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Dear Potential Wood Energy User,

Welcome to the new and improved Wood Energy Financial Calculator. This tool is intended to help you to decide if a wood energy system is right for you, and what would be the financial costs and benefits of investing in a wood energy heating system for your building. Whether you are considering using wood chips, pellets or cord wood, the Calculator can give you a good first-cut estimate of how much investment would be required for a wood energy system, the wood fuel costs, the fossil fuel saving and payback period.

The Calculator can be used by those who intend to retrofit their facility to either use wood for 100 percent of their heating needs or just a percentage. For those who intend to use wood for less than 100 percent of their heat needs, the Calculator assumes you will be using your current fossil fuel system to supply the balance of your heating requirements, and does not account for any additional costs.

One of the new features of the Calculator includes the ability to estimate costs for new construction. If you know the square footage for the newly planned facility and its location by zip code, the financial costs of a wood energy system can be calculated. However, just like with a retrofitted building, when the calculator estimates of costs for a wood heating system in new construction, it does not account for the costs that may be necessary for a fossil fueled back up system, if you are not heating 100 percent with wood.

Before you begin using the Calculator, there may be a few things you should collect or think about beforehand to make the process quicker and smoother. The items you will need will differ depending on whether you are retrofitting an existing facility, or building a new facility. These are listed below

Items if you are retrofitting an existing facility

  • Utility bill for energy usage over the past year
  • Months in which you will have a heating load for space or process heating.

Items if you are building a new facility

  • Square footage of proposed new building
  • Additional heating requirements beyond space heating
  • Months in which you will have a heating load for space or process heating.

Good luck. We hope you will find the tool useful. Please note: this tool provides an approximation of the costs and does not replace the need for qualified engineering analysis of your needs. The Calculator has been in development over several years, and many people and organizations have been involved in its success as listed below.

The Calculator has been in development over several years, and many people and organizations have been involved in its success as listed below.


Acknowledgement

Wood Energy Financial Calculator Advisory Team

  • Roy Anderson, Senior Vice President, The Beck Group
  • Dennis Becker, Associate Professor & Director Policy Analysis Group, University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources
  • Dan Bihn, Engineer-Story Teller, Bihn Communications LLC
  • Bob Deering, State and Private Forestry, Region 10 (Alaska), USDA Forest Service
  • Eini Lowell, Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service
  • Steven J. Taff. Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics
  • Julie Tucker, State and Private Forestry, Washington DC Office, USDA Forest Service

Any Questions? Contact Us

Our Partners


Funding for this work was provided by the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Forest Service Washington Office. Partial funding was also provided by the University of Minnesota-Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, Colorado State Forestry Service, and the Southern Regional Extension Foresry.



Disclaimer- The Community Biomass Handbook and Wood Energy Financial Calculator are for information and educational purposes only (e.g. project guidance, scoping, and prefeasibility assessment). They should NOT be used for investment purposes. The authors, USDA, and the Forest Service claim no responsibility for its use.

Community Biomass Handbook by http://woodenergy.umn.edu/ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Facility Location
Fuel
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Domestic Hot Water

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Annual Heat Demand
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Annual Fuel Usage
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Boiler Configuration
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Biomass Boiler and Facility Costs
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Additional Operation and Maintenance Costs
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Distribution Cost
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Total System Cost

Biomass Fuel
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Biomass Annual Fuel Usage
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Remaining Annual Fuel
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Financial Parameters

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Value of Adding Biomass System
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Biomass System Annual Expenses

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Existing System Annual Expenses
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Simple Payback

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