Blog : Changing the Way We Think About Home Heating

By Mike | Apr 16, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

The wind wails around the outside of the house; a loose shutter rattles against the siding, a chill permeates the insulation. Once more the thermostat is turned up, and the carbon footprint grows. It’s a common routine for homeowners throughout New England. But there are a number of alternative fueling options when it comes to keeping your home warm without causing environmental harm.

Of all the current choices natural gas is perhaps the most efficient and economic, and among New England homeowners it’s growing in popularity. But it’s not always available, and where that’s the case propane offers a viable alternative. Both gases are considered cleaner burning fuels than No.2 and in recent years more and more customers have been converting to gas. But less so this year.

“The problem is that oil delivers more energy per gallon burned than either natural gas or propane,” Guy Marshall, General Manager of Simply Green Biofuels, said. “While gas prices were significantly lower than oil, conversion made sense. But right now the price differential just isn’t there.”

With the drop in oil prices this winter, No.2 oil has become the economic choice. And while those prices have fallen, customers have burned more fuel. “I would say that the average consumer is probably using about five percent more [heating oil] just because of the lower price,” Marshall said.

That rise in usage has resulted in higher carbon footprints, further exacerbated by a long cold winter. However, it is possible for oil burning homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint using Simply Green’s BioHeat®, a mixture of No.2 oil and biofuel.

According to Guy Marshall an average 2,500 square foot home in the Seacoast region will burn 800 gallons of heating oil per year. If it’s No.2 fuel oil that will produce 17,893 lbs of CO2. If it’s B5, the CO2 emissions will be reduced by 4.63%. If it’s B20 the reduction is 18.74 percent. Simply Green offers BioHeat® in both B5 and B20 mixes. B5 BioHeat® contains 5 percent B100 biofuel and 95 percent No.2 fuel oil; B20 BioHeat® contains 20 percent B100 biofuel and 80 percent No.2 fuel oil.

“... [T]he difference between us and most companies currently advertising biofuel, is that we actually add our own B100 to standard No.2 fuel at our own facility so we know for sure that we are delivering B5 or B20 and we know where the bio has come from,” Marshall said.

Simply Green gets their B100 from two local sources: Maine Standard Biofuels, in Portland, Maine, and White Mountain Biodiesel, in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. Both companies produce B100 from recycled vegetable oil—cooking oil collected locally and recycled into pure B100. Other plant products can be used to create biofuel, but they are typically grown in the Midwest and Western United States.

“When you consider that, it doesn’t offer the same carbon savings as if it’s produced and manufactured locally,” Marshall said.

Marshall added that using Bioheat® is better for heating systems.

“[Bioheat® is] a cleaner burning fuel—better for the environment and better for your heating system. The system runs cleaner, you’ll have fewer service problems, and your heating system will actually last longer,” Marshall said.

In addition to their sustainable and environmentally-friendly options, Simply Green is also a Business Partner with the Green Alliance, a union of local businesses and consumer members working to educate the public on making more eco-friendly choices. This partnership has helped customers cut down on home heating costs this past winter, as well as reduce their carbon footprint.

Today, the price for biofuel typically matches the pricing for No.2 home heating oil.

“In years past, biofuel was sold at a premium, but that’s no longer true,” Marshall said. “For instance, we sell Bioheat® at the same price as Lamprey Energy’s No.2 fuel. Given the fact that it greatly improves your impact on the environment, it’s locally produced, it’s no more expensive, and you need to make no modifications to your heating system. Why wouldn’t you burn it?”

Green Alliance members get 10 cents off every gallon of B5 or B20 Fuel! 
For the month of April, membership fees only cost $20! 
Not a member? Join
here!