February 10, 2017


Pellet Power: Fossil-Fuel-Free Heating

A clean, cheap and carbon neutral way to heat your home – sounds good. Its a reality for thousands of families and businesses in Europe and North America.

Pellet boilers are growing in popularity; with grants and incentives offered by various states and governments – often in the form of financial assistance towards equipment and installation, depending on location. Ecoheat Solutions, a pellet boiler provider, have put together a summary of incentives for US based consumers here.

Incentives vary by state, but there are options for either residential or commercial boilers. For example the state of New Hampshire offers 40% up to $10,000 towards equipment and installation providing the home has been heated by fossil fuels up to this point. For commercial purposes, the grant available rockets up to a potential $65,000 towards equipment and installation. The state of Vermont offers up to $2,000 towards equipment and installation for both residential and commercial properties providing that the boiler reduces fossil fuel usage. In New York, awards of up to $16,000 for residential properties are available dependent upon the size of the unit being installed. Commercial properties could receive up to $200,000 again dependent upon size.

If you’re located outside of the US do not despair – grants and incentives are available in a range of countries. Germany have a variety of incentives available for pellet boilers in residential properties with a minimum grants of between €3,000-3,500 for installation and equipment costs. Additional subsidies are also available if for instance the boiler is installed alongside a solar collector system or a heat pump or connected to a heating network. The ENOVA grant scheme in Norway allows a maximum refund of 10,000 Norwegian Krone for installation and components.

The UK has the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive program. This is a government funded initiative which gives its participants quarterly payments for 7 years based on the amount of renewable heat their system produces. There is also a Non-Domestic scheme in place. Both schemes have different incentives and rules to abide by in order for participants to remain on the scheme. These rules include using the fuel type specified in the relevant emissions certificate and operating the boiler as outlined in the manufacturer’s guidelines. More information for applicants can be found here.

Why a pellet boiler?

Pellet boilers function exactly like an oil or propane burner with fully automatic operation. The only difference being instead of oil, wood pellets are being used as the fuel. Pellets are a cleaner source of fuel, being completely carbon neutral. The reason for this is that for every tree burned as pellets, another tree is planted to take up the carbon released. Not only this but wood pellets are readily available in North America and Europe – a local renewable fuel source. This not only bolsters the local economy but pellets are also …

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Off-Grid goes to Hollywood

Living off-grid isn’t just popular – it’s going mainstream.

New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz is achieving worldwide sales with his Orphan X series, which follows a spy living off the grid – and he’s currently writing the screen play for a film adaptation featuring Bradley Cooper, star of comedy franchise The Hangover.

Gregg, who has had 17 books on the New York Times bestseller list, is promoting his new one – The Nowhere Man, the second featuring the character Evan Smoak.

The first book in the series, Orphan X, introduces Smoak as a killer who was taken from an orphanage as a child and trained under secret government orders. He breaks free from the programme and vanishes off the grid to use his skills to help those unable to protect themselves.

The only way Smoak can be reached is through a technologically-protected phone number, each victim asked to pass the number along to one person in trouble. Lying low in a home base hidden behind layers of false internet connections and using sophisticated technology to insulate outside access, he creates his own rogue GSM site by using a yagi directional antenna, coaxial cable and omni stubble antenna mounted on a tripod – literally taking his devices off the grid by dodging all authentication between the base station and the cell tower. Smoak lives outside the boundaries of society with the freedom to travel at a moment’s notice.

In The Nowhere Man – Buy it on Amazon, released on February 1, Smoak goes from being the one who helps people, to needing help himself.

This is only the second time Gregg has stuck with a character for more than one book, and he said Smoak would be sticking around for a lot longer yet – he has signed with his publisher for at least five books about Smoak.

Gregg said when writing he always thought about the character’s point of view, and to get into the characters’ worlds he put himself in similar situations. This has seen him blow up cars and shoot weapons with navy seals.

“I spend more waking hours with my fictional characters then my wife and my kids,” he said.
“I’ve gone under cover in a mind-control cult. I will do whatever it is to be able to write about it effectively. If I don’t do it, I can’t write about it in a way that’s up close and personal.”

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