Efficiency Vermont, in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and University of Vermont Extension Agricultural Engineering Program, are launching a targeted program that supports the installation of between five and ten automatic-feed, biomass heating systems for greenhouses, significantly reducing propane consumption.
Eligible farms must be located in the former electric service territory of Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS). A map of towns in that territory can be found here. If you have questions about whether the greenhouse is in legacy CVPS service territory, based on the address, please call Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990.
Farms will be chosen for the program using
the answers on the application form, based on the following criteria:
- Proven record as successful greenhouse operator;
- Existing propane-heated greenhouses with overall heating efficiency of 85% at most;
- Equipment owner willing to pay at least half the cost of the equipment;
- Equipment operator able and willing to actively participate in collecting baseline and post-installation energy and equipment data;
- Greenhouse operator willing to consider additional energy-saving opportunities.
Farms chosen to participate in the program will receive reimbursement for 50% of the project cost up to $7,000. The greenhouse operator will be paid the incentive within 30 days of submitting proof that the equipment was paid for and is operable.
A typical 250,000-BTU-per-hour input system will cost $13,000 (installed) and can result in annual net fuel cost savings of $900 in a March-June greenhouse operation. The above savings assume fuel prices of $3.00 per gallon for propane and $250 per ton for wood pellets. A biomass heating system can also result in a net reduction of carbon emissions roughly equivalent to 5,000 miles of car travel. When considering the incentive provided by this program a payback period of seven years is possible. Payback periods at other prices is provided in the table below.
This work is based on previous biomass greenhouse heating research and demonstration projects summarized in this report.