MARYLAND RESIDENTIAL FIREWOOD/WOOD PELLET UTILIZATION ANALYSIS: A SURVEY TO DETERMINE LOCAL INTEREST AND ASSESS CURRENT AND FUTURE MARKET POTENTIAL
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In order to help the forest industry to revitalize from the 2008 economic recession, this research studied the market potential of firewood and wood pellets as a home heating source. Questionnaires were mailed to 7,000 single family homeowners in rural and suburban Maryland, and 1,184 responses were received (19% response rate). It is estimated that 256,419 cords of firewood and 81,863 tons of wood pellets were burned statewide in the heating season of 2015-2016. The aesthetic value of wood heating is the major motivation; work and mess is the principal barrier. The average volume of wood consumed annually per household is 1.8 cords of firewood or 1.9 tons of wood pellets. The average prices of wood consumed are $192 per cord for firewood and $266 per ton for wood pellets. The threshold prices of electricity, natural gas, oil, and propane for homeowners to switch to wood heating are estimated. Few homeowners know about Maryland Energy Administration’s Clean Burning Wood Stove Grant Program.