independent, pellets are a local, sustainable choice.

For information on where to look for pellet stoves, please contact Kallie Vaughan with Re/Max Properties of the Summit, 305 Main St., Frisco.

Call her at (970) 903-4305 or email Kallie is a Realtor and holds a degree in environmental biology. It is her goal to bring attention to Green Real Estate Practices in Summit County.

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