With the assistance of House Representative Adam Greshin, Fayston resident David Frank successfully citizen-lobbied to pass bill S.293, intended to help grow the economy for biomass heat in Vermont.
Governor Jim Douglas signed the bill into law this past week. The bill will permit advanced European biomass hot-water heating systems to be installed in public and commercial buildings.
The equipment, while very popular throughout the European Union (EU),
has had limited acceptance in the United States, mostly due to the low
price of traditional heating fuels, according to Frank.
The new bill essentially accepts the European safety rating in lieu of the U.S.'s safety rating for commercial as well as public buildings.
The European systems are required to meet strict air quality and efficiency standards set by the EU nations, which Frank said "makes them a good fit for Vermont."
"It's considered a win-win to many sectors of Vermont's economy including timber, and at the same time reducing our dependence on foreign oil," he said.
Vermont is considered a leader in heating sustainability with wood (biomass).
"It's no coincidence that Vermont has the largest number of students in the U.S. attending public schools that are heated with wood. The number is currently estimated to be 30 percent of all public school students which includes our own Harwood Union High School," Frank said.
Harwood successfully completed construction on a wood chip boiler plant two years ago.
Vermont is the second state to successfully pass this type of legislation.