Biomass Heating Survey

To be answered by primary head of household in whose name this house or apartment is owned, being bought, or rented.


As you may be aware, space heating represents about 40% of the total energy consumption of a typical American home (3+ bedrooms and central air-conditioning / warm-air furnace heating). Given this, the heating choice can have a significant impact on a household’s heating bill. Research suggests that using biomass for home heating reduces heating bills, and lowers fossil fuel consumption.
Biomass is an energy resource derived from organic matter, which includes wood, and agricultural waste that can be burned to produce heat energy. Although biomass can be a source of liquid fuel (e.g., biodiesel) or gaseous fuel (e.g., “wood gas”), the most common use is as a solid fuel (e.g., wood, biomass pellets).
In this study, our interest is on solid fuel. The questionnaire has three parts: your opinions about biomass heating and biomass heating appliances, your-self, and a few demographic questions for classification purposes.
Below is information about household biomass heating appliances. Please use this as a reference to answer questions about biomass heating appliances.

Common Biomass Heating Appliances

Wood Stoves

A wood stove is an appliance that is usually made of cast iron, steel, or stone. Wood stoves that burn wood for fuel can be used as a primary or secondary source of heat.

Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves are similar in appearance to wood stoves; however, instead of wood, pellet stoves burn a renewable fuel made of ground, dried wood and other biomass wastes compressed into pellets. Pellet stoves operate by pouring pellets into a hopper which feeds automatically into the stove. Most pellet stoves need electricity to operate.  They can be used to heat an entire house or a specific space such as the living room.



There are two major types of wood-burning fireplaces, traditional masonry fireplaces that are typically built of brick or stone and are constructed on site by a mason; and “low mass” fireplaces that are engineered and pre-fabricated in a manufacturing facility prior to installation. Most fireplaces are not used as a primary source of heat; their function is primarily for ambiance and secondary heating.

Fireplace Retrofits

A fireplace retrofit is a device that is installed into an existing wood-burning fireplace. The existing fireplace can either be factory built or masonry construction. The primary purpose of the retrofit is to reduce wood smoke pollution from existing fireplaces. If installed and operated properly, fireplace retrofit devices can reduce pollution by approximately70%.

Outdoor Wood Boilers


Outdoor wood boilers are typically located outside the buildings they heat in small sheds with short smokestacks. They burn wood to heat liquid (water or water-antifreeze) that is piped to provide heat and hot water to occupied buildings such as homes, barns and greenhouses. They may also be located indoors and use other biomass as fuel (such as corn or wood pellets).

Fully automated
pellet boilers/

This central furnace features automatic pellet loading and automatic ash removal.
A delivery truck will offload pellets into a storage bin; similar to propane delivery.
The homeowner never touches the fuel.
Ash is collected and compressed in a container that needs to be emptied few times a year.