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Free wood burning feasibility analysis – Audio

Free wood burning feasibility analysis

Scott Sanford, Distinguished Outreach Specialist
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 262-5062

For More Wood Burning Information:

2:59 – Total Time
0:17 – How to see if wood burning is practical
0:26 – How to get a feasibility study
0:36 – What you get with the analysis
0:58 – Applies to almost all businesses and homes
1:09 – How it works
1:47 – Wood pellets and chips
2:05 – Not your grandfather’s furnace
2:25 – Automated heating with wood
2:40 – For more information
2:49 – Lead out

Sevie Kenyon: Can you get off the propane heating oil grid? We’re visiting today with Scott Sanford, Department of Biological Systems Engineering University of Wisconsin-Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Scott, how can people determine if a switch to wood heat is practical?

Scott Sanford: The best thing to do is to take advantage of a free feasibility study we offer to look at the pros and cons.

Sevie Kenyon: And how do people get a hold of the feasibility study?

Scott Sanford: Well they can go to our website which is, so if you Google Wisconsin Wood Energy it should take you right to the website.

Sevie Kenyon: What do people get with the analysis?

Scott Sanford: Well to do the analysis we need to know what your current energy cost is, what your building is like, how is it used. So we need to know how much energy you’re using and then we kind of size it up to what type of device would be the most economical and what wood supplies is around too.

Sevie Kenyon: Scott what kinds of buildings and business does this apply to?

Scott Sanford: It can be residential, it could be a small business, any rural business that doesn’t have access to natural gas basically.

Sevie Kenyon: Scott if someone wants to do the feasibility study, how does it work?

Scott Sanford: A lot of it is basically done over email or phone conversation. We don’t necessarily have to come out and look at your facility. It is not a lot of time commitment and we’re basically just gathering basic information to do, kind of a back of the envelope, does this make sense or not? You know the other thing we’ve got a dip in propane prices but we know it’s not going to stay there, so right now is a good time to kind of look at that so you figure out when the breakeven point comes so maybe today it doesn’t make sense to switch to wood but if you do the feasibility study you’ll know when it makes sense to do it.

Sevie Kenyon: And Scott, describe for us what you mean by a switch to wood, are you talking about cordwood or is this something else all together?

Scott Sanford: Typically we are not looking at cordwood; it depends on the customer and what they want to do. We are going to probably steer more towards wood pellets or wood chips.

Sevie Kenyon: Scott let’s talk a minute about the furnaces, describe those furnaces, wood burning furnaces a business may look at.

Scott Sanford: The new ones are what we call gas fires, because gas come off from wood burning and then burns it in a separate chamber. Most times we’re talking a wood pellet and they’re going to be metered into the firebox based on the load, or demand, of heat needed.

Sevie Kenyon: Scott are these wood burning furnace systems, boiler systems, fairly automatic anymore?

Scott Sanford: yes, you’ll have a thermostat on them, you’ll basically load the bin and it may go a month before you have to really look at it. They fire at the rate that the heats demanded.

Sevie Kenyon: And Scott if people are interested where do they get more information?

Scott Sanford: They can go to our website,, on there you’ll find presentations on a whole host of things under the learning tab.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Scott Sanford Department of Biological Systems Engineering University of Wisconsin-Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.