Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative
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Preliminary Outline for Solid Biofuel Feasibility Study
Mission Statement: To determine if it is economically feasible to produce solid bio-fuels in Chittendon County while maintaining sustainable land use practices.
Sustainability: Sustainability means different things to all different people, but in relation to VSHI, it entails responsibly managing forest thinning and other biomass harvesting grounds to preserve ecological diversity (no cut zones). Furthermore, the goal is not in any way to decrease food production in the name of biomass production on underutilized land. Additionally, We wish to explore the potential of Meadow-culture for biomass feedstock in urban environments. Sustainabilty means attaining an equilibrium between the land or land resources and human need, so as to maintain whatever resource in perpetuity, not just temporarily. (What we have listed above is how we will achieve sustainability with this study, but not really a clear-cut definition of the term).
Environmental Justice: Assuming local control and utilizing resources within the immediate community, so as to prevent abusing said resources because they are figuratively in your backyard as opposed to someone else's. The idea being: individuals will less likely be inclined to mistreat their resources if they can observe first-hand the consequences.
Economic feasibility: Support existing economies in Vermont by providing affordable heating fuel and by creating local jobs. In addition, money circulation will increase within the local economy due to fuel purchase shifting from distant vendors to local vendors. Exploring the numbers we find that today 85% of heating fuel comes from fossil fuels supplied from external suppliers. If the study proves successful that 85% would switch to local bio-fuels.
As long as sustainable land use management is practiced, there is a potential to export processed biofuel to other markets like Connecticut which would expand our revenue.
Possibility of working with the state of Vermont to provide bulk purchases of pellet fuel for low income fuel assistance clients.