WASHINGTON, DC -- The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) today announced a successful inaugural meeting of five U.S. biomass heating equipment manufacturers to discuss industry development with officials from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and representatives of Resource Conservation and Development Councils from the Midwest.

Brian Holuj, a Commercial Buildings Specialist with the U.S. Department of Energy, told attendees that in coming years more than 10 billion sq. feet of commercial class building floor space will require modernization and renovation. Those buildings, according to  Holuj, will be updated with a combination of conservation, efficiency and renewable energy measures to reduce reliance on fossil energy sources and, to the benefit of owners and tenants, lower the cost of heat and cooling. He continued to explain steps manufacturers can take to qualify for consideration by engineering experts who design energy systems for leading retail, office and institutional property developers and managers.  

Presented in Dubuque, IA with assistance from the Midwest Biomass Conference organizing committee, this meeting was the first in a series funded by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service's Wood Education and Resource Center. These work sessions seek to build understanding and improve acceptance by heating engineers of advanced wood heat and cooling in commercial and institutional buildings.  

Chris Gaul, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) engineer who manages the advanced wood thermal system that supplies heat for NREL's Golden, CO facility, explained why it is important to the United States for American companies who already are making wood energy equipment to grow into this emerging growth opportunity.  

"In our discussion with manufacturers, several initial conclusions were drawn," stated Emanuel Wagner, BTEC program coordinator, "In short, we need to work on educating the public about biomass heating, develop codes and standards to build trust, and build relationships between manufacturers, architects, and building engineers."

"This was an important meeting," said John Karakash of Resource Professionals Group, who organized the session in collaboration with BTEC. "This series of meetings can help U.S. manufacturers move into an important, mainstream energy market that creates sustainable rural jobs from renewable domestic resources."

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled to take place during the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo 2012, March 21-23, 2012 in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Source: Biomass Thermal Energy Council

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