Green Wednesday: Making the Switch to Bioheat

From on May 14, 2008 in Green Remodeling

It’s been happening in Europe for more than two decades, and U.S. residents are beginning to catch on. If you’ve got a boiler to heat your home, why not make the switch to bioheat? You can move away from your current system altogether, by purchasing and installing a pellet stove to supply your heating needs. Otherwise, simply switch your traditional oil with bioheat, described below. Your equipment will thank you, and so will the environment.

What is bioheat?

It is heating oil blended with biodegradable organic materials. Most of the time, the traditional heating oil is blended with a soy based additive, or biodiesel. This biodiesel usually makes up about 5 to 20 percent of the bioheat and can also be made from palm, canola, or refined, used vegetable oil.


How do I make the switch?

Using bioheat blends require no special handling. Using it results in same heat without modifications in your current system or spending. However, according to the Harvard Green Campus Initiative, mixes greater than 20 percent may require retrofits because bioheat’s high solvency can cause pumps and seals to break down. Also, more frequent filter change is recommended initially.

What are the benefits?

Bioheat burns cleaner and lubricates your existing furnace, thereby reducing maintenance costs. Bioheat is non-toxic, biodegradable, and can be domestically produced. According to the National Oilheat Research Alliance, a 20 percent bioheat blend reduces sulfur oxide emissions by 80 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 20 percent, and carbon dioxide by 20 percent. If everyone used a 5 percent blend, 400 million gallons of regular heating oil would be conserved, saving resources while reducing harmful emissions.


Oil Heat America