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Alliance for Green Heat

Takoma Park, MD
green heat + help for low-income families

While wealthy families are getting tens of thousands in rebates and tax incentives to install solar and geothermal, low and middle-income families are getting virtually no help to install and upgrade their renewable energy of choice: wood heat. Two percent of our population uses wood as a primary or sole source of heat and they are mainly rural, low- income families. However, they are using mostly older, inefficient and polluting stoves. The Alliance for Green Heat is helping progressive states follow the example of Europe, and incentivize modern, high efficiency, low emission wood stoves as a way to make renewable energy programs accessible to low-income families.

Harvesting wood for residential heating is the most sustainable type of wood harvesting in America today. Wood heating does not drive any clear-cutting or industrial forestry. Far from it. Many families only use dead or downed wood and some use wood that would otherwise go to a landfill.

Wood heat can be the “people’s renewable” in rural areas if we can get next generation equipment incentivized and get the older, more polluting stoves and boilers out of circulation. Currently, our federal government and most states have it backwards: they are incentivizing the least efficient use of biomass (ethanol and electricity production) and overlooking the most efficient – wood heat. Ethanol and biomass for electricity have corporate lobbies in Washington, but the use of wood by millions of rural low-income families is being overlooked.

The Alliance for Green Heat is changing that. Working with the environmental and green building community, advocates for the poor, air quality agencies and sustainable forestry groups, we are taking what was once considered to be yesterday’s renewable energy and making it a renewable energy for tomorrow – along with solar, wind and geothermal.

Millions of low-income families have to choose between buying food and other essentials and paying utility bills in the winter. Modern wood heat technology allows us to dramatically reduce fossil fuels for heating and helps rural, low-income families from slipping into worse poverty. And, it offers the progressive community a chance to make very regressive tax incentive programs more equitable by including renewable energy systems used by low-income communities. In Austria today, even the fossil fuel companies are required to heat their plants with wood pellet boilers!

We too can radically reduce our dependency on fossil fuels for heating so that oil companies will not have to drill in even deeper waters to heat our homes.

Thank you for your vote and your support.





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What is the green grants contest?

The green grants contest is designed to give a boost to the green economy.  We want to draw attention to projects that are doing a great job of combining social justice with environmental responsibility, and reward them with a grant toward their work.

What kind of groups are eligible?

If the project is good for both people and the planet and a $1,000 or $2,500 grant could make a difference to them – you should nominate the group. The group is not required to be a nonprofit organization or have 501c(3) status.

Will you be contacting my nominee?

If your nominee makes it into our top-ten, we will contact them to let them know.  We'll work with the ten nominees to get a full description of their projects on our Web site for the round of top-ten voting. 

What kind of projects are you talking about?

Here are some examples:  Maybe a local school could use a green-grant for its organic garden project.  Maybe a local pro-bicycling non-profit organization wants to extend its reach into the inner city.   Maybe a local solar-installation business wants to make a commitment to provide job-training.  Really, we're looking forward to seeing what you report to us.  We're excited about publicizing good news about the green economy and rewarding good green projects.

When will the grants be given?

The nomination period runs through June 7.  The top-ten voting runs through June 30.  We'll publicize the winners and disburse the grants shortly after that.  We'll also keep up with the winners and profile the great ways that they use their "green grants."

How else will the nominees benefit?

We'll list all the nominees (not just the top ten) on our Web site with links to their work.  This will become an honor roll of organizations doing great green work in their communities, bringing together social justice and environmental health.  People from all over the country will see their work and have an opportunity to link to it.

How are the top ten nominees chosen?

Top ten nominees will be chosen by Green America staff.

How are the green grants funded?

A generous Green America donor provides these funds for us to disburse to other groups as we see fit. This year, we decided to invite you to help us decide who receives these grants.

How can I find out who won?

Make sure you're signed up for our e-newsletter.

(See the official rules.)